Summer Reading – The Poetry Home Repair Manual

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!

Will Brown

Will Brown is a poet, blogger, and a scanner of all things new. He also currently blogs at Help Desk Helps where he discusses tips and issues affecting the help desk professional.

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  1. That book sounds fascinating and helpful! I shall defiantly purchase a copy off of Amazon. Speaking of poetry books, may a plug an excellent book of poetry by Indian poet Daljit Nagra. His debut book: Look We Have Coming To Dover is a really interesting book which looks at Sikhs coming from ultra- Indian cultured Punjab to one of the world’s biggest ‘melting pots’: Britain.

  2. Thanks for the recommendation, Julian.
    That sounds like an interesting book as well. I’ll add it to my future reading list.

  3. My copy of ‘the poetry home repair manual’ came today! and i’ve annotated every page, what a great book!! it’s my bible.

  4. Awesome, Julian!
    I’m glad that you’re finding it useful.
    I am really enjoying the read, too (I haven’t been able to read through it as quickly as I’d hoped).

    This is the first time I’ve read a book on poetry writing and I’m surprised on how insightful it has been.

  5. Sounds an excellent book to own.

  6. It is in my bookbag and will be one of my next reads. I have long been a fan of Kooser. He writes with such simplicity and beauty.

  7. Jackal, it is an excellent book to own.
    Joey, I’m glad that you have it. That’s one of the reasons that I like him.

    I think you both will enjoy my interview with him that will be out in a couple of weeks.

    Thanks for the comments!


  1. […] features an audio interview with Ted Kooser, U.S. Poet Laureate from 2004-2006, and author of the previously reviewed book “The Poetry Home Repair Manual : Practical Advice for Beginning […]

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