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The Poetry Toolkit


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Table of Contents

Acknowledgements Copyright Acknowledgements Preface to the Third Edition Part I: Introducing Poetry Introduction How to Use This Book 1. Types and Traditions Part II: Technical Vocabulary 2. Form 2.1 Variable Forms 2.2 Fixed Forms 2.3 Visual Forms 2.4 Hybrid Forms 2.5 'Formless' Forms 3. Prosody 3.1 Stress 3.2 Metre 3.3 Feet 3.4 Metrical Lines 4. Rhyme 4.1 Perfect Rhymes 4.2 Imperfect Rhymes 4.3 Sight and Sound Effects 4.4 Rhyme Schemes 5. Stanza 5.1 One-line Stanzas and Refrains 5.2 Two-line Stanzas (Couplets) 5.3 Three-line Stanzas (Tercets) 5.4 Four-line Stanzas (Quatrains) 6. Wordplay 6.1 Tropes 6.2 Schemes Part III: Practical 7. Close Readings 8. Comparisons 9. Suggested Exercises 10. Writing About Poetry Sources and Suggestions for Further Reading Guide to the Companion Website Index

Promotional Information

Now covering a greater diversity of poetic voices and expanded practical guidance on reading and writing about poetry, the third edition of The Poetry Toolkit is an essential introduction to the study of poetry.

About the Author

Rhian Williams is Lecturer in English Literature at the University of Glasgow, UK.


This is an inspirational guide to studying poetry, exciting for beginners and experienced readers alike. A tour de force of succinctness, clarity, and adroit cross referencing, it is not only a tour through every conceivable feature a reader could need - from the sonnet form to synloepha, from sesta rima to syllepsis - but an imaginative and arresting exposition of the way poets have used them, whether Dante or David Jones, Sappho or E E Cummings, Milton or Deryn Rees-Jones. Rhian Williams aims to set readers free by building confidence with genre and form, metre and rhyme, demystifying technicalities and terminology, providing follow up reading, and appealing to curiosity and the sense of experiment. She urges readers to read poems aloud, to listen to sounds, mark rhythms, and imagine themselves inside the poem before moving out to its history and context. After reading this book newcomers to poetry will learn to love reading and writing about it. -- Isobel Armstrong, FBA and Emeritus Professor of English at Birkbeck, University of London, UK Whether you're a new-comer to poetry or a longtime reader, Rhian Williams' The Poetry Toolkit offers welcomed guidance. The book ranges from the introductory (what does "stress" mean?) to the sophisticated and complex. Throughout, the author provides clear frameworks for interpreting how poetry's formal structures participate in the work of meaning-making. This book will relieve students' anxiety and deepen their understanding. -- Dr Jason R. Rudy. Assistant Professor of English University of Maryland, College Park, USA The Poetry Toolkit will be a valued for many readers, both academic and `general'. Every reader will learn something from it - it is rare to have riches such as this in a single textbook. -- WordPlay How does one get started in the world of poetry, either as the consumer or the producer? The Poetry Toolkit: the Essential Guide to Studying Poetry hopes to educate and inspire readers to better understand the world of poetry. Chapters cover the eccentricities of truly understanding poetry from a reader's perspective. Packed with advice and tips for poetry appreciation, The Poetry Toolkit is an intriguing introductory dive in the world of the poet. The Poetry Toolkit is just what some people need to break that daunting poetry wall. -- Midwest Book Review The Poetry Toolkit conveys Williams's genuine enthusiasm for the genre's expressive and descriptive possibilities - an excitement that the volume's accessible style and layout make it easy for students to share. I have tried many "introduction to poetry" volumes during the ten-plus years I've been teaching such classes; in The Poetry Toolkit, I've finally found one that I happily foresee using for many years to come. -- Evan Gottlieb, Associate Professor of English, Oregon State University, USA

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