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A Celebration of Poets and Their CraftColeman BarksLorna Dee CervantesMark DotyDeborah GarrisonJane HirshfieldStanley Kunitz Kurtis LamkinShirley Geok-Lin LimPaul MuldoonMarge PiercyRobert Pinsky...

Title : Fooling with Words: A Celebration of Poets and Their Craft
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ISBN : 9780688177928
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 256 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Fooling with Words: A Celebration of Poets and Their Craft Reviews

  • Sarah
    2019-02-26 15:20

    Fooling With Words is a collection of interviews of poets conducted by television journalist Bill Moyers at the Dodge Poetry Festival.The Dodge Poetry Festival seems enormous and a bit weird - audiences in the thousands show up to hear some of the best poets in America read, and they clap and cheer and whoop as if they were at a rock concert. Reading about it - hearing the poets talk about their craft, about readings, and sharing their favorite poems - did a lot to restore my faith in good poetry and the existence of interesting and un-icky readings.I think the problem comes down to how hard it is to make great poetry and how easy it is to write something that looks like a poem. More than one poet in the book compared the art to jazz, which I liked - anyone can improvise on a saxophone, but you have to learn to play before you can start making things up that are beautiful and meaningful. Sure, I can put a bunch of words on a page in a poem-like shape, but only the true poets know how hard writing poetry is.One poet, Jane Hirshfield, was asked about her religion. Although she almost never explicitly writes about it, she is a Zen Buddhist who spent several years in a monastery. She describes herself as a “Teahouse Buddhist” - one who never overtly writes about Buddhism, but one whose poetry is filled with it. She explains: ”It refers to leading your life as if you were an old woman who has a teahouse on the side of the road. Nobody knows why they like to go there, they just feel good drinking her tea. She’s not known as a Buddhist teacher… all she does is simply serve tea - but still, her decades of attentiveness are part of the way she does it. No one knows about her faithful attentiveness to her practice, it’s just there, in the serving of her tea and the way she cleans the counters and washes the cups.”Although Hirshfield is talking about the tacit religion in her poetry, I think that the idea can be expanded to all of poetry - great poets must be teahouse poets. No, there’s no way to tell on the surface which poems have that attentiveness, which poems are filled with real subject matter, faith, and compassion. But, reading them aloud, it’s there - hidden, but obviously affecting each word and line.For example, while most amateur poetry readings I’ve been to focus on traditionally poetic subjects - love, death, nature, and of course, writing poetry - the poets in this book make contemporary subjects poetic: office conflicts, television, adopting a dog. Sure, all of the latter poems have a deeper layer concerning the former subjects, but the latter poems also tell a story and the latter poems are not afraid to be subtle or even a little commonplace.The poems in Fooling With Words don’t have to hide behind flowery language or the shock of private subject matter. They are simple. They sound beautiful because the poets have toiled over word choice and rhythm and meter, and then they have worked even harder to make all of their hard work hidden - to make it look clean and easy and natural. I’m still not sure if I want to go to any more literary reading and I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t be one of the 4,000 people doing the wave for Kurtis Lamkin at the Dodge Poetry Festival. But it is good to know that there are some wonderful contemporary poets out there, working away quietly in their teahouses.

  • MelissaJeanette
    2019-02-26 17:23

    I would highly recommend this book to anyone who is interested in reading more poetry but doesn't know where to begin. Not only did Moyers choose successful and talented poets, but his own prose, in introducing them, was wonderful to read as well. To say this is now a favorite book of mine is an understatement. I will treasure it. I wish I had a photographic memory so that I could mentally browse through it at will. Instead, I'll be content to often pull it off the shelf. While I didn't connect with all the poems included, I loved that each poet talked about the meaning of their poems, why they chose to become poets, what inspires them, and their approach to the craft. It was illuminating and enjoyable. I wish that Moyers had interviewed a hundred more poets so that I could continue enjoying this book for a long time to come.

