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POEM-MAKING by Myra Cohn Livingston


Ways to Begin Writing Poetry

by Myra Cohn Livingston

Age Range: 10 - 14

Pub Date: May 15th, 1991
ISBN: 0-06-024019-9
Publisher: HarperCollins

 As Livingston says in her introduction, she invites young people ``to make the image, the thought, even the sound [of an experience] come arranging words, making a sort of experience the joy of making a poem.'' This detailed, carefully organized volume makes the invitation irresistible. Admirably, the author doesn't condescend to her audience by skimping on the complexities; she gives the real concepts and terminology--apostrophe, tercet, consonance, dactyl, cinquain- -building from voice to the patterns and uses of sound to imagery, explaining with consummate clarity and generously providing excellent examples with a wide range of sophistication: Mother Goose to Fitzgerald's Homer. She's never pedantic; her eye and ear are consistently on the poem that the devices serve, while her occasional questions to the reader are not merely rhetorical but well framed to provoke imaginative thought. The last chapter is on concrete poetry, with some delightful examples of typography mimicking and extending meaning. Like a provocative poem, the book leaves readers without a neatly wrapped conclusion--the better, perhaps, to continue their own thoughts. An inspiring introduction to a notably thorny but potentially rewarding topic. Index. (Nonfiction. 10-14)