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The Poet's Companion: A Guide to the Pleasures of Writing Poetry

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9780393040814: The Poet's Companion: A Guide to the Pleasures of Writing Poetry
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Explains the process of writing poetry, including what subjects to use, how to overcome writer's block, tips on getting published, and offers writing exercises

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Review:

"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

About the Author:

A finalist for the National Book Award, Kim Addonizio has also received a Guggenheim Fellowship, two NEA Fellowships, and a Pushcart Prize. She divides her time between living in Oakland, California, and New York City.

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Other Popular Editions of the Same Title

9780393316544: The Poet's Companion: A Guide to the Pleasures of Writing Poetry

Featured Edition

ISBN 10: 0393316548 ISBN 13: 9780393316544
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company, 1997
Softcover