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Various Books on Reading and Writing Poetry


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I have quite a few books on reading and writing poetry. I will share a list of them here. I hope others will also tell about the books they have found useful.

 

Here I am with my Poetry for Dummies book ...

 

102215.jpg

 

 

...and below is the list of books in my collection. They are all in English, and I will provide a rating for the degree of language difficulty for each book. If anyone has any questions about any of these books, please reply in this topic, or send me a pm. I will add to the list as I have time, and as my collection grows --

 

 

******

 

Poetry for Dummies by John Timpane, Ph.D. with Maureen Watts. Indianapolis: Wiley Publishing, Inc.; 2001.

 

-------An excellent reference book written in easy-to-understand language. All aspects of poetry are discussed, and tips on writing are provided, along with some exercises. This is the only book from the Dummies series that I have, but from what I hear, they are all excellent. [(309 pages) Laguage: easy.]

 

A Poet's Guide to Poetry by Mary Kinzie. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press; 1999.

 

-------A scholarly and exhaustive reference book. Contains a complete glossary. [(561 pages) Language: moderate to difficult.]

 

A Poetry Handbook by Mary Oliver. New York: Harcourt, Inc.; 1994.

 

-------An excellent primer, written by a very popular poet. [(130 pages) Language: easy to moderate].

 

How to Read a Poem by Burton Raffel. New York: The New American Library; 1984.

 

-------I've had this book for over twenty years. It's an excellent comprehensive reference source by a poet who is also a professor and translator. If I could only have one general book on poetry out all of them, I would choose this one. In addition to the fantastic information on poetry, it contains a wonderful selection of poems, including many of the ones I shared back on the old site by authors such as James Wright, Charles Simic, and Denise Levertov. This one's still available, too; I saw it recently at Barnes & Noble. I think I'll buy myself a new copy, because mine has become tattered over the years ... icon_smile.gif [(260 pages) Language: moderate]

 

Creating Poetry by John Drury. Cincinnati: F&W Publications, Inc.; 1991.

 

-------This one's on writing poetry. It's loaded with tips and exercises. [(211 pages) Language: moderate]

 

The Art and Craft of Poetry by Michael Bugeja. Cincinnati: F&W Publications, Inc.; 1994.

 

-------Another wonderful book on writing poetry. Also loaded with tips and exercises. [(339 pages) Language: moderate]

 

How to Read a Poem and Fall in Love with Poetry by Edward Hirsch. New York: Harcourt, Inc.; 1999.

 

-------General, on poetry. [(354 pages) Language: moderate]

 

The Poetry Home Repair Manual by Ted Kooser. Lincoln: The University of Nebraska Press; 2005.

 

-------The cover bears an inscription that reads, "Practical Advice for Beginning Poets." Written by a former Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress (USA). [(163 pages) Language: moderate]

 

All the Fun's in How You Say a Thing -- an Explanation of Meter and Versification by Timothy Steele. Athens: Ohio University Press; 1999.

 

-------Metrics. [(366 pages) Language: moderate]

 

******

 

 

I have more books on poetry, too, but they are the old school textbook types. It's unlikely that they can be readily obtained from anywhere.

 

Tony icon_biggrin.png

Here is a link to an index of my works on this site: tonyv's Member Archive topic

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pawn shop

I used to love to get a book from the town libary about 'how to.....write'....ect

and sit at the local baseball field under a tree....drink a 40oz beer and spend 3 hours with it.....

there's always something interesting in those books.....

I wouldn't mind trying to write a novel........just to see if I could do it.....

they say there is much complexity in such an endevour......charactor development.....

scenes..........

I always admired anybody who has published a book....no matter how poorly written..........like reading a comic book......but you just know SOME hard work was involved...

 

ps: you look young for your age.....ah poets 31447.gif

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Among the books mentioned above I have

 

A Poet's Guide to Poetry by Mary Kinzie - it was first chosen as a textbook and then the students complained that it was too scholarly. The instructor later switched to Writing Poems by Robert Wallace.

