Synopses & Reviews
Through a series of chapters designed as useful provocations, Redmond steers readers away from the ‘default contemporary poem’, urging fresh ways of thinking, insisting on ‘the promise and opportunity of the blank page’. Traditional chapter topics like the sestina and the sonnet are abandoned in favour of more inspiring themes like variety, scale and background.
The book drwas on a wide array of examples, from sixth-century Ireland to contemporary Poland, and diverse cultural analogies from baseball to film. Rather than thinking of poems and having meanings, the book suggest that we should think of them of being like plays, or computer games, as experiences designed for the reader’s benefit.
In How to Write a Poem, poet John Redmond challenges our sense of what is possible within a poem. Setting aside the vexed question of what poetry is, he replaces it with the more helpful and exciting question: what might poetry be? By focusing on the future of poetry in this way, he affirms that a poem may take a new shape or behave differently to previous poems. The book acknowledges that to have a sense of what a poem might do, we must first see what other poems have already done. Redmond pays attention to traditional forms, such as the ode and the epistle and and to issues like syntax and diction, but focuses on the fundamental principles of poetic construction: who is speaking and to whom? Where is the speaker located? And why does their speaking take this form? Such questions encourage readers to experiment with poetry, and to create something fresh.
An innovative introduction to writing poetry designed for students of creative writing and budding poets alike.Challenges the reader’s sense of what is possible in a poem. Traces the history and highlights the potential of poetry. Focuses on the fundamental principles of poetic construction, such as: Who is speaking? Who are they speaking to? Why does their speaking take this form? Considers both experimental and mainstream approaches to contemporary poetry. Consists of fourteen chapters, making it suitable for use over one semester. Encourages readers to experiment with their poetry.
This innovative introduction to writing poetry challenges our sense of what is possible in a poem.
About the Author
"John Redmond's "How to Write a Poem
" contains no false notes. He does not patronise his reader with easy examples or workshop games, but lights on his subject with elegant pragmatism and humility. His overall argument arises from a very personal yet wholly professional sense of poetry as an art form in practice, and his examples are informed by deep reading and writerly intuition. I consider the book a small masterpiece of clarity, economy and experience. It brings light to poetry as something made: something real and realised." David Morley, Warwick University
"The examples throughout the book are contemporary and provocative in the most helpful sense. ... [Redmond] clearly loves poems, enough to show you in detail how they work." Poetry News
Table of Contents
1. The Question of Address.
3. The Question of Voices.
4. The Question of Scale.
5. Uses of Repetition.
7. Short Lines.
8. Long Lines.
10. Uses of Syntax.
12. Traditional Forms: Ode.
13. Traditional Forms: Epistle.
14. The Question of Background.
15. Conclusion: The Question of Variety.