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38 of 38 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must-have!
First, the good news! - This book is an absolute must-have. It's well-written, clear, entertaining, educated, and manages to avoid being patronising while still managing to be both satisfyingly clever and thankfully simple.

Anybody wanting to own a concise volume of poetic forms and techniques would do well to invest in this book. It covers the basics of some...
Published on 14 Feb. 2009 by Mr. M. Bloomfield

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2 of 11 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Very poor service
I can only say do not use this seller if you want to received your items. They are based in Essex but took 6 weeks to send me this book which they advertised on Amazon as being in stock. Dealing with this seller has been my worst experience on Amazon.
The book itself is not well printed and is in tiny text so any normal person will have difficulty reading it...
Published on 6 Feb. 2013 by Mr. Dermot D. J. Weir


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38 of 38 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must-have!, 14 Feb. 2009
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This review is from: The Making of a Poem: A Norton Anthology of Poetic Forms (Paperback)
First, the good news! - This book is an absolute must-have. It's well-written, clear, entertaining, educated, and manages to avoid being patronising while still managing to be both satisfyingly clever and thankfully simple.

Anybody wanting to own a concise volume of poetic forms and techniques would do well to invest in this book. It covers the basics of some of the more interesting poetic forms and does it in a way that's easy to understand. Example (from page 5):-

THE VILLANELLE AT A GLANCE:

1) It is a poem of nineteen lines.
2) It has five stanzas, each of three lines, with a final one of four lines.
3) The first line of the first stanza is repeated as the last line of the second and fourth stanzas.
4) ...etc etc

It then goes on to give the history of the form, its place in the modern context, and finally a close-up of one of the leading exponents. In between all this brilliantness it regales the reader with cracking examples of some of the classics of the genre (staying with the Villanelle, it gives us Downson's "Villanelle of His Lady's Treasures", Dylan Thomas's breathtaking "Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night", and Wendy Cope's "Reading Scheme", among others). An absolute treasure-trove!

The forms it covers are:
The villanelle;
The sestina;
The pantoum;
The sonnet;
The ballad;
Blank verse;
The heroic couplet; and
The stanza.

It also spends time on the elegy, the pastoral and the ode. During all this the authors still manage to find the time somehow to open the readers' eyes and introduce me, at least, to some true literary gems I'd never seen, such as Anthony Hecht's "The Book of Yolek", Miller Williams' "The Shrinking Lonesome Sestina" and (I'm almost ashamed I didn't know these) Edna St. Vincent Millay's "What Lips My Lips Have Kissed, and Where, and Why".

As a surprisingly powerful extra, the authors add their own personal stories to their journeys in poetry to bring these possibly abstract structures to life.

But there is some (slightly) bad news. After the first few chapters, the authors either lose the motivation or the scope to closely analyse the poetic forms: we're treated to logical breakdowns of the villanelle, the sestina and the sonnet, for instance, but rather less in the way of the same by the time we get to the stanza. This may be because the stanza is not so rigorously constructed as the villanelle, but this in itself brings me to the next 'criticism'...

Thorough and far-reaching as this book is, it's by no means exhaustive, which makes the difficulties of rigorously analysing a stanza to the same degree as the villanelle all the more glaring. Why not, after all, stick with those forms that can be so analysed, such as the haiku, the acrostic or the dansa?

But this isn't so much the book's problem, more perhaps its genius - it simply leaves me wanting more, and frustrated that the chapters don't go on forever. Perhaps there will some day be a Part Two?...

This is a wonderful book. Learned, entertaining, and packed with both insight and argument, all crammed in between some of the greatest poems of the English language. To be thoroughly recommended!
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66 of 68 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderfully Written, 31 May 2003
This book has enchanced my appreciation for Poetry. It is both precise and detailed and never really boring, all the information is relevant and none of it seems out of place or confusing.
Apart from the wonderful writing it is divided into well chosen sections that follow the questions that one would ask. An introduction followed by section 1. Verse Form, II. Meter, III. Shaping Forms and IV.Open Forms. For each of these there are ample examples (types of Poems such as Senstina, Villanelle, Pantoum, Heroic Couplet, Elegy, Ode, etc.). Eor each of those examples there is and overview and history text which allows the reader to become more familar and envolved with the poems and helps to better the understanding and the poet's intentions.
The first line of the book's Introductory Statement says it all really: "This book looks squarely at some of the headaches and mysteries of poetic form."
A must have for all Poetry fans and Language teachers/professors of simply lovers of language.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Essential for the aspiring poet, 15 Nov. 2010
This review is from: The Making of a Poem: A Norton Anthology of Poetic Forms (Paperback)
We who wish to write poetry, once we have got over an adolescent tendency to write formless and undisciplined lines, will want to start using the tools that make poetry a craft and give it its proper vigour.