  • Sue
    2019-03-16 17:24

    I loved this book. Bill Moyers interviews several poets at the Dodge Poetry Festival on their methods, philosophy, day to day writing of poetry. Then he allows them to provide samples of his and their favorite poems. This is a wonderful introduction to many different poets as well as to the making and inspiration of poetry.

  • Dayla
    2019-03-01 15:25

    This book includes passages from works by Stanley Kunitz, Lorna Dee Cervantes (Emplumada; Summer Ends Too Soon), Coleman Barks ("I See My beauty in You"), Jane Hirshfield, and Paul Muldoon ("Symposium.") . But what I am most grateful for is getting to know Robert Pinsky. Robert P was the Poet Laureate for the United States for an unprecedented three years (1997 to 2000). Robert P likes all the following poets: John Keats, Walter Savage Landor, Dante, William Carlos Williams, Ezra Pound, Allen Ginsberg, and Richard Wilbur. And since I had already read Dante in the original, I ordered Pinsky's "Dante" which he provided a new English translation for.Two phrases that caught my eye: Attention is love; I'm not waving, I'm drowning.I heard a speech that Robert P gave in 2010, where he elaborated on the following poem: On love, on grief, on every human thing, Time sprinkles Lethe's water with his wing. —Walter Savage Landor. Delicacy and finality, a "sprinkling" that is also Lethal—all accomplished in just 15 words!

  • Michelle
    2019-03-20 21:07

    Enjoyable book, interviews with several poets during a festival about what poetry means to them and how it sustains them. One common theme I found not surprising, how many examples of how poetry saved their lives. I absolutely related. As a young person, I remembered, sitting in corners, alone writing words, coping with a sad, broken life, poetry helped me cope and also saved me. Reading poetry spoke to me, I felt the words. When I read good poetry I still feel it. When words enter my mind, they help me make sense of what is happening around me. The poems and poets shared were amazing.

  • Jess
    2019-02-28 21:03

    Moyers interviews poets who talk about their work and life. Includes three or four poems by each.Moyers wrote this while attending a poetry festival. He also filmed a documentary. The book may be the least fun of the three, which is something I rarely say about books. Some interviews are better than others, just as some poems are better than others.While I like that the goal is to make a book about the person and the poem instead of a stiff how to read / appreciate poetry, there are a few moments where it comes off a bit self congratulatory. Maybe it's that it's a transcript and I can't see the authors speaking to know if they're being sincere, funny, or ridiculous and/or pompous. Not sorry I read it, some of it was interesting, and if you want to read it, I wouldn't discourage you.

  • Michael
    2019-03-17 13:28

    This has been on my shelf for years, and I'm very glad that, on a recent sleepless night, I reached for it. (The middle of the night is when, oddly enough, one contributor recommended reading poetry.) Moyers interviews a variety of poets at the Dodge Poetry Festival (a terrific event held every other year in New Jersey) about what spurred their writing; the relationship between writer and reader; and how best to "take in" poetry. Intermingled in the folksy conversations are the poets' works. Of course, given the very subjective nature of poetry, some works appeal to the reader more than others, but the book provides a really eclectic sampling of different voices and could be a very effective entree to those who may feel a bit intimidated by poetry. Timely snow day reading too!

  • Stephanie
    2019-03-16 17:59

    This is a collection of interviews of poets conducted by television journalist Bill Moyers at the Dodge Poetry Festival. I found a lot of the poets interesting; I always like hearing how real-life experiences translate into poems.I was overly annoyed, however, when one subject goes on and on about the way the word "Gloria" is sung in the Hallelujah Chorus and how meaningful it is blah blah blah. The word "gloria" does not appear in the Hallelujah Chorus. (I realize these are interview transcriptions but a footnote would have done a lot to ease my irritation.

  • Tony Roberts
    2019-03-08 20:19

    Bill Moyers is a top-notch journalist who demonstrates a love for people and a passion for democracy. Here he introduces us to several contemporary poets recognized for their craft and reveals the stories behind their words. I found a few new poets I want to explore further and several I can continue to live without.

