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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?

2 comments:

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 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.