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"The Poetry Handbook" is a lucid and practical guide to the poet's craft. There are chapters on metre, form, layout, lineation, punctuation, rhyme, diction, syntax, history, biography, and gender, as well as one on exams which includes sample essays by undergraduates. At the end of every chapter each topic is applied to the same poem, Nobel-winner Derek Walcott's 'Nearing Forty', building up a full technical reading. Critical and scholarly terms are italicized and clearly explained, both in the text and in glossaries; notes and quotations are supplemented by detailed reference to both the Oxford Anthology of English Literature and the Norton Anthology of Poetry; and there is a substantial 'Suggestions for Further Reading' section. Designed particularly for A-level and undergraduate students facing exams in Practical Criticism, The Poetry Handbook will fascinate and reward anyone interested in how poems work.
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Lennard succeeds in being as exhaustive as he can possibly be... (Caroline Bertoneche, Universite de Provence)
Very readable... gives and excellent overview of poetry in English and will explain rhythm, metre and style. (The Observer, February 2006)
John Lennard is a Fellow and Director of Studies in English at Trinity Hall, Cambridge.
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