How to Read a Poem: And Start a Poetry Circle

How to Read a Poem: And Start a Poetry Circle

by Molly Peacock
     
 

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Molly Peacock has already brought poetry into people's lives with her sold-out lectures, NPR appearances, and the creation of the "Poetry in Motion" program in the subway systems of major cities. Now she offers a book that strips away poetry's scary mystique, introducing readers to its pleasures and inspiring them to form their own poetry circles with friends. Poetry… See more details below

Overview

Molly Peacock has already brought poetry into people's lives with her sold-out lectures, NPR appearances, and the creation of the "Poetry in Motion" program in the subway systems of major cities. Now she offers a book that strips away poetry's scary mystique, introducing readers to its pleasures and inspiring them to form their own poetry circles with friends. Poetry is an invitation into new worlds both interior and exterior-and with this delightful volume, Molly Peacock shows us how to accept that invitation.
Includes poems by Jane Kenyon, Gerard Manley Hopkins, May Swenson, Michael Ondaatje, Margaret Atwood, and others>
Includes a chapter on how to organize a poetry reading group.

Editorial Reviews

Baltimore Sun
A very enthusiastic and plain-spoken book that celebrates the author's lifelong love affair with poetry.
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Simple, straightforward help that gives the fearful a five-minutes-a-day introduction to poetry, the intermediate reader the inspiration to 'fall in love' with poetry, and the courageous a guide to starting a poetry circle with friends.
KLIATT
Peacock is an established poet, teacher of poetry and participant/consultant for poetry circles. Here, she gives us what she calls "talismans," those poems that bring her, upon repeated readings, comfort, joy and a renewed sense of self. In chapters devoted to these individual poems, she guides the reader to an understanding, not solely an intellectual analysis, that speaks to how the poem "listens" to us, i.e., reflects in precise, shining language our own experience. Sharing these poems or others in these circles, says Peacock, enriches the reading and builds on each person's interpretation and emotional response. One of these "talismans" is Jane Kenyon's "Let Evening Come." For Peacock, the repetition of the title allows for a slowing down in breathing so that the poem becomes a kind of chant or prayer, allowing the reader to remember: "God does not leave us/comfortless/so let evening come." Peacock, in her description of Kenyon, describes a visit to Kenyon's home and how the poet was a living embodiment of her work, quiet and wise. She adds interesting facts about the other poets that make the book more inviting. Other poems include the medieval lament, "Wulf and Eadwacer," Gerard Manley Hopkins' melancholic piece, "No Worst, There is None," and work by more contemporary women poets May Swenson and Elizabeth Bishop. She includes her own poem, "The Fare," a funny yet poignant tribute to her mother. The next-to-last chapter describes how to start a poetry circle, its main purpose being to read and talk about poetry. Peacock has three rules: "Start small; share the responsibility; and limit the frequency." She recommends people contact the National Network of Poetry Circles,which provides a start-up packet for monthly circles. She also describes various forms these circles might take. The final chapter lists recommended poems. Although this book covers some of the same ground as Hirsch's How to Read a Poem, it is not as detailed but it is more practical. Peacock's approach and interpretations seem more geared to women. I found the idea of a poetry circle a bit contrived, maybe following on the coattails of the book group movement. But for those intimidated by poetry, this can be the manual that gets them started. KLIATT Codes: SA—Recommended for senior high school students, advanced students, and adults. 1999, Penguin Putnam/Riverhead, 209p, 21cm, 98-55132, $12.95. Ages 16 to adult. Reviewer: Sue E. Budin; YA Libn., Ann Arbor P.L., Ann Arbor, MI, September 2000 (Vol. 34 No. 5)

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781573227858
Publisher:
Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
03/01/2000
Pages:
224
Product dimensions:
5.24(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.60(d)

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