Writing and Workshopping Poetry

Writing and Workshopping Poetry

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Author: Stephen Guppy

Publisher: Broadview Press (2016)

Most texts on creative writing emphasize either sources of inspiration or strategies for editing. The process of getting from initial inspiration to final draft isn’t often dealt with in any practical way. Writing and Workshopping Poetry focuses on all three phases of the process of composition: finding the material; building and developing the poem from rough draft to complete work; editing and refining.

The text offers everything students and instructors need: extensive notes written in an accessible, conversational style; seventy-five writing exercises; and about a hundred poems chosen from a wide range of sources, from sixteenth-century sonnets to experimental constrained forms, with an emphasis on exciting poems by contemporary American and Canadian poets. Each chapter concludes with a brief, point-form summary of major learning objectives as well as a review list of useful terms.

Writing and Workshopping Poetry: A Constructive Introduction is true to its title: it is a practical and well-organized handbook for beginning students at a college or university level. But it is also more sophisticated and philosophical than the title implies; its detailing and description of poetic techniques are contextualized within the history of poetry, poetics, and its ever-widening practice, from the lyric to the hypertext. The book is well structured and provides the basics without talking down to students, which makes it particularly useful for classes where students may be beginning at different levels of knowledge.”

–Mary di Michele

“Often poetry’s range of genres goes unstressed in books on how to workshop and write poetry. Stephen Guppy addresses the scope and essentials for the larger dimensions of verse that encompass dramatic and narrative forms. He identifies and describes how devices and techniques are used within the individual forms. Chapters come with core vocabulary and exercises for applying what has been learned; these exercises are inspired, stimulating, and original in their own right. Overall, the book builds a framework for young poets to appreciate each other’s poetry and to talk to each other about it in an informed and helpful way in workshop. To stretch one of Wordsworth’s dictums for poetry, Stephen Guppy talks about the ordinary and wonderful workings of poetry in a wonderfully ordinary and accessible way.”

–George McWhirter

“Thanks to Broadview for publishing Stephen Guppy’s Writing and Workshopping Poetry. It’s rare to find a poetry textbook with so much Canadian content, let alone one that is so excellent, diverse, and current. I’m loving teaching from it. My students are keenly responsive to the poems and writing prompts. And, most of all, the chapters are thorough, entertaining, and clear. Guppy keeps surprising me with insights.”

–Michael V. Smith