This book explains the traditional forms and then gives many examples from the best poets. I have found it an essential help in my own efforts.

I shall not tax your patience by repeating the excellent comments of the reviewers who have preceded me. I would add, though, that those who want more on forms and technicalities entertainingly presented will enjoy 'The Ode Less Travelled' by Stephen Fry. The Ode Less Travelled: Unlocking the Poet Within
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Making of a Poem (A Norton Anthology of Poetic Forms.), 20 April 2012
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This review is from: The Making of a Poem: A Norton Anthology of Poetic Forms (Paperback)
In the introductory statement the writers say this book is intended to answer those basic questions such as how does a sonnet work, what is a Sestina & what rules govern it, how many lines make up a Villanelle & what is it's rhyme scheme? To do this they have traced the history of the various forms, in many cases back to the peasant origins and work songs of the countryside or the Balladeers who sung stories, spun the tales & spread the news through their communities and out to a wider audience. By answering these questions, by providing an overview of the major poetic forms, their history and the rules that they follow, bend or break, they hope to provide the reader with a key that will open the path to what will be a lifelong journey, with this book as a guide and map.

After the introduction, both editors state their case for poetry via their own personal experience, first as readers, discovering the art and on to the status they later achieved as poets in their own right, it's this experience, insight and passion that stops this book being a dry academic exercise and makes it a suitable aid at what ever level you want to use it for, whether a university student or just someone wishing to understand more.

What's wonderful about this book is the amount of poetry within the pages, easily outnumbering the pages of text, example after example used to demonstrate form and just there to be read. This isn't just a text book, it's an anthology of poetry with writers such as Mathew Arnold, Elizabeth Bishop, Louise Gluck, Dylan Thomas, W.B. Yeats, Charles Simic, Sylvia Plath, W.S. Mervin and Gwendolyn Brooks, plus hundreds of others, it also ends with a fantastic series of biographies on the featured writers & a suggested reading list, making this a book that any lover of poetry, or even someone getting into poetry for the first time, will find a useful addition to their bookshelf, either as a reference tool or as a collection of poetry to be dived into when the mood takes.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great start, 18 Feb. 2013
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This review is from: The Making of a Poem: A Norton Anthology of Poetic Forms (Paperback)
I asked one of my University lecturers what he thought of this text and after a prolonged perusal he declared it an excellent starting point for anyone who was interested in poetry.
I like it because it explains the terminology clearly and walks you through the initial stages of creating a poem. It doesn't do it for you but it shows you the way.
Buy this and take your first steps . . .
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I recommend :-), 5 April 2010
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C. Lamb (Edinburgh) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Making of a Poem: A Norton Anthology of Poetic Forms (Paperback)
I agree with an earlier review. Do not feel this book is simply an academic text in learning how to describe and recognise poetic forms.

Although it is excellent at describing and listing these forms it is clearly written by people who love poetry.

It is good at giving historical and biographial glimpses and also inspires by including some beautiful poems. I enjoyed it and fairly devoured it!
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A rhyme ending every line, that's poetry... or is it?, 6 May 2009
This review is from: The Making of a Poem: A Norton Anthology of Poetic Forms (Paperback)
This book is an academic treatment of poetry but don't be put off by this as it is also an enjoyable read for just lovers of poetry. The authors take you through the different poetic forms with copious examples of each form as well as biographical notes of the poets.
I recommend this book to every serious student of poetry as well as to those who enjoy poetry without bothering too much about its formal structure.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 15 Jan. 2015
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This review is from: The Making of a Poem: A Norton Anthology of Poetic Forms (Paperback)
this was a gift for someone who wants to write poetry
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not for the faint hearted, 24 Aug. 2012
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This review is from: The Making of a Poem: A Norton Anthology of Poetic Forms (Paperback)
This is a serious look - even a very serious book - at poetry - a great text book for both tutor, teacher and scholar. Not really for the beginner poet. I found it a great help in defining the different types of poetry but it was, and still is, tough going but a great reference book.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazingly rapid delivery from USA, 27 Aug. 2013
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This review is from: The Making of a Poem: A Norton Anthology of Poetic Forms (Paperback)
The book is in perfect condition. The chapters are clearly listed in the contents section and can be read in any order according to need. There is an extremely thoroughly researched and apposite selection of poetry in each section.
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The Making of a Poem: A Norton Anthology of Poetic Forms
The Making of a Poem: A Norton Anthology of Poetic Forms by Mark Strand (Paperback - 22 Aug. 2001)
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