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The Poet's Companion: A Guide to the Pleasures of Writing Poetry Paperback – September 17, 1997
"The Lying Game" by Ruth Ware
From the instant New York Times bestselling author of blockbuster thrillers In a Dark, Dark Wood and The Woman in Cabin 10 comes Ruth Ware’s chilling new novel, The Lying Game. Pre-order today
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"We wanted to create a book," say poets Kim Addonizio and Dorianne Laux in their introduction to The Poet's Companion, "that would focus on both craft and process." The book they have created is an impassioned exploration of poetry writing that addresses subject matter, craft, and the writing life. The reigning wisdom is that poets, like other creative writers, should write what they know. "The trick," say the authors, "is to find out what we know, challenge what we know, own what we know, and then give it away in language." Elsewhere they add that, while "as poets, we need to write from our experience ... that experience may be mental, emotional, and imaginative as well as physical."
Addonizio and Laux are lively spokespersons for the poet's life; they pepper their thoughts with well-chosen poems from their contemporaries--including David Bottoms, Jack Gilbert, Linda Gregg, and Jane Kenyon--and they conclude each short chapter with an invigorating collection of ideas for writing. These "ideas" culminate in a terrific section of writing exercises at book's end: write a poem describing "your most acutely embarrassing moment"; "write a poem of praise for an unlikely group of people, things, ideas"; "write a poem about the last time you saw a loved one you lost." I found myself a bit frustrated by the brevity of the discussions (most chapters are under 10 pages) and a bit put off by the first person plural narrative (do Addonizio and Laux really agree on everything they say they agree on?), but these are mere quibbles. This is a fine book indeed. --Jane Steinberg
From Library Journal
Poets Addonizio and Laux warn against cliche, and although textbooks on writing come a dime a dozen these days, theirs is head and shoulders above the rest. There are three main sections: "Subjects for Writing" (e.g. death, the erotic), "The Poet's Craft" (metaphor, rhyme), and "The Writing Life" (self-doubt, writer's block); four separate appendixes list other writing texts, anthologies, marketing tips, and electronic resources. The many exercises offered emerge largely from the intensive one-day workshops conducted by Addonizio and Laux. Both knowledgeable and practical in their approach, the authors offer everything a poet needs, including one feature more necessary than ever in the postliterate age yet absent from other writing texts: a gentle yet insistent lesson on grammar. Highly recommended for all libraries.?David Kirby, Florida State Univ., Tallahassee
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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The "Subjects for Writing" section covers common writing topics poets use, such as their families, things they witness, places, and death/grief. Section two gives us more technical info on images, similes/metaphors, the music of lines, voice/style, meter/rhyme/form, repetition, and even grammar (yes, grammar in poetry -- it DOES matter!). "The Writing Life" tackles such matters as writer's block, writing in the electronic age, and getting published. And although each chapter ends with specific writing exercises targeting the subject it just covered, the end section provides still more exercises -- ones you can practice yourself or assign to students if you are a teacher.
Finally, I'd be remiss if I didn't share this book's own use of voice. This excerpt, for example, comes from the chapter called "Getting Published" and shows the authors' personalities and approach to literature. It is in response to the question "What can I expect from publication?"
"Strangers will stop you on the street for your autograph. You will no longer have to wait in line at the post office or be cut off by rude drivers. Parents, friends, and neighbors will gaze at you with respect and envy. Your sex life will improve dramatically. You will never feel lonely again.
Okay, we're kidding."
But I'm not (kidding, I mean). This is a great, quick little book if you want succinct tips on the most important matters for writing poetry. It's better than just dialing up your Muse every day. She doesn't pick up half the time.