- Paperback: 130 pages
- Publisher: Mariner Books; 1 edition (August 15, 1994)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0156724006
- ISBN-13: 978-0156724005
- Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.4 x 8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 155 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,040 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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A Poetry Handbook 1st Edition
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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.
From Publishers Weekly
National Book Award winner Oliver ( New and Selected Poems ) delivers with uncommon concision and good sense that paradoxical thing: a prose guide to writing poetry. Her discussion may be of equal interest to poetry readers and beginning or experienced writers. She's neither a romantic nor a mechanic, but someone who has observed poems and their writing closely and who writes with unassuming authority about the work she and others do, interspersing history and analysis with exemplary poems (the poets include James Wright, William Carlos Williams, Elizabeth Bishop, Marianne Moore and Walt Whitman). Divided into short chapters on sound, the line, imagery, tone, received forms and free verse, the book also considers the need for revision (an Oliver poem typically passes through 40 or 50 drafts before it is done) and the pros and cons of writing workshops. And though her prose is wisely spare, a reader also falls gladly on signs of a poet: "Who knows anyway what it is, that wild, silky part of ourselves without which no poem can live?" or "Poems begin in experience, but poems are not in fact experience . . . they exist in order to be poems."
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Top customer reviews
I opened the cover to learn a few things, some inner workings of poetry from someone who knows what she's talking about, I'd heard.
This science book of poetry with its categories and definitions was not a dissection process. It was a guided observation and Oliver was pointing out the details, the unnoticed beauties to me a novice as we watched these poems out in the wild.
Most recent customer reviews
As I am browsing around a bookstore, I pick up Mary Oliver’s A Poetry Handbook, because another writer recommended the book to me.Read more