Criticism Theory

A Grain of Poetry: How to Read Contemporary Poems and Make by Herbert R. Kohl

By Herbert R. Kohl

Poetry has the facility to maneuver and problem the reader. it may possibly accentuate or perhaps have a good time distress, be cynical or wry, or simply snort outright in an outrageous method. Poetry is as critical and antic as lifestyles, and but examining glossy poetry could be surprising to our experience of what language is or needs to be.In A Grain of Poetry, Herbert Kohl provides a sequence of guideposts to assist everybody learn poetry and detect these poems that tell and encourage them. In transparent, direct language, he covers the entire essential-but usually unchartedpaths to knowing poetry: shape and constitution, line breaks and pauses, rhythm and melody, imagery, and recitation. Written by means of one of many country's best educators, A Grain of Poetry is a complete and obtainable advisor for all poets, scholars, and poetry fanatics.

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Extra resources for A Grain of Poetry: How to Read Contemporary Poems and Make Them A Part of Your Life

Sample text

But I have found that in introducing new readers to contemporary poetry it is more helpful to focus on what could be called the central images in a poem. This helps develop the habit of reading poems rather than analyzing them. I don't want to marginalize the importance of analyzing the structure and nature of poems nor the complex criti­ cal task of sorting out poetic genres, judging excellence, and uncover­ ing trends and techniques. But what I do hope this book and this way of looking at poems can do is develop the habit of reading first and not having analysis get in the way of the development of a taste for poetry.

Fact is, the invention of women under siege has been to sharpen love in the service of myth. If you can't be free, be a mystery. " The image of the caged bird does not prepare the reader for the particular nature or language of the poem, or for the way in which the poet relates to her subject. But I find that it helps frame the whole, and that while reading the poem I keep an image of the bird and its song and of Billie Holiday and her voice playing back and forth in my imagination, giving the poem a sound and density that make it memorable.

We have mingling traditions-units deter­ mined by number of stresses as in Anglo-Saxon verse and units determined by number of syllables.... the most common practice is to mingle the two, creating ac€ e ntual-syllabic verse in which the units are met­ rical feet. of course, a variety of principles ... can be used with good effect. The three versions of Mary I gave at the beginning, though written in par­ ody, can be used to illustrate techniques which can actually be quite useful. Notice first of all how important the line divisions are.

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