Saturday, May 13, 2006

Reader's Diary #87- Fred Sedgwick: How To Write Poetry (FINISHED)

Since I first began blogging about the books I'm reading, I've come to enjoy the experience on many levels. Not only have I heard some interesting discussions from others, it's also made me a sharper reader. It's hard not to have it in the back of my mind whenever I'm reading, "what am I going to say about this?" and it's forced me to slow down, to look with a more critical eye. But this was the first time I've tried that approach with a "How-To" book, and I can't say blogging necessarily complements such a book. I don't think a How-To book works as a cover-to-cover read like I've done here. I'm glad I did it with How To Write Poetry but I see the book as being more useful as a reference tool than anything else. Now I know where to go to when I'm looking for an exercise to help keep my writing fresh. I didn't do all of the exercises suggested by Sedgwick this time around, not because they weren't good ideas, but because I didn't want to be blogging about this particular book for the next six months. From time to time, when I pick up the book again, maybe I'll share more of my thoughts or poems, but for now I'll move on having gained a little more appreciation of what it means (and what it takes) to be a poet.

As a discussion point, asides from cook books, what "How To" books have you read?


Barbara Bruederlin said...

Good question. Do gardening books count? It seems to me they would fall into the same category as cookbooks, but I have read a couple. But, as you so rightly said, how-tos are not for reading cover to cover.

Robert Hiscock said...

I've probably read more 'how-to' books than I can remember but my favourite was Palmistry for Pleasure. It's an old book on how to read palms and tell fortunes. I've never seriously read it. I picked it up from a library discard table and thought its diagrams were interesting and that it ought to make for a good conversation starter. It has sparked numerous discussions among friends who eagerly begin comparing 'lifelines'. It's been a fun book and one of the best free-finds I've been lucky enough to encounter.