As someone who runs a reading series called Emergent Forms, I might seem to have a personal stake in answering Tony's questioning of the value of poetic stances that privilege "a hyper-generation of new forms." Actually, I think he's got some interesting points. I'm particularly interested in his suggestion that "the unquestioned exaltation of the creation and innovation of new forms--this discovery and accumulation of new forms as its own self-legitimacy--is another symptom of a modern move towards professionalization and specialization." I don't believe that this is what the Williams- and Oulipo-based traditions he mentions have really been all about, but I do think that a certain contemporary reception and recycling of those traditions, within a certain set of academic and professional contexts, in many way fits the picture Tony paints. It doesn't matter whether you learn in a creative writing workshop to write in iambic pentameter or in New Sentences; as long as either method is treated as an end in itself, and to the extent that students are taught that the mechanics of composition are more important than the experience created by the work, the results will be stultified. By extension, if one somehow picks up the idea that creating new forms is nothing more than a matter of inventing different ways of producing strings of language, it can only lead to boredom and cynicism.
Part of the problem, I believe, has to do with how we understand new, and another part has to do with how we understand forms. As has often been pointed out, Pound's (or Tching Tang's, or whoever's) injunction to "make it new" does not mean to reinvent the wheel every time you write a poem. The original image associated with this phrase was that of the (same) sun rising every morning, always new. The wording could just as easily be "make it fresh," or "make it seem as though new." It's more about what the reader is enabled to perceive than it is about the writer's use of novel formal techniques. Which brings us to forms. One way of thinking about forms is as fixed patterns or procedures, as in any of countless guidebooks to "poetic forms." This is a perfectly useful concept, and there's nothing wrong with the inventing or re-using of such forms: the sonnet, the mesostic, the exquisite corpse, the limerick, the Google-sculpture, etc. Any programmatic poetics founded solely or chiefly on the "hyper-generation" of such forms, however, must be superficial in the extreme.
Another sense of forms is that of shapes or bodies in their capacity as things-becoming-apprehended, becoming-determined. Plato's definition is somewhat relevant here: for him a form is the necessary condition for an object's existence, the "idea" without which the particular object cannot be conceived and therefore cannot come into being. But I'm thinking of something yet more tangible. I might say: I saw a form coming out of the mist. What is it that I've seen? The actual body, or a hazy complex of perceptions that precedes it? Both, of course. But we are able to consider the complex of perceptions "on its own," and when we do that we are engaging with form in the sense that I feel is most of interest to poetry. Forms in this sense are near-physicalizations of possibility, not yet quite frozen into fact, but charged with fact's imminence. Skillfully enjambed line breaks, for instance, dramatize moments of formal pre-cohesion, and in so doing, effectively cause such cohesion. But again, this example should not be taken to imply that form as I'm discussing it here is a mere matter of craft or "versification"; the same sensation of becoming-apprended can be a function of any level of the poem as a whole or in its parts, depending on the situation.
From this point of view, all worthwhile poetry is about the generation of new forms. Sir Philip Sidney wrote in his Defence of Poetry that the poet, "lifted up with the vigor of his own invention, doth grow in effect another nature, in making things either better than nature bringeth forth, or, quite anew, forms such as never were in nature, as the Heroes, Demigods, Cyclops, Chimeras, Furies, and such like." Here, adding new forms to nature has nothing to do with coming up with new stanza arrangements or rhyme schemes; it is about causing things to exist that didn't exist before. All other, more specific formal concerns--whether to write a villanelle or to use for one's poem only the words that appear on one page of Das Kapital--are purely instrumental strategies.