Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Sleeping on the Wing: An Anthology of Modern Poetry with Essays on Reading and Writing

Sleeping on the Wing is a wonderful book for both readers and writers of poetry.

Sleeping on the Wing, by Kenneth Koch and Kate Farrell, is a poetry anthology and a manual for writing poetry.  It "includes poets who have written from the middle of the nineteenth century until now," including poets from many parts of the world, poets who write "in a great variety of poetic styles, of themes, of ideas of what poetry is."

Following each poet's poems is a short essay about the poet to help you "become familiar with the poet's style, help you see the point of writing that way, and in general give you a way to begin to feel at ease with reading the poems." Following each essay is a writing prompt that provides suggestions on how to write poems in that poet's style.

Writing poetry in a master poet's style is good for two reasons.  It's a good way to learn and practice different styles of writing, and it's also a good way to gain insights into the master poet's poetry.

The introduction is organized according to the following topics:
  • The Poets in This Book
  • Modern Poetry
  • Reading Poetry
  • Talking About Poetry
  • Using the Writing Suggestions in This Book
  • Writing Poetry on Your Own
The book ends with a note to teachers that provides practical suggestions for using the book in the classroom.

Poets Featured the Book
  • Walt Whitman
  • Emily Dickinson
  • Gerard Manley Hopkins
  • Arthur Rimbaud
  • William Butler Yeats
  • Gertrude Stein
  • Ranier Maria Rilke
  • Wallace Stevens
  • Guillaume Apollinaire
  • William Carlos Williams
  • D.H. Lawrence
  • Ezra Pound
  • T.S. Eliot
  • Vladimir Mayakowsky
  • E.E. Cummings
  • Federico Garcia Lorca
  • W.H. Auden
  • Allen Ginsberg
  • Frank O'Hara
  • John Ashbery
  • Gary Snyder
  • Leroi Jones (Imamu Amira Baraka)
  • Kenneth Koch
I have found that I learn best by doing. This book provides an excellent entranceway into the world of poetry and into the front yards of quite a few poets. Perhaps it will be of some use to you. I have used the book when teaching Walt Whitman, having the students write their own "Song of Myself."  The students found the assignment exciting, challenging, and empowering--not a bad combination.

Copyright 2010 by Thomas L. Kepler, all rights reserved

1 comment:

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