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Macmillan Higher Education Palgrave Higher Education

The Portable Poetry Workshop

ISBN 9781137607034
Publication Date December 2016
Formats Hardcover Paperback 
Publisher Palgrave

This book explores the art of poetry writing from a practice-based perspective, showing how form, trope and theory inform the practical craft of writing poems. It is divided into three key sections:

  • Form and structure, covering sonnets, ballads, blank verse and more
  • Trope and device, introducing topics such as irony, imagery and voice
  • Poetics and practice, which discusses the writing of poets such as Robert Frost, Amy Lowell and Frank O’Hara

Each chapter unpacks a particular concept or form, using examples to display it in practice. The book is filled with exercises to get you writing, and hints and tips for effective re-writing and for avoiding common pitfalls. Written by published poets, many of whom teach writing or literature, The Portable Poetry Workshop will push you to explore beyond your creative writing boundaries.

Nigel McLoughlin is a poet whose work has been widely published over the last twenty years. His fifth collection, entitled Chora: New and Selected Poems, was published by Templar Poetry in 2009, and recordings of his work were selected for inclusion in The Poetry Archive. He is Professor of Creativity and Poetics at the University of Gloucestershire, UK.

SECTION I: FORM AND STRUCTURE 1. Varieties of The Sonnet; Nigel McLoughlin
2. Terza Rima; Martin Figura
3. The Villanelle; Siobhan Campbell
4. The Ballad; Paul Hardwick
5. Sestinas; Barbara Smith
6. The Ode; Tony Williams
7. Modern Syllabics; Claire Crowther
8. Blank Verse; Ros Barber
9. Vers Libre/Free Verse; Todd Swift
10. The Prose Poem; Carrie Etter
11. Taking Form: Experimental and Avant Garde Forms; Robert Sheppard
12. Spatial Form; Mario Petrucci
SECTION II: TROPE AND DEVICE 13. Prosody; J. T. Welsch
14. Rhyme; Angela Topping
15. Simile; Andrea Holland
16. Metaphor; Nigel McLoughlin
17. How to Make a Woman Disappear: Extended Metaphor in 'Waiting for Bluebeard'; Helen Ivory
18. Irony is for Losers; Kevin Higgins
19. Dramatic Monologue; Barbara Smith
20. Humour in Poetry; Todd Swift
21. Imagery; Ashley Lister
22. Persona; Angela France 
23. Voice; Andrea Holland
24. The Singing Within; Ann Drysdale
SECTION III: POETICS AND PRACTICE 25. Gerard Manley Hopkins: Sprung Rhythm, Inscape & Instress; Nigel McLoughlin
26. Towards a Reading of 'The Mountain' by Robert Frost; Siobhan Campbell
27. Amy Lowell: Common Sense Readings; Ashley Lister
28. Eliot and Pound: The Better Makers; Todd Swift
29. The Meaning of Meaning: William Empson; Claire Crowther
30. Gertrude Stein: Poetry & Grammar; J. T. Welsch
31. Charles Olson's Projective Verse: The Breath and the Line; Kate North
32. Frank O'Hara: Personism; Barbara Smith
33. William Carlos Williams: Music and Machines; Susan Millar DuMars
34. Maurice Scully and the Avant Garde; Paul Perry
35. When is a Riddle not a Riddle?; Helen Ivory
36. Muriel Rukeyser: The Social Role of Poetry; Claire Crowther.


‘I love this book for its combination of practicality, context and readability. It is plain speaking, but it is also much more than that, it is thoroughly engaging!’ – Graeme Harper, Oakland University, USA
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