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Strange Terrain: A Poetry Handbook for the Reluctant Reader First Edition
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It takes a brave poet to 'explain' her work n a manner that invites readers to come to the poem and gain insight, but that is exactly what Fogel does in this book. In each of the 8 Steps she uses her own poems to demonstrate the step addressed. Her method: talk to the reader, remove the barriers, then present her poem and follow that with reassurance. By the end of this book the reader will feel less threatened by the art of writing in poetic form, will have grown to 'understand' and love the eloquent poems by Alice B Fogel, and yet will be encouraged to not attempt to 'demystify' poetry. And that simple and accessible lesson is a wise one.
Where Fogel's book is useful to active poets who love their daily approach to viewing and expressing their views in poetic form lies in her honesty about defining the barriers 'non-poetry readers' face.Read more ›
Fogel writes simply and colloquially as she invites readers into what many view as the "strange terrain" of poetry. She tries to overcome the reluctance that even good readers face in approaching poetry by emphasizing that they will find in the medium much of what they already know. As befitting the use of the book in seminars, she breaks down her approach into steps. At first she states her aim as a three-fold process: demystification -- taking the fear out of approaching poetry -- information -- providing simple cues to reading -- and then remystication -- recapturing the strangeness of poetry without the fear of reading. Most of the book is given over to the eight steps of reading poetry, as Fogel breaks down poetry into some of its component parts, including shape (form), words, sounds, images, emotion, thoughts, and fiction's devices. The last step, "unknowing", is the most critical is Fogel reintrduces the necessary mystery to the reading of poetry without the fear.Read more ›
Fogel's poetry is precise and deeply felt on matters both near and far. She sings of meadowlands in "Unlocking," of snow and the presence of someone dear in "Snowstorm," and of the weight of life in "No Less." Her sense of careful diction and precise punctuation give evidence of a deep commitment to craft. Fogel is a traditional poet for the most part, a poet committed to examining and reflecting to us the studied essence of the natural world and what it means to be alive. In subject matter she owes something to Robert Frost but with a different sense of rhythm and she doesn't like to rhyme.
Her didactic purpose finds its culmination in the last chapter, "Step Eight: Unknowing" which is subtitled "Poems Can Mystify You." She writes "Unlike in political or commercial talk, with which we are inundated, poetry is a language of concision and precision that imparts not less than it literally means but more than it verbally says." (p. 157)
She adds on the next page, "...unlike in math, poetry adds up to a total greater than the sum of its parts."
Poetry then is holistic and unlike machinery cannot be reductively analyzed. I like to say (and do say in my book of poems, "Like a Tsunami Headed for Hilo"):
"...it is in poetry that we find the true power of the language. It is in poetry that words are made to soar above their moorings so that something beyond a linear expression is achieved.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is a readable introduction to poetry, not only for reluctant readers but also for poetic newbies and really, for anyone who wants to understand the various poetic forms... Read morePublished 9 days ago by M. Jeanne Bracken
An understandable, beautifully written aid for the "reluctant reader" of poetry. If you think that poetry seems like something you would like to explore, but are... Read morePublished on November 23, 2012 by Tom Page
First, the disclosure:
The publisher provided me this product free of charge.
Now, the review:
No matter what it says about the state of modern literacy, I... Read more