Is it possible to teach someone how to write a poem? Or does poetry simply “come from the heart” or from a special talent only some can ever hope to have?
Of course there’s no formula for writing an amazing poem. If poems came with instructions like IKEA® coffee tables, we'd all be missing the point. But this book will give you some strategies—some tools, if you will—to assemble your personal, imaginative raw materials into poems that will surprise and intrigue.
These strategies are focused primarily on free verse, yet many of the concepts can also be applied to form poetry, at both the inception and revision stages.
How to Write a Poem uses images like the buzz, the switch, the wave—from the Billy Collins poem “Introduction to Poetry”—to guide writers into new ways of writing poems. Excellent teaching tool. Anthology and prompts included.
***What Teachers and Librarians Are Saying***
For years I’ve searched for a poetry-writing text that provides enough substance without the inevitable overload of content I’ll never cover. Now my search is complete. The companion to her insightful and accessible How to Read a Poem (and written in the same inviting tone), Tania Runyan’s How to Write a Poem contains three essential elements I’ve yet to find in one poetry-writing text: generous and informed instruction, dozens of compelling example poems, and rich and plentiful exercises that avoid tricks and gimmicks. Any poetry-writing teacher would do well to assign this text. Any writer would do well to draft and revise poems based upon these prompts.
—Nathaniel L. Hansen; Assistant Professor of English & Creative Writing, University of Mary Hardin-Baylor; Director, Windhover Writers' Festival
How To Write A Poem is a classroom must-have. Through a selection of evocative poetry and a series of accessible exercises, Runyan shows readers how to gather ideas, choose words, strengthen imagery and sound, and she models each of these skills as she writes alongside her readers. This is compassionate, beautiful writing that invites us into the world of poems.
—Callie Feyen, Middle School Teacher, Maryland
As a buyer of nonfiction for our library’s young adult department, I will most definitely be purchasing multiple copies of How to Write a Poem. Our library already owns several copies of Runyan’s How to Read A Poem, and this companion piece will make an excellent addition to our collection. After reading this book, I felt as though I had attended a poetry seminar in which the teacher valued my work and really wanted to help me become a better poet. It’s been thirty years since I last wrote a poem. This little gem may just change that!
—Jenna Melberg, Young Adult Associate, Lake Villa Public Library
This book is like having a supportive best friend and accomplished poet sit down to help you start writing poems. Clear, concise treatment of the craft elements of poetry. A great companion to Runyan’s How to Read a Poem, which we already assign to help students come up to speed on annotations—we’ll surely make use of How to Write a Poem, too!
—Jeanetta Calhoun Mish, Ph.D.; Director, The Red Earth Low-Residency MFA