Does function follow form? Openness and formal association in the early poetry of John Forbes

Aidan Coleman
2019 Text: Journal of the Australian Association of Writing Programs  
This article aims to reconstruct features of John Forbes' compositional process in his first decade of serious practice, through analysing drafts and early versions of his poems. I compare early versions of 'Here', 'The Joyful Mysteries' and 'Stalin's Holidays' to their final incarnations to show how Forbes was resistant to a fixed, or single, idea when writing a poem. In the context of such openness, Forbes' poems often moved towards a sense of closure, through the pressure his use of form
more » ... his use of form applied and through its more suggestive qualities. Following a comment Forbes made in an interview, I label this process 'formal association'. I contend that Forbes sought a balance between closure and openness, while arguing that the dynamic interplay of this openness with formal association, during the composition, was crucial to his achievement.
doi:10.52086/001c.18603 fatcat:zbi57gwtrjdr3elbiwfiz4yide