A wonderfully accessible handbook to the art of writing and reading poetry—itself written entirely in verse
“Reading this book, you get to know poetry from the inside, without the alienating or distracting effect of abstract definition. Knowledge of how poetry works is here imbibed not as a course of instruction but as a sustained pleasure."—Bernard O'Donoghue, University of Oxford, Winner of the Whitbread Prize for Poetry
How does poetry work? What should readers notice and look out for? Poet Lucy Newlyn demystifies the principles of the form, effortlessly illustrating key approaches and terms—all through her own original verse. Each poem exemplifies an aspect of poetic craft—but read together they suggest how poetry can evoke a whole community and its way of life in myriad ways.
In a series of beautiful meditations, Newlyn guides the reader through key aspects of poetry, from sonnets and haiku to volta and synecdoche. Avoiding glosses and notes, her poems are allowed to speak for themselves, and show that there are no limits to what poetry can communicate. Newlyn’s timeless verse will appeal to lovers of poetry as well as to practitioners, teachers, and students of all ages.
You’d play here all day if you had your way— near the stepping-stones, in the clearest of rock-pools, where water slaps and slips; where minnows dart, and a baby trout flop-flips.
Lucy Newlyn is a poet and emeritus fellow in English, St Edmund Hall, Oxford. In addition to studies of the Romantic poets, she has published four collections of poetry, Ginnel, Earth’s Almanac, Vital Stream, and The Marriage Hearse. She lives near Truro, UK.
“Lucy Newlyn’s The Craft of Poetry has pulled off a near-impossible feat with a series of accomplished poems that illustrate every single poetry technique.”—Bel Mooney, Daily Mail
“An excellent pedagogical resource to use with students. . . . [Newlyn] hopes that The Craft of Poetry ‘will stand on the same shelf’ as The Making of a Poem by Eavan Boland and Mark Strand or John Hollander’s books on craft, and it does earn that place as a novel reference work of poetic curios.”—Naush Sabah, Times Literary Supplement
“You’ll learn about allegory and enjambment, haikus and epistles, while being enchanted by the beauty of the language.”—Patricia Carswell, WI Life, “10 Top Reads”
“Newlyn’s specially written poems feel effortless to read. They can, of course, be read out of order, and dipped in and out of, but read together they show how evocative poetry can be and how much can be communicated within one line.”—Kay Hadden, Myslexia
“To write about the technical aspects of poetry writing in verse is quite a party trick, and to do it in a sequence of over 180 original poems is remarkable . . . this is an ingenious and rich supplementary resource for any student of literature.”—John Batchelor, Modern Language Review
“Reading this book, you get to know poetry from the inside, without the alienating or distracting effect of abstract definition. Knowledge of how poetry works is here imbibed not as a course of instruction but as a sustained pleasure.”—Bernard O’Donoghue, University of Oxford, winner of the Whitbread Prize for Poetry
“Lucy Newlyn has written a masterpiece about poetic process. It is also a book of place and people, of language and sound, of form and intelligence, of story and history, and of tragedy and delight. . . . A future classic.” —David Morley, University of Warwick, winner of the Ted Hughes Award and author of The Cambridge Companion to Creative Writing
“Tremendously useful and enjoyable. . . . Conveys a hefty bundle of knowledge and delight, a little bit at a time.”—Carmen Bugan, University of Michigan and Gotham Writers Workshop
“A wonderfully refreshing approach. . . . Every one of these pieces shines with vigour.”—Rowan Williams
“An ingenious, gentle, lucid and brilliant book that both describes and performs. . . . By turns poignant, funny and haunting.”—Nicholas Royle, University of Sussex, author of An Introduction to Literature, Criticism and Theory
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