The Poetry Handbook: A Guide to Reading Poetry for Pleasure and Practical Criticism

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9780198711490: The Poetry Handbook: A Guide to Reading Poetry for Pleasure and Practical Criticism

The Poetry Handbook offers a lucid and practical guide to the poet's craft. In addition to the varied examples that accompany chapters on meter, form, layout, lineation, punctuation, rhyme, diction, syntax, history, biography, and gender, at the end of every chapter, Lennard applies each topic to the same poem, Nobel Prize-winner Derek Walcott's "Nearing Forty," building, incrementally, a full technical reading. Lennard italicizes and clearly explains critical and scholarly terms, both in the text and in glossaries. He supplements notes and quotations with detailed references to both the Oxford and Norton poetry anthologies, and includes substantial Suggestions for Further Reading. Designed with the undergraduate as well as the general reader in mind, The Poetry Handbook will fascinate and reward anyone interested in how poems work.

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Review:

John Lennard subtitled his Poetry Handbook, "A Guide to Reading Poetry for Pleasure and Practical Criticism," and it's an apt description. The book covers meter and layout, rhyme and syntax, with poetic examples that whet the appetite for verse. Written with evident love for and knowledge of the subject, the handbook is a requisite reference for students of poetry and an inspirational refresher for anyone who's ever thrilled to the cadences of trochaic tetrameter, duples, and rising rhythms.

About the Author:


John Lennard is a Fellow and Director of Studies in English at Trinity Hall, Cambridge.

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Published by Oxford University Press (1996)
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