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Poetry: The Basics Paperback – 18 Feb 2011


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Product details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Routledge; 2 edition (18 Feb. 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0415566169
  • ISBN-13: 978-0415566162
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 1.7 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 232,217 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Review

"Whether writing about Paradise Lost or the lyrics of Nick Cave, Jeffrey Wainwright is an inspiring and engaging critic of poetry. There are pleasures and insights to be found on every page of this immensely readable book.' - Stephen Regan, Royal Holloway, University of London" --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Jeffrey Wainwright is a poet, translator, and critic. He taught for many years at Manchester Metropolitan University where he was Professor in the Department of English until 2008.


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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Asphodelia TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 24 April 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I have an interest in Romantic poetry but my knowledge and understanding of the `rules' of poetic composition date back to high school, so I was looking for a book pitched at undergraduate level to help me make sense of things. The fact that this book is published by Routledge was reassuring as they are one of the best known publishers for university undergraduate coursebooks.

This book is very easy to read and doesn't assume a great deal of knowledge of literature or poetry; in fact, it even uses popular music to illustrate a point - for example, it quotes the Nick Cave song `Into My Arms' to explain the concept of an author's `personal voice'. Jeffrey Wainwright starts the journey from the very beginning, with nursery rhymes and takes you through the entire spectrum of what we understand as `verse'.

I enjoyed reading this up until I was about three quarters into it; then I was struggling to follow. The problem is that that a instead of using one or two poems to explain a particular form (let's say, the sonnet), the author gives lots of examples, snippets from poems here and there; I found that too fragmentary and confusing. I would have liked to be taken through a whole reading of, say, a Blake poem - and to have analysed it thoroughly. By the time you get to the end of the book you feel as if you're in the middle of a poetic tornado, with names of poets being constantly thrown in and with one or two lines from poems to illustrate the point.

However there is one great feature in this book and that's the glossary at the end. I will definitely refer to it again and again, when I'm unsure about the difference between an enjambement or a caesura, or between iambic and trochaic. All in all, I'd say this is a useful book which will prove a useful reference tool for students of poetry and aspiring poets alike.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
There are very good reasons why this is more or less a standard textbook on undergraduate poetry modules: Wainwright is both informed and, occasionally, inspired in deconstructing how poetry works, how it produces the effects (and affects) that it does. Underpinning the text is, then, a sense of poetry as an art, an artifice and a craft - something which goes to great technical lengths to appear (sometimes) as a spontaneous outburst of authentic emotion.

The possible drawback to using this in teaching is that students sometimes retreat to technical descriptions of texts rather than making the imaginative and emotional leaps to talk about what and how the poem means, rather than a dry description of its metre, form, rhyming scheme etc. So we do need to emphasise that books like this give us a vocabulary for analysing poetry but that turning that vocabulary into meaningful sentences is the next step we're really looking for.

All the same, this is detailed, informative and wide-ranging - and the glossary is something which I still find invaluable.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Shirley Asquith on 23 Jan. 2014
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This is the theory and history of poetry. Excellent. A god book with prctical guidence on poetry wrtting. Cannot be read fast needs to be studied. I am plowing my way through it.
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0 of 6 people found the following review helpful By HollyBooks on 13 Oct. 2011
Format: Paperback
very pleased with the prompt arrival and the condition of the book. very helpful book as i am studying english literature and creative writing at university.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 2 reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Not a good resource for one wanting to learn about poetry on their own. 2 Oct. 2014
By David L. Molnar - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The book is way too dense, with discussions that are rambling with no clear cut goal. It is very difficult to understand if, like me, you are an educated person who has never studied poetry, but would like to learn some basics. In the text sections, the author says to refer to the glossary for definitions; in the glossary, he says the definitions are of necessity short but are explained in the text (they are not), and then suggests you go buy, another reference book to get satisfactory definitions. So by his own admission, the book does not stand on its own. I'm paraphrasing now, but his goal was the demystification of poetry, he failed miserably.

And frustrating that the words in the glossary, poorly defined though they were, could not be accessed by simply clicking on the word and going directly to the glossary. Perhaps, Kindle books do not support this very basic feature, perhaps this is simple laziness on the part of the author, but it is really frustrating.

If you want to learn about poetry and you want to do it on your own, this is NOT the book for you.
I see this book as being very helpful. 2 May 2015
By Mike - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I find this book very helpful. I am preparing for a poetry class over this summer, I bummed into this book at the Columbia Book store In NYC, and now I can't put it down. I didn't read other books that teach poetry, but thus far, I'm in the middle of reading chapter three, and I enjoy it very much.
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