  • Shelly
    2019-03-01 13:09

    A collection of interviews of poets at the Dodge poetry festival. It is an attempt to bring poetry closer to the average joe. And I think this was accomplished. I often wade into the poetry at the library but often emerge feeling a failure. Either I don't get it or I feel stupid for not getting it. But after reading this book, I am willing to try again and without being so hard on myself.

  • Richard
    2019-03-14 17:28

    A collection of poets and poetry with interviews and commentary by Moyers. He feels that by interviewing and knowing the poets we will better understand the poetry. I liked this book and would recommend it but I still don’t have a great understanding for poetry; at least the way I would like. This is a very readable book with insight into the lives of about 11 poets.

  • Martha
    2019-02-27 16:13

    I loved this book because I really enjoy poetry. His interviews with poets clearly show his appreciation of the written word and of what makes each of them unique. I am about halfway through "The Language of Life." I have learned about some great new poets through this set of books, and gotten some writing inspiration.

  • Susan
    2019-03-18 16:29

    The question and answer format works beautifully. I would love to read ten volumes of this! What poets say about poetry in general is super interesting. There are just enough poems included to give it all context.

  • Clarissa Olivarez
    2019-03-05 16:25

    The interviews were so insightful. I had lunch with Paul Muldoon and the portrait that Moyers paints of him is accurate and endearing. Great book overall for those who are well-versed in contemporary poetry.

  • Tyneil
    2019-03-25 13:22

    I love anything Bill Moyers does with regard to poetry. This book includes interviews with poets like Mark Doty, Jane Hirschfield and Stanley Kunitz. "Fooling with Words" and his series for PBS "The Language of Life: A Festival of Poets" and corresponding book are must haves for poetry lovers.

  • Kim
    2019-03-12 20:10

    I love Bill Moyers and I love poetry. Bill shares a bit of his personal journey as a poetry lover, but mainly the book is a collection of interviews and poems with some of the poets Bill has interviewed at the Geraldine R. Dodge Poetry Festival.

  • Tuck
    2019-03-18 17:03

    has a very nice chapter with Marge Piercy and Shirley Geok-Lin Lim. Bill Moyers introduces poets and does and "interview" of sorts with them. Usually questions to do with a specific poem. Not too highbrow, and Moyers allows authors to speak.

  • Laurie Byro
    2019-03-19 15:05

    I have had the grace to meet most of these wonderful poets and recently went to BI where Coleman Barks and Billy Collins read and were delightful. These book really brings you there as an audience member of Dodge and I would highly recommend it.

  • Shane
    2019-02-26 13:03

    Especially good for those of us who aren't hugely familiar with poetry, because Moyers interviews poets in such a way as to make their poems more accessible than they'd be otherwise.

  • Deb
    2019-03-10 14:01

    I borrowed this from the library, but want a copy for my own. Terrific sampling of (a wide range of) poets who discuss specific poems & their craft of poetry.

  • Marsha
    2019-03-22 14:59

    Laurie R loves --

  • Dianne Merridith
    2019-03-11 15:16

    I enjoyed the poetry.

  • Foxglow
    2019-03-01 21:28

    A look into the lives and work of eleven contemporary poetry composers. Just enough to make you want to read more of their works. Perfect.

  • Penny
    2019-03-22 15:18

    A fabulous book where Moyers interviews several poets who are at the Dodge Festival and speaks with them about their craft. Includes eexamples form each of the poets. LOved it!

  • Debra S.
    2019-03-09 15:24

    a great one chapter before turning out the lights book--a little poetry and musings.

  • Brandon
    2019-03-12 21:24

    It's nice to get to know the poets behind the poems a bit, and who better to facilitate such a thing than Bill Moyers?

  • Jenny
    2019-03-08 21:17


  • Sharon Elaine
    2019-03-22 14:07

    Fell in love with poetry because of this book!

  • Chanita.Shannon
    2019-03-09 14:28

    Saw this special on PBS about the National Storytelling Festival and had to buy the book. Highly recommended.

  • John
    2019-03-09 15:21

    More from Moyers and the great contemporary poets