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Sunday, October 8, 2017

How-To Book for Beginning (And Not-So-Beginning!) Poets

How to Write Classical Poetry
Subtitle: A Guide to Forms, Techniques, and Meaning
Coeditors: Evan Mantyk, Connie Phillips
Publisher: Classical Poets Publishing, 2017; 
156 pages; $19.99
ISBN-10: 1546853316

Submitted by Carol Smallwood, author of In Hubble’s Shadow (Shanti Arts, 2017) and In the Measuring  (Finishing Line Press, 2017)

How to Write Classical Poetry: A Guide to Forms, Techniques, and Meaning is divided into three parts. The first is why great poetry is still useful today. The second is how to write specific forms such as the haiku, triolet, villanelle, rondeau, terza rima, limerick, rubaiyat, pantoum, sestina, rhupunt with examples of them as modern and classical poems. The third is ten of the most famous from such giants as Robert Frost, William Shakespeare with discussion about each poem.
As a writer and reader I’ve often wondered what exactly makes a formal poem or a free verse poem and how does a sonnet differ from a villanelle—and what about rhyme and/or meter? Or more basically, what makes meter? The classical forms of poetry in my experience are not often covered in creative writing classes so this guide is most timely. 
An example of its usefulness is the section about the sonnet divided into four levels:

Easy: A Sonnet in 10 Minutes
Medium: Rhyme-y Poetry
Medium-Difficult: Poetry with Rhyme and Structure
Difficult: Sonnet in Iambic Pentameter and Careful Attention to Meaning
The guide includes a painting selected as a subject to write about with steps on writing with samples of each level of difficulty in composing.
“The Mechanics of Classical Poetry” a six- page discussion of rhyme and meter: terms to understand better such as iamb, trochee, and couplets, octets. “How to Write a Poem Like ‘The Raven,” a 11 page discussion about how the poem is written (deciphering the meter), a modern example, and writing one of your own.
The Society of Classical Poets, the publishers of the book, was formed as a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization to foster good poetry as well as formal poetry in 2012. You can subscribe and have free formal poetry e-mailed to you on their website: http://classicalpoets.org. One of the editors, Evan Mantyk is a teacher and the President and Editor and they accept poetry, essays, reviews, and offer competitions, annual journals, and much more on their visually stunning, constantly updated site. The Society has members around the world with a physical location in Mount Hope, New York.


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