The Bluffer's Guide to Poetry is part of a reissue and revamping of a series that came out several years ago, in which you are given top tips to guide you through any dinner party conversations you might ever have on the subject in hand. In this case, poetry. The new format is neat, pocket sized text with bite sized chunks of information that you can read either all in one go, or dip in and out of as you please. Memorising some of the points will indeed give you brownie points on your chosen subject I am sure.
There are a few issues here though. Firstly, how many of us are ever required to bluff about poetry these days? I imagine Mariella Frostrup at the Hay Festival possibly. Us mere mortals, never. I am a poetry enthusiast myself, and if I want to talk about poetry to someone in real life I generally can't find anyone willing or able to give me the time of day. Thank the lord for the internet and geeky, literary chat rooms.
This book then, really isn't a bluffer's guide. It can't be. And you see that, not only because there are barely any reasons to need to be able to bluff poetry knowledge these days, but also because the work within the covers is so erudite, and actually pre supposes that you, the reader, already know a fair amount about poetry, that it really is more of a self congratulatory, humorous pat on the back, and more of an invitation to get the literary jokes that you've probably been dying either to laugh at or share with someone all this time.
The book is clever. The book is entertaining. The book is well written, and the author clearly knows their stuff, but I wonder what it is really for, except perhaps as a stocking stuffer for the poetry enthusiast who has everything.
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