I write about books on my other blog, My Own Little Reading Room. Once in a while I do talk about books on poetry here, which can be read by all. Let me talk about two books on poetry. Mind you, I have cross posted those from my above mentioned blog.
Title: A Poetry Handbook
Author: Mary Oliver
Mary Oliver is one of my favourite poets. However, this book is not about her poetry. According to the book cover, this book is a prose guide to understanding and writing poetry. Both beginner poets as well as those who love to simply read poetry, can read this book .
She emphasise on reading a lot of poetry. One should read as much poetry as one can and as many poets. She asks us not to go overboard as we can never read every poet. Although we should try to read poetry from wide and varied eras. Learning to write poetry has to start from reading it.
Imitating is not a bad idea as no two poems can be similar. Each poet puts something of his or hers into it. Use of imagery, metaphors should be done in a rhythmic way and we should not go about those just for the heck of it.
She has taught us about different kinds of sounds, intonations, diction, tones and voice. Only when we master these, we can strive for writing better. Different forms of poetry have been explained taking poems by well-known poems. I especially liked ‘The Red Wheelbarrow’ by William Carlos Williams.
Mary Oliver says that we need to revise and re-revise our work before we consider it done. It might take a few days. We might even reject it which is again, not a bad idea.
Workshops help us honing skills, teach us the ropes of poetry writing, critiques help us but after a while, it is us who has to come out on our own. We have to learn to be keen observers, to imbibe all that surrounds us and interpret it in our own way. We have t0 learn to be comfortable with ourselves. That is how we can write some good poetry.
'A Poetry Handbook' is a very interesting book even if you do not write a single word of poetry. It teaches to look at poetry in a different way, to find out meanings, which we might miss at first glance. It might not be a poetry book but it is about poetry and is poetic in a sense. I am glad I possess this book and I can leaf through it any time I want too. I know I would be learning something new every time I open it.
Author: Robert Pinsky
Publisher: Farrar, Straux and Giroux/1998
Robert Pinsky is an American poet, who teaches graduate writing programme at Boston University. Here in this book, he takes up poetry in the vocal form. He wants that we should know how to read out poetry loud, where should we pause and where to stop. He gives stress on diction, syntax, accent, verse form..ie..rhymed poetry, metric poetry, free verse and blank verse.
He takes up numerous examples of poems by great poets, breaking the lines for us, teaching us the right intonations for each word, line and whole poem. He believes that poetry has to be vocal and should be peformed in order to comprehend it fully.
I am not saying that I understood it all at one go. This book is to be read very slowly, savoured in the way and should be followed the way he wants us to. He expects us to read aloud all kinds of poetry to understand those better. He says,"Poetry is a vocal, which is to say a bodily, art." This book can be read by those who are seriously into poetry and also those who are amateurs. To say, I liked it, is an understatement. This book is for keeps!
I found those books very interesting and informative. Both these books together can be taken as good guides for all poetry writers and poetry lovers. Both the books are worth adding to your collection.