From the forward:
"For me the private act of writing poetry is songwriting, confessional, diary-keeping, speculation, problem-solving, storytelling, therapy, anger management, craftsmanship, relaxation, concentration and spiritual adventure all in one inexpensive package."
"Personally, I find writing without form, metre or rhyme not 'laughably easy' but fantastically difficult. If you can do it, good luck to you and farewell, this book is not for you: but a word of warning from W.H. Auden before you go.
The poet who writes 'free' verse is like Robinson Crusoe on his desert island: he must do all his cooking, laundry and darning for himself. In a few exceptional cases, this manly independence produces something original and impressive, but more often the result is squalor - dirty sheets on the unmade bed and empty bottles on the unswept floor."
"I hope reading this book will ...awaken the poet that has always lain dormant within.
It is never too late. We are all opsimaths.
Opsimath, noun: one who learns late in life.
Let us go forward together now, both opsimathically and optimistically. Nothing can hold us back. The ode beckons."
I have long wanted to learn more about poetry, specifically writing poetry. I read Stephen Fry's book (The Ode Less Travelled: Unlocking the Poet Within) a year or two ago, but this is not just a book to read. It is a book to work through. And now I am working. With only a few more weeks of the school year ahead, I am planning on getting my husband to join me in poetry summer school. His assumed "YES!" is one of those advantages of marrying an English major and language arts teacher.
As Fry said, "Nothing can hold us back." Let the poetry begin.