The Strategic Poet: Honing the Craft

The Strategic Poet: Honing the Craft

The Strategic Poet: Honing the Craft

The Strategic Poet: Honing the Craft


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The Strategic Poet: Honing the Craft focuses on the craft of poetry and is based on the belief that craft can be taught and the best teacher of craft is a good poem. This book assumes a knowledgeable reader, that is, one who already knows the language of poetry and already practices the craft. This book is organized into thirteen sections, each one devoted to a specific poetic strategy. While only thirteen strategies are used for organizational purposes, the reader will find many additional strategies referred to and discussed within the sections. There is a progression from one section to the next, but each section also stands alone, so the reader or teacher can follow the order of the Contents or move about freely among the sections.

Each section begins with a Craft Talk solicited from a well-known poet with a clear mastery of craft. Each Craft Talk is followed by Model Poems and Prompts. Each Model Poem is followed by an analysis of its craft elements, especially its use of the section's strategy. One Model Poem in each section is followed by a Commentary from the poet who wrote the poem and is focused on a particular strategy used in the poem.

Each of the thirty-six Prompts is followed by two Sample Poems written to the prompts. These seventy-two poems demonstrate that the prompts are not mere exercises and can produce terrific poems.

Each section ends with three Bonus Prompts. There thirty-nine additional prompts were contributed by thirteen contemporary poets. These short prompts provide additional practice with the strategies, can be used multiple times, and should lead to some good poems.

Contributors include 114 of our best contemporary poets.

This book is suitable for use by poets working independently, by poets in writing groups, and by teachers in the classroom.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781947896482
Publisher: Terrapin Books
Publication date: 10/13/2021
Pages: 326
Sales rank: 556,396
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.68(d)

About the Author

Diane Lockward is the editor of three earlier craft books: The Practicing Poet: Writing Beyond the Basics (Terrapin Books, 2018), The Crafty Poet II: A Portable Workshop (Terrapin Books, 2016), and The Crafty Poet: A Portable Workshop (Terrapin Books, rev. ed., 2016). She is also the author of four poetry books, most recently The Uneaten Carrots of Atonement (Wind Publications, 2016). Her awards include the Quentin R. Howard Poetry Prize, a poetry fellowship from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, and a Woman of Achievement Award. Her poems have been included in such journals as the Harvard Review, Southern Poetry Review, and Prairie Schooner. Her work has also been featured on Poetry Daily, Verse Daily, The Writer's Almanac, and Ted Kooser's American Life in Poetry. She is the publisher of Terrapin Books.

Table of Contents

Introduction 1

I Descriptive Details

Craft Talk: From Detail to Discovery Ellen Bass 5

Poem and Prompt: "Dreaming Alabama" Melanie McCabe 7

Sample Poems

"Land of the Southwind" Lisa Hase-Jackson 10

"Dreaming the Garden State" Deborah Gerrish 11

Poem and Prompt: "Old Man Wandering the Roads" Jesse Graves 12

Commentary: Gathering the Details Jesse Graves 15

Sample Poems

"Aunt Ed" Betsy Thorne 16

"Nilla" Yvonne Zipter 17

Poem and Prompt: "What You Missed That Day You Were Absent from Fourth Grade" Brad Aaron Modlin 18

Sample Poems

"What You Missed While You Were Home Sleeping Off a Saturday Afternoon Drunk" Lynne Knight 21

