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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on February 23, 2001
Unlike most poetry books, this one focuses on the poet's insights into his/her own work and some very accessible poems by modern poets. Moyers refuses to get bogged down in the technique of poetry (rhyming, meter, scansion, etc...) and instead focuses on each author's comments and explications of his own work. Each chapter picks one poet and starts with his/her reading at the festival and then an informal Q and A that sheds light into how poets become poets. No surprises here -- most who write it can't think how they could NOT have written, even at an early age. In some cases, poetry literally rescued their authors from their borderline lives. For anyone interested in the creative process, this is an easy to follow and enlightening short volume on poetry and poems.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on January 10, 2003
As an English teacher, I already love reading books on poetry anyway, but Bill Moyers is such an amazing interviewer (as any viewer of his amazing NOW show on PBS already knows) that he brings out elements of the poems and the poets that make the reading more profound. I discovered some great poets I was not previously familiar with (Coleman Barks, Lorna Cervantes) and was thrilled to see Stanley Kunitz discuss one of the most riveting poems ever put to paper, "Touch Me." If you have not read this poem, go online immediately and check this one out. Kunitz is in his 90's, but is an inspiration to all by the vitality he exudes in his life and in his poetry. Including "Touch Me" in the book would have guaranteed 5 stars from me alone, but the other worthy additions make this a great read even for a casual lover of poetry.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on December 30, 2000
I grabbed this book on a whim from my local library - oh, I haven't seen this one before, what the heck, I've got the weekend free. And proceeded to spend the next two days riveted to the pages.
Bill Moyers makes 230 pages go a long way. Each section is an interview with a different poet, a mixture of general discussion on poetry and specific details about their own work methods and beliefs with commentary on a couple of their own poems. In essence, you get to listen in to someone asking all those questions that you would like to ask! It manages to be both informative and very entertaining. A little more accessible than Lehman's "Ecstatic Occasions, Expedient Forms", it is also an excellent introduction to a facinating variety of poets. Thoroughly reccommended! If only it were longer ...
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on March 9, 2007
i have been trying (with mixed results) to develop an appreciation of poetry over the last year. so many people seem to love the stuff, why not me then? the more you enjoy in life, the richer your life is. so i want to get there with this poetry stuff. i really do. so lately i've been arming myself with an arsenal of books that i think will help poetry shine for me as it does for others. this is the first of such books i have finished, and it was very enjoyable. it made me want to read poems and fall in love with their words. stanley kunitz (who i had never heard of), in particular, was fascinating in his interview, and the poetry samples of his work were wonderful. i immediately purchased a collection of his work and am looking forward to it. rather than explaining the nuts and bolts (tools) of poetry, this book illuminates the drive and vision of the poets included here. a good place to start to wet my appetite for poems is what i found in this collection. hopefully this will lead me onward to a new passion in life. hopefully i am not simply too stupid to make it up the hill into this world of words. wish me luck.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on December 22, 2003
Bill Moyers loves to hear the tone and textures of poetry. This fondness is expressed in each of eleven poets selected from the Dodge Poetry Festival of 1998. The book starts with 90-year-old Stanley Kunitz reflection on Haley's Comet in 1910 to and continues to Robert Pinsky discussing his online poetry feature for Slate. There is music in many of these poems; most explicitly in Robert Pinsky's Ginza Gamba and references to Lester Young and Kurt Lamkin scatting with the kora, an African string instrument. If you can find the 2-hour PBS special on video (our library had a copy), you can hear the music of the kora and the Paul Winter Consort accompanies Coleman Barks.
The joy of a book is the diversity ranging from Coleman Barks translation of Rumi " I see my beauty in you", to the new Jewish tradition of the "Chuppah" of the Wedding, of Marge Piercy. Perhaps Mark Doty's two poems about a dog "Beau" most show the depth of a poet - from a very touching poem about licking a dieing friend, to the rambunctious "Golden Retrievals".
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on December 10, 2012
I found this book because I
ve just discovered Jane Hirshfeld and she is one of the poets he interviews in this collection. Often a transcription of an interview doesn't come across as well as seeing gor hearing the real thing. Not so here. If you have even the slightest interest in poetry and any at all in the written word you will love this slim volume. I am really sorry I missed the original broadcasts of these interviews.
As a result of this book, I learned about the Geraldine R Dodge Poetry Festival, an event I had never been aware of before. It is fabulous! I managed to attend one day this fall, all because of this book. I will be a regular attendee form now on.
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on October 19, 2012
Bill Moyers is the most insightful interviewer I have ever experienced. With each writer, he gets to the soul of poetry and what inspired each to start writing. During intimate conversation with Mr. Moyers, poems are inserted as examples of each writer's work. Comments by both the writer and interviewer following these poems are inspiring and touching. It is rare that I pick up this book without writing or at least beginning a poem.

Ira G
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on May 25, 2013
The content is a great collection of approaches and styles of various poets. Allows the reader to hear the voice of each, distinct and varied. The book itself is in fine condition and nicely priced!
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4 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on November 26, 2003
Having waded thru Bill Moyers' TV series on Genesis - A Living Conversation and Joseph Campbell Interviews on Myth, I relate to him keenly as following his fame as Presidential Press Agent!
In his lengthy series on Genesis, exposing us to Prof Armstrong, Prof Brueggemann, scholars, rabbis, and pastors, all who spoke from their knowledge of Biblical Life. On reading, then placing the jewel back on the shelf...picking it up for a deeper reading each time, I decided it was worthy of far more attention.
His dedication to his Wife and Co-writer Judith, renewed my love for W.B. Yeats Poem of her "moments of glad grace..." Bringing me back to true depths of reading poetry aloud! Reminding me of hearing the Prison Inmates request within their therapy groups: "Chaplain, what do those profound words of poetry mean?" Bill Moyers addresses this question in satisfying ways! That may well have grown out of his training as a pastor.
For my read his interview with 90-yr old, Stanley Kunitz began with, "What do you love most?" A super reply, "Most of all, I love being alive!" For a poet who kept publishing his poetry at 90, he gave Bill his inner and out response by reading aloud two of his favorites: "The Round" about his seaside garden on the Cape which he created out of a barren sandhill "my little Eden." Then he provided reminders of his early, most famous poem that one reviewer, an English professor called the greatest poem she ever knew, read or studied: "The Touch" which he read aloud. He was floored by audience reponse from the Dodge Poetry Festival, with cheers, whistles, applause, shouts of "Bravo! Bravo!"
From ten other poets, only Jane Hirchfield was familiar. As Moyers asked for her comments on Zen meditation, she reminded me of a little gem by Anthony deMello, titled simply - "AWARENESS." She gave her words of meditation practice also simply developing an awareness to this moment; "As if you were to sit very quietly in the woods to be translucently awake." (like mind-fulness)
All in all, it speaks to me like another Bill Moyers Jewel!
Retired Chaplain Fred W. Hood
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on July 6, 2012
The enduring brilliance of Moyers shines in this discussion of the craft and music of poetry. His choices represent a segment of America's most gifted poets, but his own gift for sharing an understanding of the subtleties in word choice, rhythm, slant rhymes -- the several and many textures from which poems are woven -- is clear.

He is, himself, a sort of poet in his admiration of this neglected art.
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