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Ordinary Genius: A Guide for the Poet Within

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Overview

In this fresh approach to writing poetry, the coauthor of the perennially popular The Poet's Companion offers sharp insights into the craft of writing.
"The creative process is just that," maintains Kim Addonizio. "Not a means to an end, but an ongoing participation." A widely acclaimed poet and finalist for the National Book Award, Addonizio meditates on her own process as she encourages writers to explore both their personal and political worlds, to seek inspiration from poets...

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Ordinary Genius: A Guide for the Poet Within

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Overview

In this fresh approach to writing poetry, the coauthor of the perennially popular The Poet's Companion offers sharp insights into the craft of writing.
"The creative process is just that," maintains Kim Addonizio. "Not a means to an end, but an ongoing participation." A widely acclaimed poet and finalist for the National Book Award, Addonizio meditates on her own process as she encourages writers to explore both their personal and political worlds, to seek inspiration from poets new and old, and to discover the rich poetic resources of the Internet. Lively, accessible, and informative, Ordinary Genius provides wisdom gleaned through personal experience and offers a heady variety of writing exercises. Chapters on gender, addiction, race and class, metaphor and line invite each individual writer to find and to hone his or her unique voice. This is the perfect book for both experienced writers and beginners eager to glimpse the angel of poetry.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal

"Poetry isn't what we think of as the ordinary, but what we feel and sense is underneath the ordinary," writes Addonizio (coauthor, The Poet's Companion), who is anything but ordinary, as her previous works of poetry and fiction (e.g., Tell Me; Little Beauties; What Is This Thing Called Love?) attest. Here, she offers a way in for new poets struggling to unfold the images and phrases inside their heads and a way out for waylaid poets suffering through unwanted extended hiatuses. She stresses journal writing, of course, and mandates that poets read works from established poets to help jump-start their own poems. In addition, Addonizio suggests numerous instructive and fun exercises to trigger ideas for poetry-e.g., creating poems about photos one missed taking; exaggerating the features of common objects; writing a celebration about sex (yes, she loves Whitman); playing with riddles and extended metaphors; and injecting humor into serious poems and vice versa. These exercises traverse the entire text, each chapter highlighting a different facet of poetry. Appendixes list recommended readings and online poetry resources. For poet-patrons of both public and academic libraries.
—Nedra Crowe-Evers

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780393334166
  • Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
  • Publication date: 2/16/2009
  • Edition description: Original
  • Pages: 288
  • Sales rank: 125,187
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.10 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Kim Addonizio is a fiction writer, poet, and teacher. Her poetry collections include Tell Me, a finalist for the National Book Award, What Is This Thing Called Love, and Lucifer at the Starlite. She lives in Oakland, California.

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Table of Contents

introduction 13

I entering poetry

1 leaping in the dark 19

2 make a book 23

3 first thought, worst thought 27

4 getting started 32

5 opening doors 47

6 your genius, your demons 55

7 line, breath & vision 61

8 by heart: a Shakespeare sonnet 77

9 describe this 81

10 read this 92

II inner and outer worlds

11 identity 1: boys, girls & bodies 99

12 three meditations 109

13 by heart: a love poem 113

14 love & sex poems 115

15 me, myself & i 127

16 what you don't know 135

17 three observations 145

18 the pain-body 148

19 ha! working with humor 156

20 identity 2: race, class & privilege 164

21 the whiskey on your breath: addictions 170

III the poem's progress

22 metaphor 1: the shimmer 179

23 white heat, necessary coldness 187

24 a bag of tricks 199

25 the poem's progress 204

26 metaphor 2: parts & the whole 217

27 enchantments: myths & fairy tales 226

IV toward mastery

28 music & meter 237

29 write a sonnet 249

30 a poem you love: close reading 256

31 page to stage: performance 259

32 word/art: make a broadside 263

33 two heads: collaborations 269

34 do-overs & revisions 273

35 publishing & the pinocchio syndrome 287

36 mirror at the end of the road 294

appendix A poems & poetry resources online 299

appendix B recommended reading 303

credits 309

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 3, 2011

    Awesome Read!!!

    "Ordinary Genius" is brilliantly written and humourous. Addonizio included her personality in the writing which gives it some awesome character. I would recommend it to anyone who is looking to being writing poetry or a poet who is looking to improve their craft. It definitely helped me!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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