Ted Kooser has been writing and publishing poetry for more than forty years. In the pages of The Poetry Home Repair Manual, Kooser brings those decades of experience to bear. Here are tools and insights, the instructions (and warnings against instructions) that poets--aspiring or practicing--can use to hone their craft, perhaps into art. Using examples from his own rich literary oeuvre and from the work of a number of successful contemporary poets, the author schools us in the critical relationship between poet and reader, which is fundamental to what Kooser believes is poetry's ultimate purpose: to reach other people and touch their hearts. Much more than a guidebook to writing and revising poems, this manual has all the comforts and merits of a long and enlightening conversation with a wise and patient old friend--a friend who is willing to share everything he's learned about the art he's spent a lifetime learning to execute so well.
Other subjects in this work are writing for others, prose poems, writing from memory, fine-tuning metaphors and similes. I mention the last chapter specifically because Kooser is very strong in his use of metaphors. In this book he uses mainly his own works as examples.
As US Poet Laureate, Ted Kooser has had a well-deserved reputation for bringing poetry to more readers. He acknowledges the fear and dread that many people have when confronted with a poem they do not know, and has put together an admirable piece of instruction to counteract this bias.