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How to Read a Poem...: and Start a Poetry Circle

4.01  ·  Rating Details ·  78 Ratings  ·  16 Reviews
Molly Peacock has already brought poetry into people's lives with her sold-out lectures, NPR appearances, and the creation of the "Poetry in Motion" program in the subway systems of major cities. Now she offers a book that strips away poetry's scary mystique, introducing readers to its pleasures and inspiring them to form their own poetry circles with friends. Poetry is an ...more
Paperback, 224 pages
Published March 1st 2000 by Riverhead Trade (first published October 1st 1999)
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Jan 13, 2009 Mabel rated it really liked it
An intellectual rating rather than an emotional one. Peacock's voice is sometimes too "poety" to me, and I don't always agree with her analysis, but she provides a lot of good observations, and I wish I could read a poem as in-depthly as she does.
Oct 22, 2012 Patricia rated it really liked it
I met Molly Peacock in September and am on a quest to read all her books. This little volume holds is a full semester of poetry classroom worked into its 211 pages. On my first read through, my favorite section is I n the chapter titled Joy. Peacock notes (p189-191) that poet Elizabeth Bishop uses every type of punctuation in traditional use in her poem JOY. Peacock writes,” Inside parenthesis Bishop makes her jokes—(part of the set) she says raising an eyebrow. Parentheses are like two raised ...more
Rochelle Jewel  Shapiro
Jan 08, 2008 Rochelle Jewel Shapiro rated it it was amazing
This book is for anyone who loves poetry or who has ever wanted to. Peacock takes you deeply into the life of a number of poems, helps you get into the structure, the music, and the meaning in a very intimate way.
Aug 07, 2013 Kim rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
this book was my *happiest accident* ever. Ordered a different book online, and seller mailed me this instead. It's a delightful introduction to poetry and 10 lovely poems. Poetry Circle, anyone? :)
Nov 29, 2007 Ellen marked it as to-read
been 'currently reading' this book for six years. just sayin'. . . .
Diann Blakely
Intended for the burgeoning members of book clubs, though, unfortunately, a volume that never seems to have been grasped to the hearts of such gatherings, Peacock's is a selective guide. She elects to discuss only 13 poems, recognizing the value of focus, especially for those avid general readers who avoid poetry because they think it’s too difficult or too inaccessible. Her chapters—replete with personal anecdotes, casual erudition, and keen personal insight—-center around “talismanic” poems li ...more
Apr 21, 2009 Serena rated it it was amazing
"I found grown -up poetry to be as spongy as a forest floor--your foot sinks into the pine needles, the air smells mushroomy and dank, and filtered light swirls around you till you're deep in another state." (Page 8)

Molly Peacock's How to Read a Poem . . . and Start a Poetry Circle provides a great deal of information in just 200 pages. From how to interpret poems to how to create a poetry circle and join the ranks of those dipping their feet into the poetic pool.

"Yet as strangely contemporary a
Jun 05, 2014 Lia rated it really liked it
I was interested in both learning more about reading poetry and in how to start a poetry circle (mostly the circle), and this book is juicy on the former, but parched on the latter. That bit was squished into one short chapter at the end, mostly about choosing the frequency of meetings (monthly or seasonal seems best). However, the delving into poetry section skipped analyzation and technical terms and went about chewing over some great poems with an artist's eye, which was fantastic. I really e ...more
Aug 15, 2015 Matthew rated it it was amazing
My only complaint of this book is the title -- which made me think the book might be one of those how-to guides that sticks to basic advice about poetry (like "show don't tell") and then encourages the reader to pursue community rather than publishing credits.

Instead, this book is a talented poet sharing great commentary on selected poems. The author calls her selections "talismans" but the point is that they are poems which can be appreciated on many levels (and with many visits).

I would recomm
Jack Coleman
Apr 02, 2011 Jack Coleman rated it it was amazing
Iam not into poetry circles as yet.Its hard enought to find anyone who gives a damn about
the language they speak,never mind reading poetry.
I read poetry from Shakespear to unknowns and its wonderful.Try it,try this book.
Library book sale find.
Jun 21, 2007 Michael rated it liked it
Recommends it for: people interested in poetry
Molly Peacock does a great job of introducing poetry reading, and by the end of the book, you will be eager to find some great collections on your own. She picks great poems to dissect, and while I found her to be a bit verbose at times, she is an excellent teacher. An enjoyable read!
Taylor Collins
Mar 01, 2009 Taylor Collins rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What a treat to read this. "When Evening Comes" and "The Filling Station" would be my first choice if I were going to start a poetry circle. Maybe I'll start a poetry circle soon. The world can't have enough circles or poetry!
Feb 14, 2009 Michal rated it it was amazing
Shelves: book-club
Also see A Poetry Home Repair Manual.
Dec 06, 2009 Janet rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction, poetry
This is good one.
Mike Kruse
Apr 05, 2008 Mike Kruse rated it liked it
Hey, April is Poetry Month. I need to read more poetry. How about you?
Aug 18, 2007 Cristina rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: for any reader of poetry
Shelves: poetry
I liked the way Molly broke this book into chapters that followed some aspect of the poem. She offered her favorite poems and great anecdotes. My favorite was her one-time encounter with Jane Kenyon.
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Molly Peacock is a widely anthologized poet, biographer, memoirist, and New Yorker transplanted to Toronto, her adopted city.

Her newest book of poems is THE ANALYST (W.W. Norton & Company) where she takes up a unique task: telling the story of her psychotherapist who survived a stroke by reconnecting with her girlhood talent for painting. Peacock’s latest work of nonfiction is THE PAPER GARDEN
More about Molly Peacock...

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