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Ordinary Genius: A Guide for the Poet Within 1 Original Edition

4.6 out of 5 stars 31 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0393334166
ISBN-10: 0393334163
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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

A finalist for the National Book Award, Kim Addonizio has also received a Guggenheim Fellowship, two NEA Fellowships, and a Pushcart Prize. She divides her time between living in Oakland, California, and New York City.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company; 1 Original edition (February 16, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0393334163
  • ISBN-13: 978-0393334166
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.8 x 8.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #65,269 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Kim Addonizio is a fiction writer, poet, and teacher. Her poetry collections include Tell Me, a finalist for the National Book Award, What Is This Thing Called Love, and Lucifer at the Starlite. She lives in Oakland, California.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I've been writing and devouring poetry for over 30 years and I found this book to be a valuable, inspiring aid to my writing and I'm far from a beginner.

I've read (and loved) all of Ms. Addonizio's books and this is, by far, one of my favorites. She does cover some of the basics of poetry writing, but also delves into the deeper side of poetry with some fabulous examples - delicious tidbits thrown in by awesome poets like Sharon Olds, Billy Collins, Susan Browne, Lucille Clifton and Tony Hoagland to name just a few. The book is also overflowing with shimmering, thought-provoking quotes by other poets and writers. I wrote several in my "favorite quotes" notebook to refer back to.

I was also thrilled to find quite a few new poems by the multifaceted Ms. Addonizio. Her poetry is as unique, distinctive and beautiful as Ms. Addonizio. I was happy to see one of my old favorites included, "What Do Women Want?" Reading this poem many years ago inspired me to go out and buy my first RED dress. You have to read the poem to understand....

The book is divided into four parts with a total of 36 chapters:

1. Entering Poetry
2. Inner and Outer Worlds,
3. The Poem's Progress, and
4. Toward Mastery

most with intriguing, motivating writing prompts to get your juices flowing. I read through the entire book and marked dozens of pages to go back to and re-read. I'm eager to get back into the book and try out some of the writing prompts.

If you love poetry and just need a jump start to your writing, then definitely buy this book because it'll do the job. If you just love to read poetry, this book is for you, too, because it's loaded with poems!
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Liking Kim Addonizio's work as I do, I confess to coming to this book with expectations somewhere between relating to another poet and being wowed. The potential for either had been fostered by references to "experienced writers" as though this book included them, and I suppose it does from the standpoint of having coffee with a peer with whom you enjoy shoptalk, but again, expectations. I wanted Kim to talk to me on a professional level, but in this book, she focused her far-reaching range of information and attention on beginning poets, class act college students, and the millions of people who truly could benefit from poetry therapy. Had I read this book several years ago, I might not have collected five shelves of books on or about poetry since Kim discusses much of what's said in them and then some. For instance, she helps poets tap into their problems, pain, humor, demons, and addictions while explaining poetic terms and techniques used by a variety of poets, including herself. Labeled as such or not, this book is a mini-course in poetry that new poets or those beginning to study poetry will welcome and embrace. So even though Ordinary Genius (love the title) does not meet my particular needs in a particular time of reading, I probably would have given it a five-star for those who want to learn about and experience poetry without getting bogged down in technicalities. What dissuaded me, however, was a tactile response to the unpleasantly rough newsprint pages printed by a giant in the poetry publishing business. Yes, expectations, but a book meant to be savored and reread needs to entice readers with silken sheets between the covers. In addition, the tasteful cover art depicts a newly hatched egg, implying that the inside information relates to the fledging poet and not those in flight.
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Format: Paperback
I'm a big fan of Kim Addonizio. This is another reason why, she writes for the beginner poet (and this book is definitely for the beginner, though it might give some ideas to the experienced poet) in an easy to read and understand manner. Good work can come from this book.
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Ordinary Genius strikes a perfect tone; empathetic but not precious, upbeat but not chirpy, wise but not cynical, savvy but not smart-ass. Kim Addonizio writes with the easy authority of someone steeped in her subject. Unlike too many vaunted academics, however, she also has the knack of clarifying the complex, making it seem achievable, and actually inspiring a stymied writer to settle down and pin some words to a page. She serves a wonderful confection of poetic vignette, personal anecdote, nuts and bolts know-how, and implementable advice. Her feeling for an apt line is palpable, her insights into poetry are first rate, and her advice on how to deal with the challenges to getting published are as helpful as they are sharp. As the anthologist of Sonnets for Sinners: Everything One Needs to Know About Illicit Love, I suppose, I might have been a tad biased in Kim's favor by her observation that poets are entitled to "invent" reality, which reminded me of lines from my favorite sonneter, Elan Haverford, "Poets are permitted lies / there'd be no poets otherwise." Let me add, however, that I have returned to Ordinary Genius, several times, it being one of those books one can dip into and discover a golden nugget on just about any page. In all, a wonderful gift. Bravo -- and Thanks! -- is what I say.
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This book is very intersting to read. She covers many ways of stimulating the muse. I was pleased with her enclosing copies of rejection slips.I dare to say that these publishers knew less about good poetry. A lesson for all of us who have had poems rejected.
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