Writing Poetry Tips: In the Palm of Your Hand, a book review
In the Palm of Your Hand: the Poet's Portable Workshop
By Steve Kowit
Steve Kowit is an accomplished, if lesser known, American poet. He was born in Brooklyn in 1938 and teaches at Southwestern College in Chula Vista, California. In addition to publishing several poetry volumes, he has published this fantastic guide to writing poetry.
I've read several poetry books through the years, mostly through school, and this is by far the best and most useful one I have read. Not only does it use a lot of contemporary poets for poetic examples, it has 69 writing exercises to ensure that you never have an excuse not to write. I've used dozens of these exercises for poems I've published here on the HUB and one's that no eyes but mine have seen.
He speaks of technical writing and poetic terms in simple, unassuming and clear language that makes concepts like metrical feet, line breaks and different types of rhyme easily understandable to the lay poet.
He also offers references for getting published, tips and expectations on seeking an agent, on making a living as a poet, and common sense advice on how and when to write. As a professor, he uses many poems that his students have written which is a nice touch. So many poetry handbooks use poems by famous poets that often make poetry seem daunting and difficult and unattainable. Plus, instead of having the poems as appendices to end the chapter of book, they are intermingled within the text and then discussed.
He really breaks down the craft and introduces the reader to so many different forms, styles and poets that there really is, as the cliche' goes, something for everyone. Oh yeah, he also talks about cliche's and dead metaphors.
if you are an aspiring poet, an amateur poet, a published a pot, a novice poet, a good poet or a bad poet, you will benefit from this book. there is even has an entire chapter on bad poems, with the authors left anonymous. he explains why the poems are bad, but, more then that, he shows you how to make bad poems good proving that no poem or poet is hopeless.
Each chapter is short with great emphasis on the poems themselves and the exercises that conclude each chapter, making for a read that can be as short or as long as you want it to be.
In the Palm of Your Hand is a truly useful book and a must have for anyone who writes poetry. I cannot recommend it enough.
Thanks for Reading.
A free-lance writer, Honors student and Gover Prize finalist, Justin W. Price (aka, PDXKaraokeGuy) considers himself a poet first and foremost but is also a skilled short story, biographer and humor writer. His poetry collection, Digging to China, will be released February 2nd, 2013 by Sweatshoppe Publications and is currently available on Amazon as well as your local bookseller.
His work will also be featured in Best New Fiction (2014 edition), and has appeared previously in the Rusty Nail, eFiction, eFiction Humor, The Crisis Chronicles, The Hellroaring Review and the Bellwether Review. He currently serves as managing editor of eHorror Magazine and the Bridge online newspaper. He previously served as the poetry and correspondence editor for The Bellwether Review.
He works as a freelance writer, editor, and ghostwriter, and is working towards his Ph.D. He lives in a suburb of Portland, Oregon with his wife, Andrea, and their labradoodle, Bella
Please visit his profile page for more information. Thanks!
This Book and Others by Kowit
More Writing Tips By Me
- Writing Poetry Tips, Part one: What Can I say?
a lot of novice poets try to use fancy and cultured language. Don't!
- Writing Poetry Tips, Part Two: Write it, Own it
Another article with writing tips. This one says, essentially, "Don't be anonymous"
- Writing Poetry Tips, Part Three: The Found Poem and the Enjambed Line
Poetry tips. Using endstopepd and enjambed lines, using found poems to practice.
More by this Author
A look at and analysis of Jamaica Kincaid's short story, "Girl"
A look at the universal theme found in works by Raymond Carver, Billy Collins and Alice Walker.
The author writes a letter to his six year old self, explaining the origins of his emetophobia