Lynn Domina, a poet with three published collections (so she should understand the value of a book review), undertakes a blogging goal that leaves me breathless: reviewing a poetry book every week. Since I can barely make it through reading a book a week, I'm in awe. Not only her productivity, but her eloquence and insight are impressive. These aren't fluff reviews; they're the real deal. Lynn's reviews offer analysis and comment, and are delivered through such finely close reading as to delight any poet intrigued by craft. (What poet isn't?) She pays close attention form, whether received or nonce, authoritatively analyzing its structure and bringing her own tastes subtly into her analysis. I will be following her weekly reviews.
Because of Lynn Domina's attention to craft and form, it's a natural that she should review Diane Lockward's recent meaty and thought-provoking craft/prompt book, The Crafty Poet. I've given this book to poet friends because I believe it to be uniquely suited to stimulate and support the writing of poetry. The prompts in it go deeper than free association, with ideas not just for inspiring but also for shaping the poem. Each craft tip invites the poet to use several devices, with a range of choices in each device. Diane includes sample poems that were written in response to the prompt. I've never seen a craft book structured as an anthology.
Disclaimer: I have a poem in the book, so you have to take my rave review with that grain of salt. It was written in response to Diane's "Craft Tip #26: When the Poem Won't Show Up." The tip/prompt makes use of an initial phrase, chosen by you or a group leader, after which you free write for twenty minutes without stopping. Here's my poem:
Labels: book review, poetic craft, poetry book