Wednesday, April 27, 2011

day 97: poetry handbook

More for National Poetry Month (( ).

If you are interested in learning more about writing poetry or improving the poetry you do write, you might want to obtain the poetry handbook described below. I like trying different kinds than I normally write (which are nearly alwyas rhymed verse of fairly "normal" rhyme schemes--ABAB, AABBCC, ABCB, etc.). A handbook such as this one helps me learn about other styles--and challenges me to give them a try!

There are many handbooks out there--but the one below received rave reviews, is not too long, and is written by an award-winning poet. Review: This slender guide by Mary Oliver deserves a place on the shelves of any budding poet. In clear, accessible prose, Oliver (winner of both the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award for poetry) arms the reader with an understanding of the technical aspects of poetry writing. Her lessons on sound, line (length, meter, breaks), poetic forms (and lack thereof), tone, imagery, and revision are illustrated by a handful of wonderful poems (too bad Oliver was so modest as to not include her own). What could have been a dry account is infused throughout with Oliver's passion for her subject, which she describes as "a kind of possible love affair between something like the heart (that courageous but also shy factory of emotion) and the learned skills of the conscious mind." One comes away from this volume feeling both empowered and daunted. Writing poetry is good, hard work.

Tomorrow--tips on getting started writing or teaching poetry.

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