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The Art of Poetry Blog

A personal, informal, currently embryonic but ever-growing rec list (or, if you prefer, annotated bibliography) of books, articles, and online resources for mastering the art of poetry, with a focus on works by poets, scholars, philosophers, and critics, including the ancient, the recent, the brilliant, and the obscure. Topics will include prosody, rhetoric, genre, structure, literary aesthetics, poetic inspiration, and such related topics in poetics as sound, diction, lineation, subjects, titles, forms, narration, and lyric address.

 

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The Origin Story of this Blog

When I was in graduate school, studying to be a poet, "reading theory" meant reading French postmodern philosophy: Foucault, Derrida, Deleuze, Baudrillard, Kristeva, Irigaray, that sort of thing, none of which was particularly useful for writing poetry. In our creative writing workshops, I and my fellow students read the poetry of our professors' generations and the early efforts of our peers. In our literature classes we read selections from the English and American literary canon, along with the standard critical responses to that canon (though I do recall with great affection taking a course in Modern European Poetry in English translation, taught by Edward Hirsch). What we didn't read was anything about the actual technique of writing poetry (or fiction, or nonfiction, or drama). Once it dawned on me that nothing of the sort would be on offer, I decided to create a course of my own, an independent study with a motley syllabus of books on poetic technique, assembled by browsing the stacks in bookstores and libraries. It was not a bad reading list, considering how little I knew, though today I would choose a rather different constellation. Nevertheless, that little independent study, supplemented by the reading I have done in the intervening years, is the basis, the origin, of this blog. May it prove useful to others.