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A Poet’s Guide to Poetry, Second Edition

Second Edition

In A Poet’s Guide to Poetry, Mary Kinzie brings her decades of expertise as poet, critic, and director of the creative writing program at Northwestern University to bear in a comprehensive reference work for any writer wishing to better understand poetry. Detailing the formal concepts of poetry and methods of poetic analysis, she shows how the craft of writing can guide the art of reading poems. Using examples from the major traditions of lyric and meditative poetry in English from the medieval period to the present, Kinzie considers the sounds and rhythms of poetry along with the ideas and thought-units within poems. Kinzie also shares her own successful classroom tactics that encourage readers to approach a poem as if it were provisional.

The three parts of A Poet’s Guide to Poetry lead the reader through a carefully planned introduction to the ways we understand poetry. The first section provides careful, step-by-step instruction to familiarize students with the formal elements of poems, from the most obvious feature through the most subtle. The second part carefully examines meter and rhythm, as well as providing a theoretical and practical overview of free verse. The final section offers helpful chapters on writing in form. Rounding out the volume are writing exercises for beginning and advanced writers, a dictionary of poetic terms, and a bibliography of further reading.

For this new edition, Kinzie has carefully reworked the introductory material and first chapter, as well as amended the annotated bibliography to include the most recent works of criticism. The updated guide also contains revised exercises and adjustments throughout the text to make the work as lucid and accessible as possible.

Table of Contents

A Note on Sources
Preface to the Second Edition
Introduction: The Mind That Reads

1     What the Poem Thinks: A Poetics

Part I The Six Elements of Relation and Resemblance

2     Line and Half-Meaning
3     Syntax and Whole Meaning
4     Diction and Layers in Meaning
5     Trope and Thought
6     Rhetoric and Speech
7     Rhythm as Combination

Part II The Elements, Controlled in Time

8     Accentual-Syllabic Meter: The Role of Stress and Interval
9     Stanza and Rhyme: The Role of Echo
10    Further Rhythms in English—Counted Forms: Accentual Verse and Syllabic Verse (Including Haiku)
11    Further Rhythms in English—Non-Counted Forms: The Four Freedoms of Free Verse 

Part III Writing in Form

12    Exercises for Beginning and Advanced Writers
13    Poetic Terms
14    Annotated Bibliography of Further Reading

      List of Poems by Form
      Author and Title Index
      Subject Index

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