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Poetry Dictionary [Paperback]

John Drury
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Dec 15 2005

The language of poetry is rich and complex—from abstract language to voice, with all the enjambment, Nashers and sprung rhythm in between. The Poetry Dictionary illuminates and unravels it all with clear, working definitions.

In addition, you'll find vivid and thorough descriptions, along with examples from classic and contemporary poetry, Greek to avant-garde, to illustrate the terms. In many cases, several different poems are used to show the evolution of the form, making The Poetry Dictionary a unique anthology of the art. It's a guide to the poetry of today and yesterday, with intriguing hints as to what tomorrow holds.

Author/poet John Drury focuses on those terms that are useful to students and teachers. These are words you need to effectively discuss the craft—concepts that will broaden and stimulate your own creative processes. Drury's from-experience viewpoint and spirited voice keep The Poetry Dictionary relevant, immediate and not only easy to read, but hard not to.


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John Drury's Poetry Dictionary is no dreary list of defined terms to cram for your poetry final. It's a work of art in itself, written in Drury's engagingly lucid prose, liberally spiced with examples from the world's best poets. Curious about sequence? Drury gives a clear definition of the term, followed by Katha Pollitt's "Vegetable Poems" in sequence 1-5. Forgotten the rules of the villanelle? Drury explains the form, gives a little historic background, and presents examples by Jean Passerat, Edwin Arlington Robinson, Dylan Thomas, Weldon Kees, and James Cummins. Never has a poetry dictionary been so browsable, so erudite, and so engaging. --Stephanie Gold --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

John Drury is a professor of English and creative writing. His poems have appeared in many reviews and publications.

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Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fun read, a great resource Sept. 30 2000
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover
This text is beautifully organized; it's intriguing, and leads the reader on from reference to reference, poem to poem. It's littered with examples and a wide variety of poems, citing old works as well as contemporary reworkings of old forms, Neruda and Keats under Odes, Passerat (16th century) and Weldon Kees (20th century) under Villanelles. Definitions are clear and easy to understand. A fun read, a great resource.
Was this review helpful to you?
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Essential! June 29 1999
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover
If you are a professional, aspiring or amateur poet, this book is a must have. Part anthology, part dictionary, part encyclopedia, it provides indespensible and clear advice. There is inspiration on practically every page!
Was this review helpful to you?
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover
An invaluable aid to anyone interested in reading or writing poetry.
Arranged alphabetically, as you would suspect, the book covers forms, poetic
movements, the elements of poetry, and rhetorical devices. My highest
recommendation. A continuing source of information and inspiration.
Was this review helpful to you?
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars  13 reviews
23 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful book, must have for poets, poetry readers Nov. 1 1996
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
An invaluable aid to anyone interested in reading or writing poetry.
Arranged alphabetically, as you would suspect, the book covers forms, poetic
movements, the elements of poetry, and rhetorical devices. My highest
recommendation. A continuing source of information and inspiration.
21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Encourages While Educating Poets June 13 2006
By FictionAddiction.NET - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
From Abecedarium (a poem arranged according to the alphabet) to Word (the basic unit of the sentence) The Poetry Dictionary takes us on a journey of discovery.

Along the way we encounter such familiar terms as Poem, Carol and Muse and unfamiliar terms like Drottkvaett (an Old Norse stanzaic form) and Synecdoche (a figure of speech in which a part of something indicates the whole). We find old standards penned by the likes of William Shakespeare and Robert Browning but also see lesser-known verse by Woodrow Wilson and Agha Shahid Ali.

Such a book cannot, however, be created by a single man. The acknowledgments make it clear that many individuals contribute to the dictionary. Even Dante Gabriel Rossetti and Lord Byron pitch in, providing translations for Francois Villon's "The Ballad of Dead Ladies" and Dante Alighieri's "Francesca of Rimini" respectively.

Throughout the dictionary, related terms are grouped into major entries and subordinate terms are placed within larger entries. Terms that appear elsewhere as individual entries are proceeded by asterisks, creating a web of connections that shows how the elements of poetry are intertwined.

Each entry provides a pronunciation guide and a definition in the first paragraph. Additional paragraphs give more information.

Many entries contain one or more model poems that illustrate poetic forms or devices. Most of the examples are whole poems, but some are excerpts from longer works.

The Poetry Dictionary may be read as a guide to the practice and history of verse or as an annotated anthology of model poems.
14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Essential! June 29 1999
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
If you are a professional, aspiring or amateur poet, this book is a must have. Part anthology, part dictionary, part encyclopedia, it provides indespensible and clear advice. There is inspiration on practically every page!
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars the best I could find July 9 2009
By Ann C. Byrne - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Asked to provide a reference book for a grad stu who lacked acquaintance with poetry, but was taking a first course in it, I bought and read several of the highest rated books. John Drury's was far and away the best, providing an alphabetical arrangement of glossary, and definitions supported by multiple, clear (and pleasingly unusual) examples. Prosody, always a tricky subject, made as clear as possible, contemporary song lyrics (see SONG) treated with intelligent respect -- it also simmers with an infectious delight in all kinds of poems. I bought another copy for the student, so I could dip often into this book for pleasure, as well as enlightenment.
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fun read, a great resource Sept. 30 2000
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
This text is beautifully organized; it's intriguing, and leads the reader on from reference to reference, poem to poem. It's littered with examples and a wide variety of poems, citing old works as well as contemporary reworkings of old forms, Neruda and Keats under Odes, Passerat (16th century) and Weldon Kees (20th century) under Villanelles. Definitions are clear and easy to understand. A fun read, a great resource.
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