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The Bluffer's Guide to Poetry (Bluffer's Guides) Paperback – 1 May 2013

4.2 out of 5 stars 13 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 128 pages
  • Publisher: Bluffer's; Revised edition (1 May 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 190936536X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1909365360
  • Product Dimensions: 11 x 1 x 16 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 517,297 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

An irreverent, irresistible shortcut to becoming well-versed. --Laura Barber, Editor of Penguin s Poems for Life

About the Author

Born in Newcastle upon Tyne in 1954, Keith Hann grew up in a household devoted to the music of the two Maxes, Jaffa and Bygraves, but luckily introduced himself to opera shortly before leaving school. Over the last 40 years he has watched the curtain rise on more than 1,000 operatic performances, and waited until it fell on 997 of them. In order to fund this addiction, he has been variously employed as an unsuccessful stockbroker and an incompetent but occasionally entertaining public relations consultant. Decades of skilful bluffing brought him to the brinks of retirement without any lasting romantic entanglements, until a momentary lapse of concentration one evening at Covent Garden led to his marriage at the age of 54, and the subsequent arrival of two children. Keith currently devotes most of his time to not writing a novel and staring forlornly at his bank statements. In consequence, he values his now strictly rationed excursions to opera houses more than ever.


Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is a lively and knowing introduction to poetry that is funnier the better acquainted you are with both English poetry and the sometimes pretentious way in which it is discussed and written about. Along the way, we are treated to some prime bons mots as well as quite a lot of real poetry.

There are a few errors of accuracy which I wanted to correct (Philip Sidney’s Arcadia and Apologie for Poetry are both prose, not poetic, works – and the Apologie is the same as the Defence of Poesy, just a ‘pirated’ edition) but these are few and far between.

I especially enjoyed the scathing hints on how to wriggle out from having a poet actually read you his/her poetry (I work in a department with a large creative writing programme so these tips are gratefully received!).

So, in summary, this would serve well as a tongue-in-cheek introduction for undergraduates faced with one of the many first year poetry modules – or any general reader who enjoys a romp through the landscape of English verse.
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Format: Paperback
Bluffing about your knowledge and pretending to be an expert on any subject can be very difficult and risky, and the Bluffer's Guides series has some nice useful little books to help you. This poetry guide is concise, light and fun to read, and it has any poetry related information a bluffer might need. The book includes sections on understanding poetry basics, how to behave in order to be a successful bluffer, and information on different periods and styles of poetry, with brief references to specific poets and their work.

The book is informative and although it is supposed to be a bluffing tool, the reader inevitably also learns some basic facts about English poetry, though don't expect any advanced knowledge. It is definitely a light and humours read, and although I did find some of the humour entertaining, the author seems to be a bit condescending and sarcastic towards poets and poetry lovers. Also, for some reason this guide is aimed mostly at men.

The big question I suppose is whether this little guide can actually help someone to bluff about his knowledge and pretend to be a poetry expert. I am tempted to say yes, but that depends on who the bluffer wishes to impress. You can indeed use this invaluable tool to convince your girlfriend that you are the romantic intellectual type, gain the admiration of your co-workers for your poetry expertise, or make the ladies of your book club think that your living room is a literary salon. However, I doubt this will be much help if you find yourself amongst poets or even worst, true poetry experts. Poets, literary critics and scholars tend to socialize in very exclusives groups and an outsider is hardly ever invited in, if however you do somehow manage to enter the sanctuary, you will need much more than this nice guide to do any successful bluffing.

I was given a free copy by the publisher, but that did not influence my opinion in any way.
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By Sid Nuncius #1 HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWER on 25 July 2013
Format: Paperback
I thought this was terrific. I had the good fortune to be sent a few of these Bluffer's Guides for review by the publisher: they are pocket-sized and only around 100 pages long and I have found them all amusing, informative and very enjoyable. This is one of the best. The Guides are, in fact, a bluff in themselves because although they purport to be a handbook for those who simply want to bluff their way, they use this as a cover for providing lots of very sound fact, written by people who really know and love their subject while being very witty about it and often scathing about the pretence which surrounds it.

This slim volume gives a really good basic guide to English poetry, and also to Scots, Welsh, American and Australian poets writing in English. The authors manage to be extremely witty and often laugh-out-loud funny about bad poetry and about the posing of many poets and "experts" while being interesting, respectful and insightful about some of the best poetry. To give a couple of examples of the style, they say that Fitzgerald begins his Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam with, "'Awake!...' as though the audience, or possibly the reader, is already asleep. (If you think it's impossible to read poetry and be asleep at the same time, you've either never taught English Literature, or you've been very lucky, or you've never read anything from the eighteenth century.)" A view with which I have a good deal of sympathy. Or, " Most of Byron's poetry is described by experts as 'Byronic', which shows how easy it is to be a poetry expert." On the other hand, they write of Byron himself, and others like Keats and Wilfred Owen with great respect (while still being very readable).
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Well, the title 'The Bluffer's Guide' is more of billboard getting you to buy rather than actually describing the contents. It is a tongue-in-cheek survey of (mainly) English poetry, and generally accurate. You'll need more than this if you are really going to bluff your way around this topic, and quite a bit of foreknowledge is required to get all the jokes. In fact, you'll really need already to be a poetry buff, rather than a would-be bluffer. Nevertheless, a thoroughly entertaining account, well worth a read.
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