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The 6.5 Practices of Moderately Successful Poets: A Self-Help Memoir Paperback – Mar 20 2012

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 225 pages
  • Publisher: Sarabande Books (March 20 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1936747278
  • ISBN-13: 978-1936747276
  • Product Dimensions: 21.3 x 13.7 x 2 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 272 g
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #789,185 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Back Cover
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 6 reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
For Artists of All Kinds July 16 2012
By T. Persun - Published on
Format: Paperback
This is a great book. Skinner writes about being a poet, but his stories and suggestions fit with any type of writer or artist. Rather than taking itself too seriously, the book was written with a sense of humor. Yet, like all humor, there is a lot of truth in the book as well. Some of the lists alone are worth the price of the book. Some of the best chapters encourage the reader to find a poetry (or painter, or musician) companion, to discipline yourself, and to make use of everything. I couldn't wait to get up in the morning and read this book. I highly recommend it. I've even quoted from the book in a blog post or two.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Best Poetry Class Ever Oct. 3 2012
By Susan Bower Carter - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Part memoir - part instruction - alllll right. I have learned more about poetry---more about thinking about poetry, more about enjoying poetry than I have from any other class ever. Jeffrey Skinner died earlier this year. I wish I could have written him to say what a good writer he is, period, whether poetry or prose. His description of working for his father is fabulous. Read the chapter called "The Background Check." You feel how he felt. He taught me how to read a poem. He introduced me to poets I had heard of, but never met: Rilke, Elizabeth Bishop, and more. He's giving me the courage to write poetry.[[ASIN:B00761XNHS The 6.5 Practices of Moderately Successful Poets: A Self-Help Memoir (The Writer's Studio)] is a wonderful book.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
A nice journey and kick in the pants as well Sept. 22 2012
By Craig K - Published on
Format: Paperback
You may not need to know Mr. Skinner to become a moderately successful poet, but you'll be glad you made his acquaintance through this fine, funny book. Especially if you are a writer, a reader or just someone looking to learn something. Highly recommended for all writers who need a reminder of how hard the job is, but also why giving up is never the right option. (You might not want to quote the part about necessary selfishness to your spouse or partner, though).
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Distilled Truths Aug. 28 2012
By Ohioan - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a very good book, an inspiration to all aspiring poets and even to writers in general. In easy-to-read, humorous accounts of his life as a child, a student, and a professor of poetry, Skinner summarizes the "6.5" practices of, as he calls them, "moderately successful poets." That is: not geniuses, not off-the-scale talent, but ordinary people who, if they have a poetry flame inside, can nurture it and live by it. The 6.5 practices range from the first (and possibly the most important), which can be summarized as Protect Your Talent, to the last, Take the Long View.

Each of the practices Skinner lists is of great importance to a writer, and each is presented in such a casual, just-talking kind of manner that the truth of what the author says shines through. His anecdotes, particularly the ones from his days as a security guard, are interesting and intriguing, even. But they're also a bit frustrating to read because in a few cases it seems as if more, not less, is called for. In the chapter on Makes Use, for example, we're given the story of Bobby the Ape (a man, not an ape), and although the story seems unrelated to anything that came before in the book or anything that comes after, it's clear that the story must be there as an example of a poet "making use" of everything that has happened to him or her, everything he or she has experienced. While as a reader I can intellectually understand that Jeffrey Skinner must have made use of the experience of knowing Bobby the Ape, I as a reader also yearn to see an example of HOW he made use of this material. Was it in an entire poem? A stanza? A line? A word choice, even? Surely the writer knows how he made use of it, else how could he put it in the book as an example of making use? In general, I think this book would be even better it it contained some poetry in addition to the one poem by Thomas Hardy that it does contain, and if that poetry illustrated the point the author was making.

My other complaint about the book is that a little bit of the author's humorous sidebars (letters to the editor, Pre-MFA Quiz) goes a long way. These sidebars are so long that they cease being funny and seem to exist only to give the book more pages.

But my objections are minor in comparison to the worth of the book. If you are a poet and need inspiration to continue writing poetry, read this book. If you're a writer with whom the world is too much late and soon, and need to know that others have trod the writing path and can point out the serpentine trails, the box canyons, the quiet brooks, and the resting places, read this book -- you will welcome it as a thirsty traveler welcomes water.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Great fun July 30 2012
By Ktina - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is great fun for poets, would-be poets, and general readers who love poetry. Engaging witty style! Plenty of knowledge of the subject. Buy it!