9780156007627

Discovery of Poetry : A Field Guide to Reading and Writing Poems

by
  • ISBN13:

    9780156007627

  • ISBN10:

    0156007622

  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2001-11-01
  • Publisher: Houghton Miff

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Summary

The bestselling author of Under the Tuscan Sun brings poetry out of the classroom and into the homes of everyday readers. Before she fell in love with Tuscany, Frances Mayes fell in love with verse. After publishing five books of poetry and teaching creative writing for more than twenty-five years, Mayes is no stranger to the subject. In The Discovery of Poetry, an accessible "field guide" to reading and writing poetry, she shares her passion with readers. Beginning with basic terminology and techniques, from texture and sound to rhyme and repetition, Mayes shows how focusing on one aspect of a poem can help you to better understand, appreciate, and enjoy the reading and writing experience. In addition to many creative and helpful composition ideas, following each lyrical and lively discussion is a thoughtful selection of poems. With its wonderful anthology from Shakespeare to Jamaica Kinkaid, The Discovery of Poetry is an insightful, invaluable guide to what Mayes calls "the natural pleasures of language-a happiness we were born to have."

Author Biography

Frances Mayes is the author of the New York Times bestsellers Under the Tuscan Sun, Bella Tuscany, and In Tuscany, as well as five books of poetry, most recently Ex Voto. Until last year, she taught at San Francisco State University, where she was Chair of the Creative Writing Department. Mayes has published poems in the Atlantic Monthly, the Iowa Review, Ploughshares, Mother Jones, the New England Review, the Mississippi Review, and more. She divides her time between San Francisco and Cortona, Italy.

Table of Contents

Invitation ix
Sources and Approaches
1(23)
The Origin of a Poem
1(4)
The Art of Reading
5(9)
Poems
14(10)
Words: Texture and Sound
24(40)
Texture of Language
24(5)
Choosing Words
29(3)
The Muscle of Language
32(1)
Sound Patterns
33(5)
The Surprise of Language
38(1)
The Kinship of Words
39(9)
Poems
48(16)
Images: The Perceptual Field
64(68)
Three Image Poems
66(4)
Images and Perception
70(2)
Literal Images
72(3)
Poems
75(7)
Figurative Images
82(15)
Symbols
97(8)
Poems
105(27)
The Speaker: The Eye of the Poem
132(26)
The Invented ``I''
134(5)
The Personal ``I'' Speaker
139(5)
The Public Voice
144(2)
The Invisible Speaker
146(2)
Poems
148(10)
Rhyme and Repetition
158(49)
Rhyme
162(9)
Poems
171(5)
Repetition
176(15)
Poems
191(16)
Meter: The Measured Flow
207(43)
What Is Meter?
209(2)
Scansion
211(2)
Iambic Pentameter
213(8)
More Key Meters
221(13)
Two Other Metrical Options
234(5)
Rhythm and Meaning
239(3)
Poems
242(8)
Free Verse
250(37)
The Genesis of Free Verse
257(3)
The Free Verse Craft of the Line
260(12)
Voice
272(1)
Free Verse, the Tradition and Beyond
272(2)
Poems
274(13)
Traditional and Open Forms
287(59)
Looking at Forms
289(4)
Traditional Forms
293(20)
Poems
313(12)
Open Forms
325(4)
Prose Poems
329(2)
Open Forms Poems
331(15)
Subject and Style
346(56)
Types of Poems
347(10)
Style
357(7)
Poems on Four Subjects
364(22)
Poems
386(16)
Interpretation: The Wide Response
402(55)
What Is Meaning?
408(1)
Gaps and Holes
409(7)
Power Sources
416(17)
Critical Discriminations
433(7)
Poems
440(17)
A Poet's Handbook
457(25)
Invoking Your Muse
457(2)
Beginning with a White Page
459(1)
Suggestions for Writing and Revising
459(4)
Exercises
463(8)
Your Poems out the Door
471(11)
Index of Titles 482(5)
Index of Authors and Titles 487(6)
Index of Terms and Topics 493

Supplemental Materials

What is included with this book?

The New copy of this book will include any supplemental materials advertised. Please check the title of the book to determine if it should include any access cards, study guides, lab manuals, CDs, etc.

The Used, Rental and eBook copies of this book are not guaranteed to include any supplemental materials. Typically, only the book itself is included. This is true even if the title states it includes any access cards, study guides, lab manuals, CDs, etc.

Excerpts

Sources and ApproachesIf I feel physically as if the top of my head were taken off, I know that is poetry.-emily dickinsonThe Origin of a PoemWhat motivates a poet to write? When Emily Dickinson said about her art, "My business is circumference," she was talking about her desire to explore experience by drawing it into a circle of her own, a world. Similarly, Wallace Stevens wanted each poem to give "a sense of the world." D. H. Lawrence thought the essence of good poetry was "stark directness." Telling or uncovering truth is the prime motive of poets like Muriel Rukeyser, who once asked, "What would happen if one woman told the truth about her life? / The world would split open." William Wordsworth valued "the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings." When William Carlos Williams called a poem "a machine made of words," he simply meant to say that the best-formed poems function smoothly, with oiled and well-fitted parts, not far from Samuel Taylor Coleridge's ideal, "The best words in the best order."Many poets aspire to reach "the condition of music"-some aim for the heavenly music of the spheres, while others want the words to "boogie." William Butler Yeats thought, "We make out of the quarrel with others, rhetoric, but of the quarrel with ourselves, poetry." His writing emerged from the internal fault line between conflicting thoughts and emotions. Yeats's desire to understand his human condition echoes Walt Whitman, who wanted the reader to "stand by my side and look in the mirror with me." For Matthew Arnold the impulse was external, not internal. His poetry came from "actions, human actions; possessing an inherent interest in themselves, and which are to be communicated in an interesting manner by the art of the poet." Some pull of inner necessity draws the poet to the page, whether to explore a problem, pursue a rhythm, break apart logic, express an emotion, tell a story, or simply to sing. When asked the familiar question, "Why do you write?", writers often answer, "Because I have to," (though prose writer Flannery O'Connor replied, "Because I'm good at it."). The impetus of having to, for the reasons named above, gives poetry its fire and urgency.Because of all these diverse sources, no one ever has come up with a satisfactory definition of poetry, just as no one can define music or art. Those who want to proclaim what is or isn't poetry have thankless work cut out for themselves. No umbrella is wide enough to cover the myriad versions, subjects, and forms. If a poem interests you, better to just go along with Walt Whitman's assertion, "...what I assume you shall assume, / For every atom belonging to me, as good belongs to you." Reasons for reading and for writing seem almost as numerous as atoms.Sometimes poets write to recreate an experience.A Blessing(James Wright, 1927-1980)Just off the highway to Rochester, Minnesota,Twilight bounds softly forth on the grass.And the eyes of those two Indian poniesDarken with k

Excerpted from The Discovery of Poetry: A Field Guide to Reading and Writing Poems by Frances Mayes
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