The Craft of Poetry

A Primer in Verse

Lucy Newlyn

View Inside Format: Hardcover
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A wonderfully accessible handbook to the art of writing and reading poetry—itself written entirely in verse

How does poetry work? What should readers notice and look out for? Poet Lucy Newlyn demystifies the principles of the form, effortlessly illustrating key approaches and terms—all through her own original verse. Each poem exemplifies an aspect of poetic craft—but read together they suggest how poetry can evoke a whole community and its way of life in myriad ways.
In a series of beautiful meditations, Newlyn guides the reader through key aspects of poetry, from sonnets and haiku to volta and synecdoche. Avoiding glosses and notes, her poems are allowed to speak for themselves, and show that there are no limits to what poetry can communicate. Newlyn’s timeless verse will appeal to lovers of poetry as well as to practitioners, teachers, and students of all ages.

You’d play here all day if you had your way—
near the stepping-stones, in the clearest
of rock-pools, where water slaps and slips;
where minnows dart, and a baby trout flop-flips.

Lucy Newlyn is a poet and emeritus fellow in English, St Edmund Hall, Oxford. In addition to studies of the Romantic poets, she has published four collections of poetry, GinnelEarth’s Almanac, Vital Stream, and The Marriage Hearse. She lives near Truro, UK.

“Reading this book, you get to know poetry from the inside, without the alienating or distracting effect of abstract definition. Knowledge of how poetry works is here imbibed not as a course of instruction but as a sustained pleasure."—Bernard O'Donoghue, University of Oxford, Winner of the Whitbread Prize for Poetry 

“Lucy Newlyn has written a masterpiece about poetic process. It is also a book of place and people, of language and sound, of form and intelligence, of story and history, and of tragedy and delight … A future classic.” —David Morley, University of Warwick, Winner of the Ted Hughes Award and author of The Cambridge Companion to Creative Writing

“Tremendously useful and enjoyable … Conveys a hefty bundle of knowledge and delight, a little bit at a time.” —Carmen Bugan, University of Michigan and Gotham Writers Workshop 

“A wonderfully refreshing approach … Every one of these pieces shines with vigour.” —Rowan Williams 

“An ingenious, gentle, lucid and brilliant book that both describes and performs … by turns poignant, funny and haunting.” —Nicholas Royle, University of Sussex, author of An Introduction to Literature, Criticism and Theory 

“I read this book with great and deepening pleasure … It’s a good book to dwell in.  I’m impressed by Newlyn’s sustained inventiveness and play.” —Kenneth Gross, University of Rochester 

“All would benefit from this book, not just because of what it has to teach, but for its subtleties … Innovative [and] lively.” —Duncan Wu, Georgetown University

“A deeply educative book about a wide and impressive range of poetic techniques, figures and forms … One virtue of the book's originality is that it encourages its readers to think of, and experience, form and technique as ways of imagining the world and not as skills to be learnt in the abstract.” —Jon Cook, University of East Anglia

“Lucy Newlyn’s The Craft of Poetry has pulled off a near-impossible feat with a series of accomplished poems that illustrate every single poetry technique.”—Bel Mooney, Daily Mail
ISBN: 9780300251913
Publication Date: April 20, 2021
200 pages, 5 1/2 x 8 1/4

Join author Lucy Newlyn’s The Craft of Poetry Facebook group, for anyone who would like to explore poetic forms and techniques or share their own poetry with Lucy’s experienced guidance.