The Art and Craft of Poetry by Michael Bugeja. - I love this.

 

How to Read a Poem and Fall in Love with Poetry by Edward Hirsch. - I bought it a year ago, but still haven't finished it yet.

 

I'll see if I can get Poetry for Dummies from the library.

 

Thanks Tony.

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Among the books mentioned above I have

 

A Poet's Guide to Poetry by Mary Kinzie - it was first chosen as a textbook and then the students complained that it was too scholarly. The instructor later switched to Writing Poems by Robert Wallace.

 

The Art and Craft of Poetry by Michael Bugeja. - I love this.

 

How to Read a Poem and Fall in Love with Poetry by Edward Hirsch. - I bought it a year ago, but still haven't finished it yet.

 

I'll see if I can get Poetry for Dummies from the library.

 

Thanks Tony.

The students complained that it was "too scholarly"! icon_lol.gif Hirsch's book (along with Kooser's book) is not one of my favorites, but it has a few good morsels. If you like Bugeja's book (which I too, love), I think you'll also like Drury's book -- the two are quite similar. (I think I got both at Borders.) And Burton Raffel's How to Read a Poem will always be a favorite. It doesn't contain any exercises, but it's a wonderful, little reference book with lovely examples, inexpensive (I think it's around $15), and still readily available.

 

Tony icon_smile.gif

Here is a link to an index of my works on this site: tonyv's Member Archive topic

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I was hesitant to say I was not very keen on Hirsch's, but since you said "is not one of my favorites", I feel better now. icon_biggrin.png I'll check on Drury's and Raffel's then.

 

Thanks Tony.

 

Lake

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Larsen M. Callirhoe

hi tony and lake,

 

i have to get the poetry for dummies book. im not so good with comprehension for difficult or even moderate stuff when it comes to poetry.

 

victor aka larsen

Larsen M. Callirhoe

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Aleksandra

Well done with this thread my Tony. I am glad that you shared your opus of books.

I love how is made your little rich library what you have at home. And this thread is very useful, where we can exchange the experience with the books what we read, or have read.

 

Aleksandra

The poet is a liar who always speaks the truth - Jean Cocteau

History of Macedonia

 

 

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If you like Bugeja's book (which I too, love), I think you'll also like Drury's book -- the two are quite similar. (I think I got both at Borders.) And Burton Raffel's How to Read a Poem will always be a favorite. It doesn't contain any exercises, but it's a wonderful, little reference book with lovely examples, inexpensive (I think it's around $15), and still readily available.

Tony,

 

You're so right about Drury's book. I'm now in the middle of his book and love it. I'll see if I can get Raffel's someday for I really want to know how to read a poem.

 

Thanks,

 

Lake

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We should have a plain list (or do we already have one that I haven't seen yet) with each book ID'd by a number. I might have some three dozen odd. Most are useful only if you have others to eliminate, by cross-comparison, each author's 'private axe'.

All should be ranked for accessibility to more and more extensive familiarity with the field, or one can loose a lot of time tackling the more complicated ones first. Another question is, do you want some factual information or some more srtistic philossophies, slants of how poetry may come about.

 

I find Poetry for Dummies somewhat overwhelming and not totally adequate, but no book I know of is.

 

Babette Deutsch's Poetry Handbook is a good starter. Viola Berg's Pathways for the Poet is similar but includes most of the named forms, even some the Princeton Encyclopedia misses. I find Miller Williams' Patterns of Poetry a good step up to more than a preliminary insight into the mechanics of poem writing.

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Greetings, Waxwings. icon_smile.gif I like your idea of compiling a simple list of all the books. I was hoping that others would post the titles and information about the books they find useful right within this topic. So, if you're feeling ambitious icon_razz.gif ... don't hesitate to post the information on the books you have right here in the thread. Then, I could take all the recommendations and integrate them into a "sticky," comprehensive list like you have suggested.

