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The Teachers and Writers Handbook of Poetic Forms [Paperback]

by Edited by Ron Padgett
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)

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Book Description

June 1, 2000 0915924609 978-0915924608 2
A reference guide to various forms of poetry with entries arranged in alphabetical order. Each entry defines the form and gives its history, examples, and suggestions for usage. For this second revised edition of the Handbook, 19 teaching poets have written 76 entries on traditional and modern poetic forms. The Handbook succintly defines the forms, summarizes ther histories, quotes good examples (both ancient and modern), and offers professional tricks of the trade on how to use each form.

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The Teachers and Writers Handbook of Poetic Forms + The Norton Book of Women's Lives + Good Boys and True - Acting Edition
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Editorial Reviews


"A small wonder." -- Poetry Project Newsletter

"A treasure." -- Kliatt

"This colorful and entertaining reference work is what can what can happen when those who practice and preach poetry..." -- Teaching English in the Two-Year College

About the Author

Ron Padgett is Editor-in-Chief of the three-volume World Poets (Scribners). His many books of poetry include New & Selected Poems (Godine) and Great Balls of Fire (Coffee House). He is the translator of Blaise Cendrars's Complete Poems.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 248 pages
  • Publisher: Teachers & Writers Collaborative; 2 edition (June 1, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0915924609
  • ISBN-13: 978-0915924608
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 6.7 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #331,197 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
29 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simply the Best Poetry Handbook March 7, 2005
No adequate superlative exists for this poetry handbook--simply the best on the market. Rarely does a writing handbook work for all age groups, but this solid one does. Even elementary teachers could use some of the poetic forms, such as couplets, haiku, and nonsense poems, for their classes, and, yet, professional writers can dip into this densely rich (yet compact) volume and pull out an appropriate form from the 75+ forms offered.

I have used this handbook for my college creative writing classes since 1998; as writing fads come and go, this poetry handbook endures because it offers a simple, yet interesting, approach to writing poetry: a short history of the form; a brief explanation on how the form works; when appropriate, a sample poem (or verses) showing the form in action; and, in some cases, a diagram for the more complicated forms, such as the sestina and pantoum.

Semester after semester, my students praise this book, and many decide to keep it for their libraries, instead of reselling it to the college bookstore. I keep searching, but I have not been able to find its fiction handbook counterpart. Ron Padgett has done a fine job of compiling the forms, researching their histories, and finding stellar sample poems to show how the forms work. I hope this handbook NEVER goes out of print!
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
First off, having read and reviewed numerous books on poetry, I have to say this is the best book I have ever read on poetic forms. This text explains the history and how to use each of the 74 basic forms.

Some of these include the abstract poem, the alphabet poem, the ballad, blank verse, blues poems, canto, canzone, chant, cinquain, light verse, quatrain, haiku, sonnet, tanka, renga and numerous other poetic forms.

The entries include examples from the legendary Shakespeare, Woody Guthrie, Edgar Allan Poe, John Milton, Robert Frost, Walt Whitman, Basho, John Keats, Dylan Thomas and many other famous poets.

One of the fantastic things about this book is how clear and direct the explanations are of each poetic form. Teachers of poetry will especially love this book.

In conclusion, this is a book for anyone interested in learning the history and basic principles of poetic forms. Rating: 5 Stars. Joseph J. Truncale (Author: Season of the Warrior: A Poetic Tribute to Warriors).
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
By D. D.
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I suppose this isn't a bad book for the absolute beginner. That is, if you're looking for just a bare bones overview of many different forms or if you want something to flip through for ideas it's probably going to be helpful. There are also likely to be a few entries that you haven't heard of, though if you're familiar with much poetry that may only be because they're ridiculous. At times if does it's job as a launching pad, giving you just enough on blank verse or free verse to make you want to seek out more. The book contains all of the typical entries for Villanelles, Rondeaus, Sestinas and others you'd look for.

Personally, I'd hoped for something a little more comprehensive or serious. It seems like this book spends most of it's energy just trying to attract people to poetry at any cost rather than to build much knowledge for those already interested. There are a lot of entries in this book that just seem like filler. Entries for Rap and for Blues Poems may perhaps be useful for aliens or coma patients that have had no previous exposure to culture whatsoever. If that's not you, then rest assured that your own off hand notions of these will be more useful and truer to form. There are several entries for things I'd consider less "forms" themselves than effects used within forms, such as Metaphor, Allegory, Alliteration, Rhythm or Rhyme.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A good teacher/student guide October 19, 2008
I found that this is a good guide for teachers of poetry who desire to offer form poetry to students with little exposure to various forms. As one who has researched many forms, I was hoping to find unique forms within this book, which was not the case. It is a good foundational book for students and teachers, but for poets familiar with the more common forms and seeking to expand into new areas of poetic form, it is probably not the best of guides, which is why I have rated it a little lower.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must buy for writers and teachers of poetry July 23, 2010
This is a gem of a book. Any writer or teacher of poetry will revel in the numerous poetic forms this book has to offer. The handbook presents over seventy forms of poetry with helpful explanations and examples. If you are a beginner hoping to learn how to write a poem and don't know where to start, this book will give you a valuable array of delightful choices from the avant-garde to the more traditional structures. It can be used as a reference book or a guide for writing actual poetry. Even professional poets can benefit from this book spawning new creative ideas through the use of more experimental forms. Many valuable examples from famous poems illustrate the various structures, giving a deeper, more thorough understanding of each form. I highly recommend this handbook for both writers and teachers of poetry.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book for poetry enthusiasts or those wishing to know more about...
I liked this book so much after I read it checked out from the library that I got online and ordered a copy for myself.
Published 15 days ago by Art, Book and 3D Nerd
4.0 out of 5 stars 1. Dictionary, 2. Thesaurus, 3. Handbook of Poetic Forms
All professional poets, and aspiring amateurs need this handbook right after a dictionary and thesaurus. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Richard Stevko
5.0 out of 5 stars Shape Up
A simple yet very helpful guide to the formation of various commonly used poetic forms and words. Students and teachers will find it helpful.
Published 3 months ago by Aleezabet
5.0 out of 5 stars Great one-stop resource
Very, very pleased with this text, and yes, it is great for teachers and writers as advertised. Couldn't be better! Read more
Published 8 months ago by
4.0 out of 5 stars A good book. But Turco's is better (IMO).
This a useful book if you want to branch out beyond free verse. I prefer the Turco book. It's much more exhaustive. But this a good book too.
Published 11 months ago by david1229
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book
Alphabetically lists the different poetic forms--you can flip through with ease. I love the simplicity of the book. Examples are given with each description. Read more
Published on August 6, 2011 by Gail M
5.0 out of 5 stars A "must have" for all poets' bookshelves
This is the best book of poetry forms that I have found available. Ron Padget explains in simple terms how each form is constructed and gives an excellent example for each one. Read more
Published on October 4, 2010 by Skiffle queen
5.0 out of 5 stars Anthrology of Poetic Forms
Contains brief explanations of poetic forms. It's very good at two things. It explains what is unique about the form type and gives details on its rhyming scheme. Read more
Published on June 1, 2010 by Robert Salita
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Book!
This book is excellent as a reference guide and text for both teachers and poets. This handbook defines the forms,summarizes their histories,and shows great examples. Read more
Published on March 19, 2009 by Sharon Palmeri
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