Singing School: Learning to Write (and Read) Poetry by Studying with the Masters

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Overview

A bold new approach to writing (and reading) poetry based on great poetry of the past.
Quick, joyful, and playfully astringent, with surprising comparisons and examples, this collection takes an unconventional approach to the art of poetry. Instead of rules, theories, or recipes, Singing School emphasizes ways to learn from great work: studying magnificent, monumentally enduring poems and how they are made— in terms borrowed from the “singing ...

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Singing School: Learning to Write (and Read) Poetry by Studying with the Masters

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Overview

A bold new approach to writing (and reading) poetry based on great poetry of the past.
Quick, joyful, and playfully astringent, with surprising comparisons and examples, this collection takes an unconventional approach to the art of poetry. Instead of rules, theories, or recipes, Singing School emphasizes ways to learn from great work: studying magnificent, monumentally enduring poems and how they are made— in terms borrowed from the “singing school” of William Butler Yeats’s “Sailing to Byzantium.”
Robert Pinsky’s headnotes for each of the 80 poems and his brief introductions to each section take a writer’s view of specific works: William Carlos Williams’s “Fine Work with Pitch and Copper” for intense verbal music; Emily Dickinson’s “Because I Could Not Stop for Death” for wild imagination in matter-of-fact language; Robert Southwell’s “The Burning Babe” for surrealist aplomb; Wallace Stevens’s “The House Was Quiet and the World Was Calm” for subtlety in meter. Included are poems by Aphra Behn, Allen Ginsberg, George Herbert, John Keats, Mina Loy, Thomas Nashe, and many other master poets.This anthology respects poetry’s mysteries in two senses of the word: techniques of craft and strokes of the inexplicable.

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Editorial Reviews

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Robert Pinsky has served as the U.S. Poet Laureate, but he might be better described as our national evangelist of poetry. For decades, in anthologies, blogs, and readings, he has spread the word about the poetry of others. In Singing School, he continues this gentle mission with a gathering of 80 poems that together show the diversity of this craft. From the deep lyricism of William Butler Yeats to the rock solid observations of William Carlos Williams, this anthology breathes with the range of its offerings. The other poets represented include Mina Loy, Aphra Behn, Allen Ginsberg, and John Keats. Editor's recommendation.

Booklist
“Sparkling. . . . Pinsky has selected a tremendously fresh and exciting variety of salient poems. . . . This stimulating and creative guide will intrigue and enlighten everyone interested in poetry.”
Huffington Post
“The latest in what has become a Pinsky pedagogical legacy.
. . . By paying deep attention to these masters, the poet becomes a poet, through ‘the particular work’ of listening.”
Alicia Ostriker
“Singing School is nothing like the usual anthology of safe and sane selections. Instead, it is a gathering of poetry designed to stimulate the young and startle the old practitioner, with a surprise around every corner. . . . A book that will instruct and charm every reader.”
Tony Hoagland
“Robert Pinsky is, everyone knows, one of the great poetry teachers of our time. The tone of his discussion always combines patience and delight, and he is especially valuable to us because the knowledge he imparts is systematic—to read one of his explications of a poem is to understand something more about all the poems you'll read from that moment on.”
Library Journal
Nor is there singing school but studying/ Monuments of its own magnificence." So said William Butler Yeats in "Sailing to Byzantium," and his point is well taken: we come to understand not just art but the very act of creation by studying the greats. Former U.S. poet laureate Pinsky picks up on the idea in a collection offering 80 poems, with headnotes that clarify compositional aspects so that we can feel what it was like to have written each piece.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780393348972
  • Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
  • Publication date: 7/28/2014
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 240
  • Sales rank: 247,475
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.30 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Robert Pinsky is the author of eight collections of poetry including, most recently, his Selected Poems. His translation The Inferno of Dante won the Los Angeles Times Book Prize in Poetry. His CD PoemJazz, with Grammy-winning pianist Laurence Hobgood, was released in 2012. As United States Poet Laureate, Pinsky founded the Favorite Poem Project (www.favoritepoem.org), in which thousands of Americans shared their favorite poems. That project gave rise to the previous anthologies, Americans’ Favorite Poems and An Invitation to Poetry, with each poem accompanied by readers’ comments. Pinsky teaches at Boston University.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 18, 2015

    To below

    SERIOSLY!!!!!!!!

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    Posted July 31, 2013

    Idk

    Heeey

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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