STREAMS: Life Secrets for Writing Poems and Songs by Sandra Hochman

STREAMS: Life Secrets for Writing Poems and Songs

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KIRKUS REVIEW

This book offers an approach to learning the art of writing poetry and lyrics--an approach which is highly imaginative in concept, but fails in execution. Hochman, a well-known poet and novelist, invites her readers to open themselves to their ""inner life."" She offers bits and pieces of her own experience as a writer, interspersed with comments by other poets (such as Stevens, Rilke, and Williams) as well as suggestions of topics and ways of dealing with them. Ideally, all of this could be comforting and useful to those who have never written or suffer from writer's block. However, two major problems hamper any such progress. The first is that Hochman uses her own poems to illustrate each exercise, poems which either contradict the point she is trying to make or simply appear self-conscious (Exercise: to use ""odd"" words. Result, a la Hochman: ""Crossing the Drive/the nurse told her future: When you grow up/ You'll be a baboon'. . .""). The second is that her philosophy of self-awareness often sounds like leftover Sixties hype ("". . . Zen writing might be writing as a way of transcending the real life and entering into another sphere. Centering on the inner life and turning it to song""). An interesting attempt to take poetry to its emotional, imaginative source, but with too many wrong turns along the way.

Pub Date: May 8th, 1978
Publisher: Prentice-Hall