"How Your Favorite Aunt Made Spring Your Favorite Season" Shayla Hawkins 23

Bonus Prompts: Descriptive Details Lance Larsen 25

II Diction

Craft Talk: Veering Your Diction W. Todd Kaneko 29

Poem and Prompt: "Entreaty" Catherine Pierce 31

Sample Poems

"Dear October" Libby Bernardin 34

"Aesthetics of the Sublime" Kate Sontag 35

Poem and Prompt: "Respair" Craig van Rooyen 37

Commentary: Finding the Words Craig van Rooyen 40

Sample Poems

"Tartle" KB Ballentine 42

"Meet Me at the Growlery" Lucy Griffith 43

Poem and Prompt: "The Word Swagger" George Drew 44

Sample Poems

"Moxie" Geraldine Connolly 46

"At Least 17 Definitions" Tina Kelley 48

Bonus Prompts: Diction Caitlin Doyle 49

III Imagery

Craft Talk: Four Hills and a Cloud Lauren Camp 53

Poem and Prompt: "Learned at Last Night's Lecture on Dementia" Pam Baggett 55

Sample Poems

"Dad's Last ER Visit" Jemshed Khan 58

"Weeks Waiting for Her Release" Jenna Rindo 59

Poem and Prompt: "Girlhood Landscape" Sara Moore Wagner 60

Commentary: Coloring the Poem Sara Moore Wagner 62

Sample Poems

"I Want to Be a Gladiola" Ann Fisher-Wirth 63

"Skunk Cabbage" Penny Harter 64

Poem and Prompt: "Photo in a Photo" Lynn McGee 65

Sample Poems

"Leave Meeting" Bruce E. Whitacre 68

"After Seeing a Photograph of Flamingos" Emily Franklin 70

Bonus Prompts: Imagery Adele Kenny 71

IV Sound Devices

Craft Talk: Reveling in Rhyme Annie Finch 75

Poem and Prompt: "Diagnosis in Reverse" Kate Gaskin 77

Sample Poems

"Undoing Third-Degree Burns" Shannon K. Winston 80

"Unstepping into Divorce" Christen Noel Kauffman 82

Poem and Prompt: "Nashville After Hours" Ada Limón 83

Sample Poems

"Latonia Racetrack at Cooldown" Nancy Susanna Breen 86

"Desperado, Slightly Drunk and Off-Key" Jennifer Saunders 87

Poem and Prompt: "My Mother's Heart in Troubling Times" Lois Marie Harrod 88

Commentary: My Mother's One-Sentence Heart Lois Marie Harrod 91

Sample Poems

"My Mother's Hands" Dion O'Reilly 92

"He'd Promised All of Us His Hand" Lisken Van Pelt Dus 93

Bonus Prompts: Sound Devices Michael T. Young 95

V Repetition

Craft Talk: Playing It by Ear David Graham 99

Poem and Prompt: "Facetime" George Bilgere 102

Sample Poems

"One Thing I Desire" KB Ballentine 105

"Expirations" Jenna Rindo 106

Poem and Prompt: "still in a state of uncreation" Camille Dungy 107

Commentary: Repeating Myself Camille Dungy 109

Sample Poems

"As leaky a vessel as was ever made" Jayne Brown 110

"The whole earth is like a poem" Deborah Gerrish 111

Poem and Prompt: "Superstition" Robert Fillman 112

Sample Poems

"Step on a Crack" Penny Harter 115

"Allergic Superstition" Lynn Domina 116

Bonus Prompts: Repetition J. C. Todd 117

VI Figurative Language: Simile

Craft Talk: It's Like This Danusha Laméris 121

Poem and Prompt: "Rewinding an Overdose on a Projector" Sean Shearer 123

Commentary: The Function of Similes Sean Shearer 126

Sample Poems

"Do Over" Nina Bennett 127

"Slow-Motion Reverse-Replay, Myocardial Infarction" Karen Paul Holmes 128

Poem and Prompt: "New Restrictions" Dean Young 129

Sample Poems

"Warning" Cathy Colman 132

"Of the Eternal Waters" Ann Fisher-Wirth 134

Bonus Prompts: Simile Catherine Doty 135

VII Figurative Language: Metaphor

Craft Talk: Metaphor as Lowrider Jan Beatty 139

Poem and Prompt: "I Am Pamela Pan" Tina Kelley 141

Commentary: Persona Poem as Opportunity Tina Kelley 144

Sample Poems

"Elegy for Goliath" Jane Mary Curran 145

"Sarabelle Crusoe" Charlotte Mandel 146

Poem and Prompt: "How to Swallow an Elephant" Frank X Walker 148

Sample Poems

"How to Set a Squirrel Free" Elizabeth S. Wolf 151

"How to Make a Paper Heart" Robert Fillman 152

Poem and Prompt: "My Invisible Horse and the Speed of Human Decency" Matthew Olzmann 153