 

If you do post the information on the books you have, please number, group, and categorize them the way you think makes sense. I could then follow suit and do the same with my books and the ones others would like to add when making the comprehensive list. When you say the list should ID the books by number, do you mean the books should simply be numbered down the list so we could refer to them by number (for example, "book #20"), or are you referring to ISBN's (or both)? I think the more information that's included (like ISBN's), the better. Also, do you think the books should be grouped in a particular way? I suppose they could be grouped alphabetically by title, or by author, by degree of difficulty, or some other way. I'm certainly open to suggestions as far as this list and anything else is concerned, and I always appreciate the input.

 

Tony

Here is a link to an index of my works on this site: tonyv's Member Archive topic

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I would have a numered (and pehaps sub-numbered) list/index of books identified by title author , edition(s), ISBN number(s) plus comment if in/out of print.

 

A separate guide is needed to summarize the level of depth and/or specifics of what a book provides. The guide might be staged, meaning, that books, identified by number, are grouped by level of increasing complexity/coverage.

 

Not sure I can (though I'd love to) take on the task, because I am retired, plagued with grandchildren and many other incursions into poetry related associations and programs. To top it of I hunt and peck not type and considering present economic doldrums faced with doing part time work.

 

However, perhaps more than one person can collaborate on this, if someone can lay out a workable network.

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  • 4 years later...

I've included this bibliography in the Explore the Art of Writing Poetry forum but some may never go there and this thread is dedicated to reviewing books of and about poetry so I thought I would add it here also. These are books I have purchased and used over the years, some more than others.

 

Bibliography

 

An Introduction to Welsh Poetry, Gwyn Williams 1952 Philadelphia Dufour Editions (in depth study of Welsh "meter" by one who can translate the original poems into English for better understanding)

Anchor Book of Chinese Poetry, by Tony Barnstone and Chou Pin, 2005, Anchor Books.(love this book with a rich understanding of Chinese form but especially for the beautiful poetry it contains)

Ballades and Rondeaus, by Gleeson White, 1888, New York, D Appleton and Co.

Book of Forms by Lewis Turco 2000, University Press of New England ISBN: I-58465-041-9(a popular book of forms used widely by internet poets)

Complete Rhyming Dictionary, by Clement Wood, 1991 Doubleday (good descriptions of the most popular verse forms are found in the introduction of this Dictionary)

Early Celtic Versecraft, origin development diffusion, by James Travis, 1973 Cornell University Press

A Grammar of the Irish Language, by John ODonovan 1845, Dublin:Hodges and Smith, Grafton Street.

Haiku Handbook, William Higginson, 1985 First Kodansha International Publishing ISBN: 4-7700-1430-9

How to Haiku, Bruce Ross 2002, Tuttle Publishing ISBN:0-8048-3232-3 (clarity and efficiency contained herein)

Lyric Forms From France: Their History and Their Use, by Helen Louise Cohen, 1923, Harcourt Brace and Co, New York

Making of a Poem, A Norton Anthology of Poetic Forms, edited by Mark Strand and Eavan Boland; 2000, WW Norton (good introduction of the dominant verse forms in English with lots of example poems)

New Princeton Encyclopedia of Poetry and Poetics edited by Preminger and Brogan 1993 Princeton University Press. ISBN: 0-691-02123-6 (historical evolution detailed)

Pathways For the Poet by Viola Jacobson Berg, 1977 Mott Media ISBN 0-915134-18-7(includes many little known invented forms which appear to be used by teachers to help teach various poetic terms in action)

Patterns of Poetry by Miller Williams, 1986, Louisiana State University Press

Poetic Form, An Introduction, by David Caplan, 2007, Pearson Education Inc

Poetry Dictionary, 2nd Edition, by John Drury, 2006, Writer' Digest Books ISBN:I -58297-329-6

Poet's Guide to Poetry, Mary Kinzie, 1999 University of Chicago Press

Prosody Handbook, A Guide to Poetic Form, by Robert Beum and Karl Shapiro, 2006 Dover Edition, Library of Congress

Prosody in England and Elsewhere, by Leonardo Malcovati, 2005 Gival Press Arlington VA.

