A Toolbox for Prosesmiths and Poets alike!

Muse at 11, Writing

While trolling through the library, I stumbled upon a book which bears the world’s wittiest cover:

The Poetry Home Repair Manual, by Ted Kooser
It was a fantastic find that I want to share with you all.

I dabble in poetry, but have never really sat down and made a serious study of it.  Mr. Kooser does a fantastic job of describing how poems are different than prose and what makes some poems stronger than others.  He uses tons of readable examples, stays conversational throughout,  and the chapters are really short.

Even if you poetry’s not your thing, it’s still worth a read.  The chapters “Working with Details” and “Fine-Tuning Metaphors and Similes” opened my eyes to the mechanics that go into setting a scene’s atmosphere.  I’ve already seen a difference in how I approach scenery and emotional details, and I think it’s making my work stronger.

Reading this book is like chatting with your kindly grandpa if your kindly grandpa was also the Poet Laureate of the United States.  Grab it!

“[T]he word sentimentality, so difficult to define, is the death ray in the literary critic’s arsenal of weapons.  Once a critic deploys it, entire books of poetry can be summarily vaporized.”

–Ted Kooser, The Poetry Home Repair Manual

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