Wednesday, October 05, 2011

My favorite and recommended reference book on writing poetry: The Art & Craft of Poetry by Michael Bugeja

The Art and Craft of Poetry by Michael J. Bugeja (Writers Digest Books). When reading this book, chapter by chapter, how come I feel as if this fine-poet-with-a-funny-last-name is sitting right next to me, giving me a private study on ways of poetry. By the time you reach the end of this highly readable guide, you may feel as if you’ve gained an MFA in poetry writing, if you take what Bugeja (pronounced as if “bluejay-ah” but without the “l”) says to heart and apply his principles to your own writing.

He covers how to approach styles of poetry from love to nature, and from political to occasional. His guides and examples for writing form poetry are accessible and first rate. He puts a lot of himself in the book, which makes his experiences come alive to the reader as the “show” rather than the “tell,” of what could instead be a lecture.

There’s much to relish here, so I recommend taking it slowly and experimenting with your own poetry as you progress. Bugeja makes complicated subjects clear and easy to grasp, and helped me as he mapped out the vital differences between narrative, lyric and dramatic poetry that I now share with my own workshop participants, for example. ◦

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