With passion, wit, and good common sense, the celebrated poet Mary Oliver tells of the basic ways a poem is built--meter and rhyme, form and diction, sound and sense. Drawing on poems from Robert Frost, Elizabeth Bishop, and others, the Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award winner imparts an extraordinary amount of information in a short space.With passion, wit, and good common sense, the celebrated poet Mary Oliver tells of the basic ways a poem is built--meter and rhyme, form and diction, sound and sense. Drawing on poems from Robert Frost, Elizabeth Bishop, and others, the Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award winner imparts an extraordinary amount of information in a short space.Read Less
This is one of the best books I've read to aid in understanding and writing poetry. Mary Oliver's poems are some of the most beautiful I've ever read and she certainly understands the crafting of a poem.
Sep 6, 2007
Not for Advanced Readers of Poetry
For the beginner. Would not say this treatise is particularly inspiring for the writer. Lays down the rules for the basic craft in a preachy way. An OK book, if this is what you are looking for in a manual.
Publishers Weekly, 1994-06-06 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.'' (July)
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