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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This opened my eyes to poetry, 17 Aug. 2011
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This review is from: An Introduction to English Poetry (Kindle Edition)
I arrived at this book by coincidence; after reading a series of books on grammar and the construction of prose combined with the bibliography from Hitch 22 I was inspired to learn more about Poetry, and James Fenton seemed best qualified to make that introduction.

Previously I had seen poetry as a fairly self-indulgent and pretentious pursuit, but during the course of this book I came to appreciate how technical constraints provide a framework for expressing ideas. The chapters are able to break down what poetry is, James Fenton defines the concepts and rules of the form in an interesting and none-patronising way. It also avoids the aspects that may deter many readers, namely: what the subjects of poetry should be (this is left entirely to the reader). The examples are chosen for their illustrative merit (e.g. demonstrating Iambic Pentameter) and do not try to to do the job of an anthology.

I enjoy instructional books that cover basic principals, leaving the reader to practice and study how to use them. An Introduction to English Poetry will likely be read and reread by those who wish to appreciate and/or write poetry.
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Showing 1-1 of 1 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 17 Dec 2011 16:48:23 GMT
T. Costick says:
Like the reviewer, I arrived at this book via a link with Christopher Hitchens. I watched the celebration of Hitchens' life hosted by Stephen Fry and saw James Fenton read one of his own poems. I was captivated by it.

I write this the day after Hitchens' death, and have been reading the many articles online penned by his friends. One by Ian McEwan goes into poignant detail and includes lines from another of Fenton's poems, A German Requiem: "How comforting it is, once or twice a year,/To get together and forget the old times."

Of the countless good things that have and will come from Hitchens' life, one is my own interest in poetry.

As McEwan said in closing, he [Hitchens] burned "with this hard gem-like flame". Right to the end.
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