I just started reading the book, “The Poetry Home Repair Manual : Practical Advice For Beginning Poets” by Ted Kooser, the U.S. Poet Laureate from 2004-2006.
I’m only on Chapter 1 “The Poet’s Job Description” and am ready to give my whole-hearted recommendation for this book.
Here’s a chapter excerpt that captures the importance of reading poetry:
We teach ourselves to write the kinds of poems we like to read. The more poems you read, and the more models you learn from and imitate, the better your writing will get. After you have read lots of poetry and written lots of poetry, your own work will become more accomplished and more your own, such a rich porridge of everything you’ve read and experimented with that most readers won’t be able to separate the ingredients. To that, you add your personality, character, and experience and, presto, you’ve got your own way of writing, your style, a uniqueness born of hands-on work with reading and writing.
It’s paragraphs like this that are making this book such an interesting read. Mr. Kooser is known for poetry that connects with people and, so far, his writing has the same effect.
As I mentioned in my audio-blog a few days ago, I plan on interviewing Ted Kooser about this book and the lessons that I’m learning throughout it. I think I’ll shoot for a mid-August date, so why don’t you join me in reading it and come up with some questions of your own?
*UPDATE* Listen to my interview with Ted Kooser on Cloudy Day Art #81!