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Writing Poetry Tips: In the Palm of Your Hand, a book review

Updated on January 22, 2013
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Justin W. Price, AKA PDXKaraokeGuy, is a freelance writer, blogger, and award-nominated author based out of Juneau, Alaska.

Author Steve Kowitt
Author Steve Kowitt | Source

In the Palm of Your Hand: the Poet's Portable Workshop

By Steve Kowit


A review.


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!

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    • PDXKaraokeGuy profile image
      Author

      Justin W Price 4 years ago from Juneau, Alaska

      Minnetonka... thanks so much. Now, if you read the book, the odds are, your poem won't be featured in the Bad poems section :-)

    • Minnetonka Twin profile image

      Linda Rogers 4 years ago from Minnesota

      Hi Justin-first, hope your Christmas was wonderful for you and your beautiful wife. Secondly, you did a great job reviewing this book. I am definitely sold on reading it although I must admit I'm scared one of the bad poems may end up being mine. LOL

    • PDXKaraokeGuy profile image
      Author

      Justin W Price 5 years ago from Juneau, Alaska

      Audrey, so glad you enjoyed it!

    • PDXKaraokeGuy profile image
      Author

      Justin W Price 5 years ago from Juneau, Alaska

      Rajan, let me know what you think of it!

    • AudreyHowitt profile image

      Audrey Howitt 5 years ago from California

      Gave it a view! Great book!

    • rajan jolly profile image

      Rajan Singh Jolly 5 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      This is a very inspiring review Justin. Makes me want to have a look at this book.

      Thanks for reviewing a great book.

    • PDXKaraokeGuy profile image
      Author

      Justin W Price 5 years ago from Juneau, Alaska

      Thanks, Audra. Let me know how you like the book!

    • profile image

      iamaudraleigh 5 years ago

      A vry good review, thanks Justin!!!

    • PDXKaraokeGuy profile image
      Author

      Justin W Price 5 years ago from Juneau, Alaska

      Thanks Aurelio. And thanks for sharing it!

    • alocsin profile image

      alocsin 5 years ago from Orange County, CA

      This book should help the many poets in HubPages. Voting this Up and Useful.

    • PDXKaraokeGuy profile image
      Author

      Justin W Price 5 years ago from Juneau, Alaska

      great, Jamie. let me know how you like it. I'm also no longer sure if my amazon links are being imputed correctly. let me k now if you use my link to buy the book so I can track it!

    • jhamann profile image

      Jamie Lee Hamann 5 years ago from Reno NV

      I want a copy in my collection, I am sold, I have a spot already picked out on the bookshelf. Thank You. Jamie

    • PDXKaraokeGuy profile image
      Author

      Justin W Price 5 years ago from Juneau, Alaska

      storyteller, I'm glad you'll be getting this book. Please let me know how you enjoy it!

    • Storytellersrus profile image

      Barbara 5 years ago from Stepping past clutter

      You've inspired me to get this book. I am so impressed with your analysis! Voted up and useful. I agree that so many books make poetry appear inaccessible. I look forward to debunking that myth!

    • PDXKaraokeGuy profile image
      Author

      Justin W Price 5 years ago from Juneau, Alaska

      Sue, thank you. Let me know how you enjoy the book! I hope you find it as useful as I did/do!

    • profile image

      Sueswan 5 years ago

      Hi PDX

      I have bookmarked this one. Thanks for sharing your views on this book.

      Voted up and interesting.

      Best wishes for a Happy New Year.

    • PDXKaraokeGuy profile image
      Author

      Justin W Price 5 years ago from Juneau, Alaska

      Jen, the bad poems are both funny, sad and enlightening. Let me know how you like the book, and please sue my links if at all possible.

      Thanks, MM. We all need help. Everyone is always learning.

      Thanks for reading and commenting!

    • Movie Master profile image

      Movie Master 5 years ago from United Kingdom

      I too need all the help I can get and I will certainly be purchasing this book thank you.

      I'm sorry I missed you had hub of the day on the 15th, congratulations for that!

    • profile image

      jenubouka 5 years ago

      Will do, though your word is true and pure so I anticipate a good read. Why I am looking forward to reading the bad poems? To make sure mine do not abide the examples!!

    • PDXKaraokeGuy profile image
      Author

      Justin W Price 5 years ago from Juneau, Alaska

      Debby thanks for the kind words and for the congratulations. happy holidays to you and yours!

      Gypsy, thanks. I'm pleased that you enjoyed this!

    • Gypsy Rose Lee profile image

      Gypsy Rose Lee 5 years ago from Riga, Latvia

      Great review! Thanks for the info.

    • Debby Bruck profile image

      Debby Bruck 5 years ago

      Justin ~ Excellent review. I thought I would see your most recent blog. I was not disappointed, as you are an exemplary teacher. I would also like to congratulate you on your HUB OF DAY on December 15, 2011 Blessings, Debby

    • PDXKaraokeGuy profile image
      Author

      Justin W Price 5 years ago from Juneau, Alaska

      Great! Let me know if it live sup to the hype. i hate it when people build up things too much

    • profile image

      jenubouka 5 years ago

      Now this sounds like my kind of poetry book. Great review you sold me on it.

    • PDXKaraokeGuy profile image
      Author

      Justin W Price 5 years ago from Juneau, Alaska

      missolive, it's a great book. I actually used it in a college course so, as a teacher, you may have some interest in it.

      Susan, I appreciate the bookmark. let me know how you like the book.

      Vinaya, thank you so much!

    • Vinaya Ghimire profile image

      Vinaya Ghimire 5 years ago from Nepal

      Nice review!

    • Just Ask Susan profile image

      Susan Zutautas 5 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Thanks for introducing me to this book. I'm sure I could benefit from it. I've bookmarked your hub so that I can look into purchasing this book in the new year.

    • missolive profile image

      Marisa Hammond Olivares 5 years ago from Texas

      Sounds like a great book. Thanks for the suggestion and review.

    • PDXKaraokeGuy profile image
      Author

      Justin W Price 5 years ago from Juneau, Alaska

      ruby, there's no need to look for it! I've included links to it above! Thanks for reading and commenting!

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Fuller 5 years ago from Southern Illinois

      I need all the help i can get. I'll be looking for, ' In the palm of your hand ' Thank you...

    • PDXKaraokeGuy profile image
      Author

      Justin W Price 5 years ago from Juneau, Alaska

      audrey, you are quite welcome! Let me know what you think!

    • AudreyHowitt profile image

      Audrey Howitt 5 years ago from California

      Thank you Justin--I will have to take a look!