Aesthetics Lesson - Christopher Doda, Mansfield Press
This book has a great series of glosas. For the as yet uninformed, the poet takes four lines from a poem, usually one that the poet admires greatly, and posits them above the poem about to be written. The glosa is a four stanza poem with ten lines per stanza. The first line from the quote is the tenth line of the first stanza and so on. There is also a rhyme scheme, if memory serves me correctly, the second line and fourth line together, and then the fifth, ninth and tenth together.
The glosa is an early Renaissance form, developed by the Spanish court poets. P.K. Page brought the form to the attention of current Canadian poets in 1994, in her now seminal, Hologram, from Brick Books and since then the poets of this country have turned out exceptional glosas. There is something about this form, as there is about the sestina, that brings out the absolute best that a poet can do - I think it is the using of the four lines from one's idols that does it - and Christopher Doda's glosas are - my search for superlatives comes up short.
And, Doda has added another twist that makes the poems even more difficult. He has written not one, but eight glosas, all are related. In addition to this difficulty, he has, starting with a favourite quote from John Donne, made each successive poem start with the last four lines of the previous glosa as its quote to be worked upon in the glosa form. This means that the fourth line from the Donne quote is the last line in all eight glosas. Added to this symmetry the eighth glosa in Doda's series ends with the four lines that are the Donne quote that is posited on the first page. Doda's bookis a good place to start when you are thinking of writing this form.