Book Review: The Teachers and Writers Handbook of Poetic Forms


This was one of the required textbooks for my college-level poetry class.  Through this book (and class), I was introduced to the pantoum poem, which has been my favorite form:

There is something about the lull of repeating lines and how a single lane can relate to multiple lines that illuminates how texts can be interrelated—a form of intertextuality.

The book not only provided, in simple language, explanations of different forms, but excellent examples.  My favorites included found poems (which makes me want to get creative with Post-It notes), calligrams, such as Guillaume Apollinaire’s “It’s Raining,” epitaphs (Mom and I have already written my dad’s), spoonerism (which I define as nonsense that makes sense), and apostrophe (in which you address something, either tangible or intangible, directly).

For so long, I’ve been writing “stream of consciousness” poems; this book helped me become more aware of how my poems look on the page, rather than just the content.  This is “the go-to book” for poets who want their prose to read more like poetry, and who want to break away from rhyme.

This book didn’t just help me become a better poet, but it also led me to other poets whose work I enjoyed reading, and want to explore further.  It’s a chore for me to find good poetry (I am still, at heart, a lover of stories), but when I do, it’s like finding a piece of dark chocolate in a bag of milk [chocolate].

5 thoughts on “Book Review: The Teachers and Writers Handbook of Poetic Forms

  1. Thanks Sarah. Have been working my way through a similar book recently and experimenting with different styles. As an avid fan of rhyme it is rewarding to try out different and freer structures. I have a poetry blog here on WordPress in case you have time to look? Have a good weekend, Sam 🙂

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