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Reading Poetry: An Introduction Paperback – 28 Jun 2007


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Product details

  • Paperback: 648 pages
  • Publisher: Routledge; 2 edition (28 Jun 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0582894204
  • ISBN-13: 978-0582894204
  • Product Dimensions: 17 x 3.8 x 24.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 35,001 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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"Reading Poetry stands out from other introductions to poetry in its brilliant combination of practical guidance and theoretical savvy. Students who use this book will be helped to enjoy and discuss poems, introduced to some of the major varieties of poetic criticism, and invited to reflect on what makes poetry important today. Reading Poetry is, in my view, the best introductory book on the study of poetry available. " - Professor Derek Attridge, Universityof York

From the Back Cover

Reading Poetry stands out from other introductions to poetry in its brilliant combination of practical guidance and theoretical savvy. Students who use this book will be helped to enjoy and discuss poems, introduced to some of the major varieties of poetic criticism, and invited to reflect on what makes poetry important today.”

Professor Derek Attridge, University of York

Reading Poetry is a comprehensive, accessible and extremely effective guide to the arts of reading, analysing and enjoying poetry. From the opening chapter, which examines assumptions about what poetry might be, successive chapters map a path that takes the reader from the basics of simple appreciation to an understanding of the often complex theoretical and historical contexts that enrich any appreciation of poetry.

While emphasising the importance of close textual analysis – or reading in slow motion – the authors clearly demonstrate how an understanding of form, language and context can combine to produce sophisticated and original responses to all types of poetry.

The second edition of this best-selling book includes a number of developments that make it more user-friendly for the individual reader and more suitable as a stand-alone textbook for university courses in poetry. The poetic examples have been increased to 150, ranging from the 14th to the 21st century, and clear guidance is provided on further reading in footnotes and an expanded bibliography. This edition includes a new chapter on Post-Colonial Poetry,a substantial increase in the number of end-of-chapter exercises, and a comprehensive Glossary of Poetic Terms. The aim of the book is preserved from that of the first edition, namely to enhance readers’ literary and scholarly competence, and to restore enjoyment to the reading of poetry.

Tom Furniss is Senior Lecturer in English Studies at the Universityof Strathclyde in Glasgow, where he has spent nearly twenty years teaching poetry, literary theory and Romanticism. Michael Bath taught English literature for more than 30 years at the University of Strathclyde, where his research interests centred on relations between literature and the visual arts, emblems and iconology


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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By x iLeon on 10 Sep 2009
Format: Paperback
At the time of writting there are just two other reviews, both 5 star. The only reason I would add another 5 star is if I believe the book to be genuinely THAT good. I bought Reading Poetry 2 years ago and I am still reading it! Offcourse I read a lot in between, but this work has a lot of material to be worked through and assimilated.

It begins with a discussion on what poetry is, which is explored to great, and inspiring detail. Close reading is introduced and expounded. Now, the UK close reading champion has got to be Ruth Padel, and I have both her 52 and Journey, and great books they both are. However, Ruth probably risks trivialising the matter by treating it consistantly over-enthusiastically. Not so here. As with later subjects, each topic is treated with balanced proffessional dedication, factually yet still inspiringly. To nick from a review of The Joy of Sex (sorryyyy...), the book manages to be serious without being solemn.

Form is covered next (rhythm, metre, syntax etc) before the authors move on to figurative language, voices, tone and irony and ambiguity. Contexts follow, including genre, allusion, discourse, intertextuality and locations while the final chapter covers closure, pluralism and undecidability. A massive ground is covered then. And in each case, there is a great selection of poems from the last 5 centuries, some used as passing demonstrations of a concept, others delved deeply into, sometimes making them transform before the reader almost revelatory...-ly.

There is strong coverage of lit crit schools and periods throughout.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Laertes on 24 Feb 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The writers say in their Preface, `"Reading Poetry" is an ambitious book . . . each chapter takes the reader on a journey from the basics of a topic to its sophisticated theoretical and historical implications". This is true enough. However, because of the wide field it covers, the book is necessarily selective in what it pursues and how far it pursues it; and the selections have been chosen partly for their relevance to arguments running through the main text.
These arguments set it apart from the ordinary text book. And because this book is more than a store of facts and literary terms (although there are many of those) but has these arguments running through it, the reader should take note of what the authors point out in the Preface, `The sequence of the chapters is carefully staged . . . so that each chapter builds on what has gone before and prepares readers for later chapters'. In other words, `If you do not already have some knowledge of poetry's forms, history, and criticism, read it in the order in which it appears.' It is good advice. Approached in this way and using the exercises, it is a great self-learning package.
No one book can cover the whole of what there is to say about the appreciation of poetry. Although this one in sub-titled, `An Introduction', it is more than that. It is good and interesting enough to deserve a place on every poetry reader's bookshelf.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on 29 April 2004
Format: Paperback
This book is a must for anyone interested in poetry. I have never comeacross such a well thought-out book on the subject and with exercises atthe end of each chapter it's a great self-learning and teaching aid. TomFurniss and Michael Bath have provided us with a university level coursebook which covers many aspects of poetry from rhythm and metre to imagery,incorporating current work on metaphor (notably that of Lakoff/Johnson andTurner).
They give excellent descriptions of techniques and plenty of examples andpoint the reader towards other texts on poetry, such as WinnifredNowottny's equally important work "The Language of Poetry". I'd say thatif you are interested in studying poetry for a course, or even forpleasure, this book is the place to start. In fact, I know of few otherswhich meet its high standards and thoroughness. Excellent!
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