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Poemcrazy: Freeing Your Life with Words Paperback – April 1, 1997

ISBN-13: 978-0609800980 ISBN-10: 0609800981 Edition: 1st Pbk. Ed

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Poemcrazy: Freeing Your Life with Words + The Poetry Home Repair Manual: Practical Advice for Beginning Poets + A Poetry Handbook
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 210 pages
  • Publisher: Broadway Books; 1st Pbk. Ed edition (April 1, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0609800981
  • ISBN-13: 978-0609800980
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 5.3 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (79 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #43,666 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Poemcrazy is the poetic analog to Anne Lamott's Bird by Bird or Natalie Goldberg's Writing Down the Bones, two classic works on how to forget that you "can't write" and just start the pen moving. Susan Wooldridge is a swimming instructor in the wide ocean of language, encouraging us to move ever farther from the shore, dive deep, and dance on the waves.


Poemcrazy: Freeing Your Life With Words invites the readers into a realm where poetry is accessible, where poems are moments of discovery that often arrive unexpectedly (in parking lots, at the grocery store, on walks) and makes ordinary lives extraordinary. Susan Wooldridge plays with language as she shows how to create "wordpools", helping the reader to understand that we are all immersed in an ocean of words used but largely ignored. The reader learns to create images, begins to develop metaphor, and gradually moves into "dreamsense" where an exploration of who we are in poems carries us to deeper levels within. Wooldridge shares stories of how she and others discovered their own poems through delightful and often amusing vignettes of her life and experiences as a writer. In practice sessions through Poemcrazy, Wooldridge demonstrates how to craft poems using a poet's tools such as journal writing, imagery, comparison, exaggeration, awareness of detail, and playful juxtaposition. Poemcrazy is a wonderfully original and motivating addition to any literary or writer's reference shelf! -- Midwest Book Review

This is a wonderful book, smart, wide-eyed, joyful, helpful, inspiring. You're going to love it and love writing poetry more for having read it. -- Anne Lamott

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Customer Reviews

The blessing is, I gain something new every time I go back to read the book.
Amazon Customer
I had so much fun reading it and writing poems based on her specific creative inspirational suggestions.
Highly recommend this book for those wanting to write poetry or wanting to improve their poetry.
Amazon Customer

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

106 of 107 people found the following review helpful By sarahbellum on April 25, 2000
Format: Paperback
I was one of five people who started a weekly writing group last year. At first we languished a bit, trying to find a way to get ourselves going. Then one week I brought in my little stash of word tickets I had made after reading Poemcrazy. It was as though a sudden rain had made the desert bloom. We have been pouring out poems and stories and vignettes at a rare clip ever since.
One of the most important things about the techniques the author presents is that they force one away from contemplating one's own belly-button, so to speak, and bring one's attention to the limitless possibilities for poetry that spring forth when chance words and phrases put the imagination in overdrive. Too often writers of my generation think that poetry has to be about our deepest and most dramatic emotions, which often leads to some pretty deadly stuff being committed to paper. But when you pull out word tickets that say things like "fronds" and "slashed" and "cutting up the remnants," it's hard to be self-absorbed. In fact, it's hard to be anything but deeply original.
Everyone I have introduced to the author's exercises and methods has fallen in love with them. Even my six-year-old nephew became enamored and proceeded to rename everything and everyone in his environment--a procedure that created some hilarious yet apposite new names. (I am now "Needs to sing," his sister is "Pistachio," his grandmother is "Finding secrets....")
I adore this book.
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47 of 47 people found the following review helpful By Grumple Dumple on August 19, 2005
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Reading this book was soothing to my spirit, calming, a balm.

I like Wooldridge's writing style very much; I would describe it as gentle, casual and very clear.

I love how she consistently makes references to the outdoors, nature and the pastoral way of living throughout.

Within its pages you will become acquainted with such things as: wordpools, word tickets and the image angel.

The book is divided into 5 sections; each section averages right around 10 to 12 chapters. All the chapters are either short or very short. I found that very refreshing, like sips of cool water. Take a small drink, stop and think. Take another sip... At the end of most chapters there is a "Practice" which is nothing more than a simple non-threatening creative exercise or suggestion; they are genuinely good ideas in my opinion, practical and clear.

I think that the overall message from the author is that poetry is freedom when all the restrictions are removed and when you allow yourself to look for poems everywhere, because that's where they are, everywhere.

I recommend this book without any reservations.
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40 of 40 people found the following review helpful By Crystal on March 22, 2001
Format: Paperback
A friend of mine picked up this book when we were in a book store, knowing that I had come to an almost sudden halt in my poetry writing for the past year or so after having been a poet for four or five years. I was pretty depressed about my writer's block, so I thought, "What the heck," and I bought the book. Not long into the book, which is magnificently written, I began to write again. I haven't stopped since, and my poetry has made massive improvement. The book helps to inspire and recreate that passion that writers can sometimes lose in the midst of the stresses of our days and our constant state of change and growth. --And best of all, it's fun, easy reading!
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24 of 25 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 13, 1997
Format: Paperback
The title "Poemcrazy" caught my eye at the bookstore, and it has proven to become the most valuabe book on writing I have. Susan Wooldridge enabled me to write more introspective, symbolic poems. I began playfully collecting words, and concentrating for the first time on their music, instead of limiting myself to only their meanings. Following her simple directions and creative activities I began arranging words, finally tossing aside the internal editor that often cripples many a poet. The results were so astounding, so unlike my previous poetry, that I asked myself "Who wrote this?" In fact, the product from one interview activity (Who was I in your dream?) resulted in a poem that I submitted to a literary magazine, and the editor applauded the vivid imagery and rich symbolism. She enthusiastically accepted this poem for publication.

I hope that Susan Wooldridge continues to produce books full of similar exercises that prod the unconscious of the poet. The methods she presents are embraced with as much enthusiasm by the third graders I teach, as by the adults in my writing workshop.

This book is a MUST HAVE!
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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on June 30, 1999
Format: Paperback
Poemcrazy smoothly integrates Susan Wooldridge's personal experiences and observations with wonderful suggestions for writing exercises! As a high school creative writing teacher, I find the book to be particularly useful when I am searching for ways to help me and my students approach familiar subjects from unexpected directions. Poemcrazy also helps get the mental ink flowing when it seems to be running dry. In terms of exercises, Poemcrazy is comparable to, but not quite on par with, Natalie Goldberg's "Writing Down the Bones." Still, even if you don't actually use the exercises, the narrative makes for interesting enough reading on its own.
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