In the Palm of Your Hand: The Poet's Portable Workshop




Author: Steve Kowit
Type: eBook
Date Released: 2003
Format: pdf
Language: English
Page Count: 288
Isbn10 Code: 0884481492
Isbn13 Code: 9780884481492


Amazon.com Review Steve Kowit believes, and rightly so, that poetry should show, not tell. The same could be said for good teaching, which is what makes this volume so remarkable. In In the Palm of Your Hand Kowit employs more than 100 poems and excerpts to illustrate his discussions on everything from metaphor to meter to metaphysics. Working your way through this book--and it is work--is like sitting in on a terrific creative-writing seminar, minus the criticism (both constructive and destructive) of fellow students. If you go by the book, you'll have written at least 69 poems by the end. Because of its explication of the basic tenets of poetry, In the Palm of Your Hand might be mistaken for a beginners' book only. That would be a shame. There are so many good ideas here that more experienced poets won't want to miss out; Kowit has lots of exciting ways to invigorate one's writing. (Here's a favorite quick tip: "A good rule of thumb is never to use a word that you're proud of.") In the Palm of Your Hand is also recommended for members of writing groups who are interested in imposing some kind of structure on their meetings. From Kowit really delivers what his title promises, so that reading the book is like taking a workshop with a generous poet willing to share everything he has learned about the creative process and the craft of poetry. Conversational in tone, it reads rather like an informal lecture. Kowit covers a lot of technical material on metrical variations and line breaks and sound, and he balances it by attending to the sources of poetry in dream and emotion, in longing and loss. Although likely to find its largest audience among aspiring poets, Kowit's effort is substantial enough to be of use to more practiced poets and to poetry readers, too. Patricia Monaghan

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