Thursday, November 30, 2006

The Ode Less Travelled: Unlocking the Poet Within by Stephen Fry

"For me the private act of writing poetry is songwriting, confessional, diary-keeping, speculation, problem-solving, storytelling, therapy, anger management, craftsmanship, relaxation, concentration and spiritual adventure all in one inexpensive package."

Stephen Fry expects a lot of poetry. In his book The Ode Less Travelled, he defines the form rather broadly, but then he begins to nail it down to rules of meter, rhyme, and form. Readers who expect a book by Fry to be comic will be surprised, as The Ode Less Travelled is a serious textbook for poetry writing. He does show his dry wit in the text and illustrative examples, but the reader will not fall on the floor laughing.

Fry's strength is in his examples of verse. He explains rules and then lists many clear examples. Teachers can benefit by drawing from his work for their lectures.

Librarians should expect this book to be renewed several times by each reader, as its lessons are lengthy and hard to skip over.

Fry, Stephen. The Ode Less Travelled: Unlocking the Poet Within. New York: Gotham Books, 2005. ISBN 1592402488

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