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The Poetry Home Repair Manual: Practical Advice for Beginning Poets (2005)

by Ted Kooser

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6211038,085 (4.08)9
Ted Kooser has been writing and publishing poetry for more than forty years. In the pages of The Poetry Home Repair Manual, Kooser brings those decades of experience to bear. Here are tools and insights, the instructions (and warnings against instructions) that poets--aspiring or practicing--can use to hone their craft, perhaps into art. Using examples from his own rich literary oeuvre and from the work of a number of successful contemporary poets, the author schools us in the critical relationship between poet and reader, which is fundamental to what Kooser believes is poetry's ultimate purpose: to reach other people and touch their hearts.   Much more than a guidebook to writing and revising poems, this manual has all the comforts and merits of a long and enlightening conversation with a wise and patient old friend--a friend who is willing to share everything he's learned about the art he's spent a lifetime learning to execute so well.… (more)
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Showing 1-5 of 10 (next | show all)
Very helpful as a general introduction to the art of writing poetry for everyone. However, if you are looking for an extensive guide to poetry styles and rules, look somewhere else. Kooser says himself the goal is not to write a "rule book" for poetry- his goal is to give understandable advice for whatever type of poetry you choose to write. ( )
  Dances_with_Words | Jan 6, 2024 |
This book is pitched at about the undergraduate creative writing class level, which I think fills a gap in what's out there. He has clearly heard a lot of questions from the kind of intelligent students who have just started thinking about what the business of poetry is about, really, and who think they might have something to say but need some orientation on what the important things to concentrate upon might be, and he supplies both advice and illustrations without pretense or condescension. He has also read more than his shore of subpar verse and outright bad doggerel and does not refrain from teaching through these. I don't think I've seen anyone else do anything quite like that in any book of literary criticism before, despite its effectiveness. Mainly, he writes as someone who has found the pleasure of composing poetry and would just like to address writers who might enjoy that on their own, with matters of prestige or money or fame pushed into the background. Kooser quotes not only his own poems but also those of his favorite writers, and even an occasional piece of creative prose as illustrations of the points he makes.
As US Poet Laureate, Ted Kooser has had a well-deserved reputation for bringing poetry to more readers. He acknowledges the fear and dread that many people have when confronted with a poem they do not know, and has put together an admirable piece of instruction to counteract this bias. ( )
1 vote rmagahiz | Jul 9, 2020 |
I had to buy this book, because the title just grabbed me.

He gives a lot of examples of poems and discusses how the poet creates various effects.
( )
  CarolJMO | Dec 12, 2016 |
I found this book practical, realistic and worth the read. ( )
  Motherofthree | Dec 28, 2012 |
This is a lovely little book. I don't use it to exactly "work" on my poems but read to inform both my reading & writing. Koosier is clear and his examples pertinent and memorable. A nice to book to read for anyone interested in how language works. ( )
  EllieNYC | Jan 4, 2011 |
Showing 1-5 of 10 (next | show all)
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Charles Levendosky,
poet and citizen
1936-2004
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Before we get to the specifics of writing and revision, let me say a few things about the job you're taking on.
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Ted Kooser has been writing and publishing poetry for more than forty years. In the pages of The Poetry Home Repair Manual, Kooser brings those decades of experience to bear. Here are tools and insights, the instructions (and warnings against instructions) that poets--aspiring or practicing--can use to hone their craft, perhaps into art. Using examples from his own rich literary oeuvre and from the work of a number of successful contemporary poets, the author schools us in the critical relationship between poet and reader, which is fundamental to what Kooser believes is poetry's ultimate purpose: to reach other people and touch their hearts.   Much more than a guidebook to writing and revising poems, this manual has all the comforts and merits of a long and enlightening conversation with a wise and patient old friend--a friend who is willing to share everything he's learned about the art he's spent a lifetime learning to execute so well.

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