The collection of books pictured above was inspired by discovering The Art of series at my local library. The Art of discusses different aspects of writing with examples from a great variety of texts. I wanted to learn more about the authors who wrote the series, so I picked up their poetry and essays as well. I’m glad I did. This group of books :intelligent discussion, imparted wisdom and beautiful poetry.
But I’m a fiction writer, why spend time with poetry and poets?
Words are a writer’s tools and poets have to use words in the most efficient manner for maximum emotional effect.
Ellen Bryant Voigt
The Art of Syntax: Rhythm of Thought, Rhythm of Song
Rhythm is what makes Ms. Voigt’s poems so amazing. Her contribution to The Art Of series is my favorite of the bunch. I learned some interesting vocabulary specific to the rhythm of words:
enjambment – the running on of the thought from one line, couplet, or stanza to the next without a syntactical break.
trochee – a foot of two syllables, a long followed by a short in quantitative meter, or a stressed followed by an unstressed in accentual meter.
palimpsest – a parchment or the like from which writing has been partially or completely erased to make room for another text.
I loved these poems. Though completely lacking in punctuation, the message is never lost and the rhythm is clear. Her word choice is beautiful. These poems felt like a magical discovery.
The Art of Description: World into Word
I enjoyed the idea of “the sensorium”–finding the places of sensory overlap and allowing the senses their complexly interactive life.
I also noted that I should read :
Middlemarch by George Eliot and
Resurrection Update: Collected Poems, 1975-1997 by James Galvin
These poems take you on walks with the dog and inspections of the garden. They take you there through lovely description and word choice.
Charles Baxter is the editor of The Art of series.
The Art of Subtext: Beyond Plot
Full of examples of how subtext is used in fiction.
Burning Down the House: Essays on Fiction
Mr. Baxter’s essays get into his thought process. They let the reader into the flow of a writer mind.
Here I also learned a new word: Pusillanimous – lacking courage and resolution
If You Want to Write: A Book about Art, Independence and Spirit
It felt like serendipity when Charles Baxter started talking about Brenda Ueland’s book because I already had it on my bookshelf. It’s a great book for those times you need a cheerleader, which, as writers, we often do.
I just opened to a random page and found this bit of fun:
Now Blake thought that this creative power should be kept alive in all people for all of their lives. And so do I. Why? Because it is life itself. It is the Spirit. In fact it is the only important thing about us. The rest of us is legs and stomach, materialistic cravings and fears. –Brenda Ueland
Excited to fill up on some poetry?
Here are some links to poetry sites I enjoy, so you can get your fill while you wait for the books you just ordered from Amazon to arrive 🙂
Happy Reading and Writing
Don’t be pusillanimous. Get out there and explore!