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A Poet's Guide to Poetry brings Mary Kinzie's expertise as poet, critic, and director of the creative writing program at Northwestern University to bear in a comprehensive reference work for any writer wishing to better understand poetry. Detailing the formal concepts of poetry and methods of poetic analysis, she shows how the craft of writing can guide the art of reading A Poet's Guide to Poetry brings Mary Kinzie's expertise as poet, critic, and director of the creative writing program at Northwestern University to bear in a comprehensive reference work for any writer wishing to better understand poetry. Detailing the formal concepts of poetry and methods of poetic analysis, she shows how the craft of writing can guide the art of reading poems. Using examples from the major traditions of lyric and meditative poetry in English from the medieval period to the present, Kinzie considers the sounds and rhythms of poetry along with the ideas and thought-units within poems. Kinzie shares her own successful classroom tactics—encouraging readers to approach a poem as if it were provisional. The three parts of A Poet's Guide to Poetry lead the reader through a carefully planned introduction to the ways we understand poetry. The first section provides careful, step-by-step instruction to familiarize students with the formal elements of poems, from the most obvious feature through the most devious. Part I presents the style, grammar, and rhetoric of poems with a wealth of examples from various literary periods. Part II discusses the way the elements of a poem are controlled in time through a careful explanation and exploration of meter and rhythm. The "four freedoms" of free verse are also examined. Part III closes the book with helpful practicum chapters on writing in form. Included here are writing exercises for beginning as well as advanced writers, a dictionary of poetic terms replete with poetry examples, and an annotated bibliography for further explanatory reading. This useful handbook is an ideal reference for literature and writing students as well as practicing poets.


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A Poet's Guide to Poetry brings Mary Kinzie's expertise as poet, critic, and director of the creative writing program at Northwestern University to bear in a comprehensive reference work for any writer wishing to better understand poetry. Detailing the formal concepts of poetry and methods of poetic analysis, she shows how the craft of writing can guide the art of reading A Poet's Guide to Poetry brings Mary Kinzie's expertise as poet, critic, and director of the creative writing program at Northwestern University to bear in a comprehensive reference work for any writer wishing to better understand poetry. Detailing the formal concepts of poetry and methods of poetic analysis, she shows how the craft of writing can guide the art of reading poems. Using examples from the major traditions of lyric and meditative poetry in English from the medieval period to the present, Kinzie considers the sounds and rhythms of poetry along with the ideas and thought-units within poems. Kinzie shares her own successful classroom tactics—encouraging readers to approach a poem as if it were provisional. The three parts of A Poet's Guide to Poetry lead the reader through a carefully planned introduction to the ways we understand poetry. The first section provides careful, step-by-step instruction to familiarize students with the formal elements of poems, from the most obvious feature through the most devious. Part I presents the style, grammar, and rhetoric of poems with a wealth of examples from various literary periods. Part II discusses the way the elements of a poem are controlled in time through a careful explanation and exploration of meter and rhythm. The "four freedoms" of free verse are also examined. Part III closes the book with helpful practicum chapters on writing in form. Included here are writing exercises for beginning as well as advanced writers, a dictionary of poetic terms replete with poetry examples, and an annotated bibliography for further explanatory reading. This useful handbook is an ideal reference for literature and writing students as well as practicing poets.

30 review for A Poet's Guide to Poetry

  1. 4 out of 5

    Cylia Kamp

    A Poet's Guide to Poetry, Second Edition is chock full of information about the craft of poetry, but it's not a book that I'll read straight-through. Instead it's a great resource, complete with samples, definitions, descriptions and lessons, which will remain, I imagine, on my reference shelf for years.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Patrick

    Wavers between 2 and 3 stars. Incredibly detailed and unnecessarily dense. About a third could be cut and it would still get the point across. Also, it would greatly benefit the book itself if this were an ebook, to readily cross reference terms or look up Kinzie's acerbic vocabulary.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Ashley

    I was reading this in Brothers K the other day, and when I looked over at the table next to me, I saw MARY KINZIE HERSELF. Omgz

  4. 4 out of 5

    Robin

    When I started grad school and wanted to take a course on poetry at Northwestern, Mary Kinzie was finishing this book. While I had one of her teaching assistants for my course, he was guiding us with materials and exercises from this book. Fun to remember back over twenty years, the TA, the much younger students and their energy, and the poems I wrote that still mean something to me.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Troy Ngram

    A must read for all Poets. I don't ever want to finish it.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Matt Snee

    very informative for those without schooling or proper training in the art. Exhaustive. Will read again and reference.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Beverly

    I have to get back to this book someday....I just couldn't finish it. But sometimes my focus changes. Books I can't read today are possible at a later date. So I'll get back to this eventually. Or not.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Stephanie

    This book is very technical and difficult to read. But, it is a fantastic reference book and a good read if broken up into sections.

  9. 5 out of 5

    John

    A detailed book on the craft of poetry. Although the subject is difficult, the book is surprisingly easy to read.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Crissy

    Another college text that has morphed into pleasure reading after a decades rest on the shelf.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Tara

    Wow. I couldn't finish the whole book but this will be one of my primary poetry references in future studies. Very dense but is there anything this woman doesn't know?

  12. 5 out of 5

    Alberto Trombetta

  13. 4 out of 5

    Kateri

  14. 5 out of 5

    Sarah K.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Drew

  16. 4 out of 5

    marissa faustini

  17. 5 out of 5

    Maura

  18. 4 out of 5

    Jonathan Wood

  19. 4 out of 5

    Samantha McGuire

  20. 4 out of 5

    Gil Rosado

  21. 4 out of 5

    Jane Bridges

  22. 4 out of 5

    Robert Palmer

  23. 5 out of 5

    Nick

  24. 4 out of 5

    Travis Everett

  25. 5 out of 5

    William Hurst

  26. 5 out of 5

    Cal Godot

  27. 5 out of 5

    Mason Nations

  28. 4 out of 5

    Mari

  29. 4 out of 5

    Athena

  30. 5 out of 5

    James Aaron

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