The Poetry Home Repair Manual: Practical Advice for Beginning Poets

by Ted Kooser

Paper Book, 2007




Lincoln : University of Nebraska Press, 2007.


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.… (more)

User reviews

LibraryThing member rmagahiz
This book is pitched at about the undergraduate creative writing class level, which I think fills a gap in what's out there. He has clearly heard a lot of questions from the kind of intelligent students who have just started thinking about what the business of poetry is about, really, and who think
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they might have something to say but need some orientation on what the important things to concentrate upon might be, and he supplies both advice and illustrations without pretense or condescension. He has also read more than his shore of subpar verse and outright bad doggerel and does not refrain from teaching through these. I don't think I've seen anyone else do anything quite like that in any book of literary criticism before, despite its effectiveness. Mainly, he writes as someone who has found the pleasure of composing poetry and would just like to address writers who might enjoy that on their own, with matters of prestige or money or fame pushed into the background. Kooser quotes not only his own poems but also those of his favorite writers, and even an occasional piece of creative prose as illustrations of the points he makes.
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.
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LibraryThing member Maethelwine
Really very good, and encouraging. Kooser's emphasis on considering the reader and making your poems as transparent as you can, particularly for newer poets, should be taken to heart by more of us.
LibraryThing member zinkel101
Kooser's approach to poetry is rather basic, and his book is a good introduction to writing poetry. In his first chapter, (the best chapter in my view), he writes of modern poetry's digression into obscurity. We want to impress the academics, so we fill the poem with obscure references. But poetry
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doesn't require it. Compare this to Kooser's verses, say in his Delights and Shadows, and you can see how accessible his poetry is.
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.
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LibraryThing member samfsmith
I love Kooser’s poetry - it’s so clear and understandable, as well as meaningful to me. So when I saw this book on a recommended list at I rushed out and bought it. Just like his poetry, his advice about writing poetry is clear and understandable.
LibraryThing member keely_chace
This is the poetry writing guide I wish I'd had as a creative writing student in college. Kooser offers nuts-and-bolts advice on everything from working with detail, to form, to metaphor, and he includes plenty of wonderful poems to illustrate what he's talking about. Very well done.
LibraryThing member snash
A very good no nonsense guide to writing poetry and revising poetry. He has a strong prejudice for accessible poetry and offers suggestions on how to write poetry that is accessible but still profound. Many of his metaphors and similies for the process of writing and editing make reading the book
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very enjoyable
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LibraryThing member EllieNYC
This is a lovely little book. I don't use it to exactly "work" on my poems but read to inform both my reading & writing. Koosier is clear and his examples pertinent and memorable. A nice to book to read for anyone interested in how language works.
LibraryThing member Motherofthree
I found this book practical, realistic and worth the read.



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