Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Ordinary Genius - A Guide for the Poet Within

Poet Kim Addonizio has a new book out entitled "Ordinary Genius - a Guide for the Poet Within". (She co-authored "The Poet's Companion" with Dorianne Laux in 1997. ) You get your money's worth of lessons in its 300 pages. I was a little disappointed at the beginning, reading ideas like keeping a journal or writing a poem with the first line of someone else's poem, but the book got meatier and more in-depth with every chapter. "Ordinary Genius" is dense with inspiration, poem starters and exercises as well as chapters like "Your Genius, Your Demons" that contain Addonizio's well thought-out philosophies on poets and poetry. She offers adoring insights on everyone from Shakespeare and Whitman to Cleveland's own George Bilgere.
She dares to have a chapter called "Love and Sex Poems" and somehow brings a fresh approach to those time-worn subjects. Addonizio is honest in her assessment of poets when she warns: "When you explore your own life in poetry, it's useful to remember that nobody really cares." And "If you want to be a poet the way some people want to be a rock star without actually learning the guitar, playing scales and practicing - then you are free to fantasize."
Addonizio teaches the sonnet and pantoum in understandable terms. Other chapters include such topics as race, class, addictions and fairy tales. All the regulars are there as well - metaphor, imagery, revising, meter, etc.
It's a comprehensive resource that I would recommend to a beginner or to any seasoned, war-wounded poet who is looking for his/her lost muse.


74WIXYgrad said...

You have blogged about a book
Of which I might just take a look
Sometimes I write my posts in rhyme
Depends on how I feel that time

John Ettorre said...

How very interesting, Diane. Thanks for sharing this. I look forward to checking out this book more. And I'll be sure to razz George about his inclusion in it next time I see him hanging out at the Stone Oven on Lee Rd.