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The Poetry Home Repair Manual [Paperback]

Ted Kooser
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
Price: 9.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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Book Description

4 Jun 2007
Recently appointed as the new U. S. Poet Laureate, Ted Kooser has been writing and publishing poetry for more than forty years. In the pages of "The Poetry Home Repair Manual," Kooser brings those decades of experience to bear. Here are tools and insights, the instructions (and warnings against instructions) that poets--aspiring or practicing--can use to hone their craft, perhaps into art. Using examples from his own rich literary oeuvre and from the work of a number of successful contemporary poets, the author schools us in the critical relationship between poet and reader, which is fundamental to what Kooser believes is poetry's ultimate purpose: to reach other people and touch their hearts. Much more than a guidebook to writing and revising poems, this manual has all the comforts and merits of a long and enlightening conversation with a wise and patient old friend--a friend who is willing to share everything he's learned about the art he's spent a lifetime learning to execute so well.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 170 pages
  • Publisher: University of Nebraska Press (4 Jun 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0803259786
  • ISBN-13: 978-0803259782
  • Product Dimensions: 20.6 x 15.3 x 1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 272,011 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

"Ted Kooser could be mistaken for an average guy except for one thing: He writes poetry. That activity sets him apart from most of his neighbors, since they, like most Americans, have very little time for the stuff. A resident of Nebraska and the first U.S. poet laureate from the Great Plains, Mr. Kooser takes a broadly inclusive approach to promoting poetry; even so, he harbors no illusions about its becoming the national pastime anytime soon. Mr. Kooser captures this outsider-status neatly in "The Poetry Home Repair Manual", his guide to aspiring poets and aspiring readers of verse. . . . [P]oetry is a tough sell these days. . . . But that only makes a smart and readable poetry guide all the more welcome, and needed."--David Yezzi, "The Wall Street Journal"--David Yezzi "The Wall Street Journal "

About the Author

Ted Kooser, former Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress (2004-2006), is a visiting professor in the English department of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and a retired insurance executive. He is the author of ten collections of poetry, most recently the Pulitzer Prize-winning "Delights & Shadows." His prose book, "Local Wonders: Seasons in the Bohemian Alps," won numerous awards, including the Barnes and Noble Discover Award for nonfiction finalist, and is available in a Bison Books edition.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
Before we get to the specifics or writing and revision, let me say a few things about the job you're taking on. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars DELECTABLE 25 Mar 2008
Format:Hardcover
The author introduces his book saying it contains "my favorite tools for tuning up the poems you write". From discussing the poet's "job description" to the necessity of writing clear understandable poetry, from how poets should serve the poems they write to the necessity of having an imaginary reader in mind, from the importance of titles and opening lines, to cutting out unnecessary words, from ryhme to writing about feelings, writing from memory, how best to use anecdote, fine tuning similes and metaphors, and to a most inspiring chapter dedicated to "detail", this book guides readers to writing (and reading) poetry with greater sensitivity.

Among the many tools for fine tuning, the author sheds light on the connection between the specific choices a poet makes and their outcome, revealing ways in which a poet could manipulate such choices more consciously to achieve the desired results.

Throughout the book, the author quotes numerous poems to demonstrate his meaning, many of which are striking, some unforgettable. While some of the examples are from his poetry, he draws heavily on the work of other contemporary poets, enlarging the scope of the book to include many other voices and visions than his own.

Although deep insight permeates its every line, the book is written in clear and accessible language and a delightful sense of humour. The author possesses the gift of instructing with a light touch, revealing a great deal of information, while staying out of the way, a feat that requires a delicate and artful balancing act that is the mark of a true guide.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The ignition switch 7 Sep 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Spent some years trawling through reviews and buying many books on writing poetry.
How do you choose a book which is of genuine use?
I've learnt one thing: Only buy ones written by good practicing poets!
And Ted Kooser is definitely one of them.
I would liken the majority I've read to a car engine manual.
They talk in detail about all the technical aspects but only Kooser tells you where the ignition switch is!
And what's more, he shows you how to turn the ignition-switch on!
His wise words kindle the spark which initiates genuine poetry.
Buy two copies - your first will be annotated and dog-eared in no time at all!
Life is too short to read irrelevant rubbish.
Read Ted Kooser, read his poetry, and start writing - you won't be disappointed, and you won't disappoint your future readers!
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5.0 out of 5 stars compact and relevant 8 Jan 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Neither this book nor any other will turn the reader into a poet, but it is a useful manual for someone who has started to try that form of writing. It has twelve chapters, the first nine of which deal with approaches and techniques, not in any prescriptive sense - there is no recipe - but there is plenty of food for thought. Having pointed out that you are unlikely to make a living from poetry, Kooser looks at approaches to the reader, communicaton of ideas, various poetic forms, rythm, feelings and restraint, use of memory and various pitfalls. He quotes interesting examples for discussion, occasionally of the sentimental American rural style which doesn't appeal to me, but there were interesting poems unknown to me which I noted.

Later chapters of the book are about specific forms - use of nouns, verbs, line endings, tense, metaphor and simile and selection of appropriate words. Finally there is advice about letting work mature (relax and wait), joining groups of writers and a little advice on publishing. References and notes are given at the end for the sources used

The book has 157 pages and doesn't give all the answers - how could any ? - but should initiate thought to continue in the individual reader's experience. In that context I give it 5 stars.
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