Sample Poems

"This dumb thing" Jenny Hubbard 156

"Owls Mean Death" Denise Low 158

Bonus Prompts: Metaphor Joy Gaines-Friedler 159

VIII Figurative Language: Personification

Craft Talk: The Humanizing Power of Personification Meg Kearney 163

Poem and Prompt: "Hunt" David O'Connell 165

Sample Poems

"A Mind at Home with Itself" Marcia LeBeau 167

"In the Brief Inverted Room of My Fractured Ankle" Ronda Piszk Broatch 168

Poem and Prompt: "The Disappointment of the Cantaloupes" Dara Yen Elerath 169

Commentary: Personification as Energizer Dara Yen Elerath 171

Sample Poems

"The Pining Goldfish" Robin Rosen Chang 172

"Blooms" Holiday Goldfarb 173

Bonus Prompts: Personification Kerrin McCadden 174

IX Figurative Language: Hyperbole

Craft Talk: Firing Fred and the Power of Hyperbole Peter E. Murphy 177

Poem and Prompt: "A Rogue Dream" Melanie Figg 180

Commentary: Hyperbole and the Dream Convention Melanie Figg 183

Sample Poems

"Hide-and-Seek" Erin Murphy 184

"Natural Disaster" Jessica de Koninck 186

Poem and Prompt: "Love Poem without a Drop of Hyperbole" Traci Brimhall 187

Sample Poems

"Love Poem with Old-Fashioned Extravagance" Gail Comorat 190

"February, Don't Let the Door Hit You on Your Way Out" Kim Klugh 191

Bonus Prompts: Hyperbole BJ Ward 193

X Figurative Language: Apostrophe

Craft Talk: Apostrophe as Shortcut to Discovery Dion O'Reilly 197

Poem and Prompt: "The End of the Pier" Nicole Callihan 200

Sample Poems

"To the Top of Hawk Mountain" Michael T. Young 202

"At the Trailways Bus Depot" Kim Klugh 203

Poem and Prompt: "Ode to Tissue" Adam Tavel 204

Sample Poems

"In Praise of the Potato" Maren O. Mitchell 207

"Ode to the Afternoon Moon" Denise Low 209

Poem and Prompt: "To My Pacemaker" James Scruton 210

Commentary: Apostrophe as Matchmaker James Scruton 213

Sample Poems

"To My Titanium" Joan Mazza 214

"To the Two Screws in My Left Hand" Diane LeBlanc 215

Bonus Prompts: Apostrophe Patricia Clark 216

XI Syntax

Craft Talk: The Elusive Art of the Line Break Marilyn L. Taylor 219

Poem and Prompt: "Abandoned Shacks in North Carolina" Rob Shapiro 222

Sample Poems

"Rahway, New Jersey: The Old House" Adele Kenny 225

"In Greenland, Glaciers Fall" Maureen Doallas 226

Poem and Prompt: "Farmers' Market" George Bilgere 227

Sample Poems

"At the Theatre" Lisken Van Pelt Dus 230

"Butterfly Exhibit" Patricia Clark 231

Poem and Prompt: "Senior Cut Day" Jared Harél 232

Commentary: The Music in the Syntax Jared Harél 234

Sample Poems

"High School Dance" Elizabeth S. Wolf 235

"College Senior: Vocational Blues" Patricia Clark 236

Bonus Prompts: Syntax Jennifer Franklin 237

XII Sonnet

Craft Talk: Bead on a String Diane Seuss 241

Poem and Prompt: "When in disgrace with fortune and men's eyes" Beth Copeland 244

Commentary: Fusing Old and New in the Sonnet Beth Copeland 246

Sample Poems

"My Heart Flapped Like a Rag in My Ears" Kate Sontag 247

"When in the chronicle of wasted time" Robin Chapman 248

Poem and Prompt: "Caligynephobia" Jessica Piazza 249

Sample Poems

"Monophobia" Andrea Hollander 252

"Arachnophobe's Sonnet" Linda Simone 254

Poem and Prompt: "Freeblown" Elise Hempel 255

Sample Poems

"Taming the Pieces: Collage" Scott Wiggerman 257

"Songbird, I Offer You Refuge" Kersten Christianson 258

Bonus Prompts: Sonnets Jeffrey Bean 259

XIII Odd Forms

Craft Talk: What Does a Poem Want to Be? Tami Haaland 263

Poem and Prompt: "Triolets on a Dune Shack" Carolyne Wright 266

Sample Poems

"You Set a Fun Table, Betsy" Denise Utt 269

"After the Call from the Animal Welfare Office: A Triple Triolet" Luanne Castle 270

Poem and Prompt: "Balloon Shop" Matthew Yeager 271

Sample Poems

"The Cry of Coral" Tiel Aisha Ansari 274

"Possibility" Athena Kildegaard 275

Poem and Prompt: "You Call with the Diagnosis" J.P. Grasser 276

Commentary: We Hybrid Animals J.P. Grasser 279

Sample Poems

"The Scan Shows Hydrocephalus" Kory Wells 281

"Across the Great Divide" Janet Ruth 282

Bonus Prompts: Invented Forms Allison Joseph 283

Contributors 285

Credits 299

Index 303

About the Editor 309

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