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Poetry For Dummies

Poetry For Dummies

Sometimes it seems like there are as many definitions of poetry as there are poems. Coleridge defined poetry as “the best words in the best order.” St. Augustine called it “the Devil’s wine.” For Shelley, poetry was “the record of the best and happiest moments of the happiest and best minds.” But no matter how you define it, poetry has exercised a hold upon the hearts and minds of people for more than five millennia. That’s because for the attentive reader, poetry has the power to send chills shooting down the spine and lightning bolts flashing in the brain — to throw open the doors of perception and hone our sensibilities to a scalpel’s edge.


Part I: Reading and Understanding Poetry

Chapter 1: Poetry 101

Chapter 2: Subject, Tone, and Narrative

Chapter 3: Tuning In to Language

Chapter 4: The Art of Interpretation

Chapter 5: Connecting with Poems from the Past

Part II: In the Beginning Was a Poem

Chapter 6: An Intelligent Hustle through Poetic History: From the Earliest Poetry to the 1700s

Chapter 7: An Intelligent Hustle through Poetic History: The 19th Century to the Present

Part III: Writing Poetry: A Guide for Aspiring Poets

Chapter 8: Calling the Muse

Chapter 9: Writing Open-Form Poetry

Chapter 10: Working with Traditional Forms of Verse

Chapter 11: Putting Pen to Paper: Writing Exercises for Poets

Chapter 12: Going Public with Your Poetry

Chapter 13: Getting Published

Part IV: The Part of Tens

Chapter 14: Ten Myths about Poets and Poetry

Chapter 15: Ten Poems Worth Memorizing

Chapter 16: Ten Love Poems

Part V: Appendixes

Appendix A: Glossary

Appendix B: Poetry Timeline

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