Discovery of Poetry: A Field Guide to Reading and Writing Poems

by Frances Mayes

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt | November 9, 2001 | Trade Paperback |

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The bestselling author of Under the Tuscan Sun brings poetry
out of the classroom and into the homes of everyday readers.

Before she fell in love with Tuscany, Frances Mayes fell in love with verse. After publishing five books of poetry and teaching creative writing for more than twenty-five years, Mayes is no stranger to the subject. In The Discovery of Poetry, an accessible "field guide" to reading and writing poetry, she shares her passion with readers. Beginning with basic terminology and techniques, from texture and sound to rhyme and repetition, Mayes shows how focusing on one aspect of a poem can help you to better understand, appreciate, and enjoy the reading and writing experience. In addition to many creative and helpful composition ideas, following each lyrical and lively discussion is a thoughtful selection of poems. With its wonderful anthology from Shakespeare to Jamaica Kinkaid, The Discovery of Poetry is an insightful, invaluable guide to what Mayes calls "the natural pleasures of language-a happiness we were born to have."

Format: Trade Paperback

Published: November 9, 2001

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0156007622

ISBN - 13: 9780156007627

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– More About This Product –

Discovery of Poetry: A Field Guide to Reading and Writing Poems

by Frances Mayes

Format: Trade Paperback

Published: November 9, 2001

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0156007622

ISBN - 13: 9780156007627

Read from the Book

Sources and Approaches If I feel physically as if the top of my head were taken off, I know that is poetry. -emily dickinson The Origin of a Poem What motivates a poet to write? When Emily Dickinson said about her art, "My business is circumference," she was talking about her desire to explore experience by drawing it into a circle of her own, a world. Similarly, Wallace Stevens wanted each poem to give "a sense of the world." D. H. Lawrence thought the essence of good poetry was "stark directness." Telling or uncovering truth is the prime motive of poets like Muriel Rukeyser, who once asked, "What would happen if one woman told the truth about her life? / The world would split open." William Wordsworth valued "the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings." When William Carlos Williams called a poem "a machine made of words," he simply meant to say that the best-formed poems function smoothly, with oiled and well-fitted parts, not far from Samuel Taylor Coleridge''s ideal, "The best words in the best order." Many poets aspire to reach "the condition of music"-some aim for the heavenly music of the spheres, while others want the words to "boogie." William Butler Yeats thought, "We make out of the quarrel with others, rhetoric, but of the quarrel with ourselves, poetry." His writing emerged from the internal fault line between conflicting thoughts and emotions. Yeats''s desire to understand his human condition echoes Walt Whitman, who wanted the reader to "stand by my side and
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Table of Contents

Contents Invitation 1. Sources and Approaches The Origin of a Poem The Art of Reading Poems 2. Words: Texture and Sound Texture of Language Choosing Words The Muscle of Language Sound Patterns The Surprise of Language The Kinship of Words Poems 3. Images: The Perceptual Field Three Image Poems Images and Perception Literal Images Poems Figurative Images Symbols Poems 4. The Speaker: The Eye of the Poem The Invented "I" The Personal "I" Speaker The Public Voice The Invisible Speaker Poems 5. Rhyme and Repetition Rhyme Poems Repetition Poems 6. Meter: The Measured Flow What Is Meter? Scansion Iambic Pentameter More Key Meters Two Other Metrical Options Rhythm and Meaning Poems 7. Free Verse The Genesis of Free Verse The Free Verse Craft of the Line Voice Free Verse, the Tradition and Beyond Poems 8. Traditional and Open Forms Looking at Forms Traditional Forms Poems Open Forms Prose Poems Open Forms Poems 9. Subject and Style Types of Poems Style Poems on Four Subjects Poems 10. Interpretation: The Wide Response What Is Meaning? Gaps and Holes Power Sources Critical Discriminations Poems 11. A Poet''s Handbook Invoking Your Muse Beginning with a White Page Suggestions for Writing and Revising Exercises Your Poems out the Door Index of Titles Index of Authors and Titles Index of Terms and Topics

From the Publisher

The bestselling author of Under the Tuscan Sun brings poetry
out of the classroom and into the homes of everyday readers.

Before she fell in love with Tuscany, Frances Mayes fell in love with verse. After publishing five books of poetry and teaching creative writing for more than twenty-five years, Mayes is no stranger to the subject. In The Discovery of Poetry, an accessible "field guide" to reading and writing poetry, she shares her passion with readers. Beginning with basic terminology and techniques, from texture and sound to rhyme and repetition, Mayes shows how focusing on one aspect of a poem can help you to better understand, appreciate, and enjoy the reading and writing experience. In addition to many creative and helpful composition ideas, following each lyrical and lively discussion is a thoughtful selection of poems. With its wonderful anthology from Shakespeare to Jamaica Kinkaid, The Discovery of Poetry is an insightful, invaluable guide to what Mayes calls "the natural pleasures of language-a happiness we were born to have."

About the Author

Frances Mayes is the author of the best-selling Under the Tucsan Sun and Bella Tuscany. She and her husband divide their time between their homes in San Rafael, California, and Cortona, Italy.

Editorial Reviews

PRAISE FOR UNDER THE TUSCAN SUN AND BELLA TUSCANY
Mayes displays a gift for conveying everyday life through her writing. . . . [She] presents a simpler, less frantic version of how to live one''s life."
-USA Today
Frances Mayes is, before all else, a wonderful writer."-Chicago Tribune
Somehow, this is a narrative at once joyful and full of common sense,
a balance that few other writers have struck so perfectly. It''s as intimate as
a lover''s whisper, honest and true, and vividly captures a sense of place."
-San Francisco Chronicle

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