Rhyme's Reason, John Hollander, 2001 Library of Congress (fun to read, form described in verse, good for example but not necessarily for clarity of structure.)

Shapes of our Singing by Robin Skelton, 2002 Library of Congress ISBN:0-910055-76-9(excellent descriptions of structure and a wide variety of verse forms of the world.)

Singing in Chains by Mererid Hopwood, 2004 Gomer Press, Wales (more detail on ancient Welsh Poetry)

The Ode Less Travelled, Unlocking the Poet Within, by Stephen Fry, 2005, Gotham Books (An entertaining as well as informative book on the intricacies of writing all types of poetry.)

The Teachers and Writers Handbook of Poetic Terms, Edited by Ron Padgett, 2000, T&W Books, NY ISBN: 0-915924-60-9(Although not all verse forms are included, this provides a comprehensive description with examples of many common forms as well as some not so common.)

 

Since an understanding of all components of poetics is essential in the study of form, the following books have been very helpful even though their primary focus is not verse forms:

 

A Poetry Handbook, by Mary Oliver, 1994, A Harvest Original, Harcourt Inc (a must have)

An Introduction to Poetry by X J kennedy and Dana Gioia, 2002. Longman ISBN: 0-321-08764-x(A rich, current exploration of poetry and its components)

Art and Craft of Poetry, by Michael Bugeja, 2001, Writer's Digest Books ISBN:1-58297-101-3{One of the few books that takes on the subject of the importance of the title.)

Creating Poetry, by John Drury, 1991, Writer's Digest Books

Dawn to the West, by Donald Keene, 1999 Volume 4, Cambridge University Press (Japanese literature)

Discovery of Poetry by Frances Mayes, 2001, A Harvest Original

Harper Colllins Study Bible, edited by Wayne A. Meeks, 1993 HarperCollins Publishers (includes footnotes on the styles and beliefs connected to Hebrew writing)

In the Palm of Your Hand by Steve Kowit, 1995, Tilbury House Publishers (challenging excersises included)

Modern Chinese Poetry, Theory and Practice since 1917, by Michelle Ye, 1991,Yale University Press (I loved this book simply because of the poetry.)

Norton Anthology of World Literature Volumes A F, editor Peter J. Simon, 2002, WW Norton and Co Inc. (evolution of verse from the very beginning through the 20th century, I bought these used and they are treasure chest of the world's poetry from the beginning.)

Poet's Companion by Kim Addonizio & Dorianne Laux Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc. 1988.ISBN-13: 9780393316544 (Used this for an online group study. Six of us purchased the book and discussed the book and doing the exercises together chapter by chapter on-line on a community forum like PMO)

Riverside Shakespeare, Edited by Dean Johnson et al, 1997, Houghton Mifflin Company (everything you didn't know about Shakespeare, with a complete collection of his plays and poetry.)

Rules for the Dance, by Mary Oliver 1998, A Mariner Original (excellent book on meter)

Seeds in the Heart, A History of Japanese Literature Volume I, by Donald Keene, 1999, Cambridge University Press (detailed study of the evolution of Japanese literature)

The Poet's Handbook by Judson Jerome 1980, Writer's Digest Books (understanding meter and more)

To Read a Poem by Donald Hall, 1992, Heinle and Heinle ISBN: 0-03-055539 (Great introduction to the enjoyment and the understanding of poetry. This was the first book my online friends each purchased and studied together, discussing the book chapter by chapter and doing the exercises. I learned more during this study period than in any other time.)

Unbroken Line by Miriam Sagan, 1999, Sherman Asher Publishing

Western Wind by John Frederick Nims, David Mason , 2000 Mc Graw-Hill (The last book my online group attempted to study together. Various events prevented us from continuing together and we never finished.)

 

Some of these books are out of print, some are textbooks, many were purchased used but in excellent condition, all were found available for purchase on-line within the last 6 years. Feb - 2008

~~ © ~~ Poems by Judi Van Gorder ~~

For permission to use this work you can write to Tinker1111@icloud.com

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