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Poemcrazy: Freeing Your Life with Words

4.11  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,599 Ratings  ·  124 Reviews
Following the success of several recent inspirational and practical books for would-be writers, Poemcrazy is a perfect guide for everyone who ever wanted to write a poem but was afraid to try. Writing workshop leader Susan Wooldridge shows how to think, use one's senses, and practice exercises that will make poems more likely to happen.

From the Hardcover edition.

ebook, 224 pages
Published September 30th 2009 by Broadway Books (first published 1996)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Randolph Knackstedt
If you are new to poetry and would like to start writing your own poems for fun, but are not sure how to start, this book is for you. This is a great, unintimidating book for all ages. And a great introduction for those who might not have much interest in poetry, in general, because the author has included short, simple, exercises at the end of each chapter that is both creative and fun which ANYONE can try.

Even if you are an experienced poet, you might come across tips that could initiate the c
Stephanie Tom
I love this to no end. A memoir with heart and a treatise for poets, Susan Goldsmith Woolridge writes as I wish to someday. She's set me off on a spiritual journey to find myself, and I'm grateful for her words. This is a book I'll read over and over, one that will stay on my shelves through time, and one that I won't mind paging through until it's worn. (It's only five stars because there isn't a rating called an infinite amount of googolplex love.)
Jan 29, 2012 Dorothea rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Local writer writes about "freeing your life with words." *two snaps in a zig-zag* LOVE HER!

I was wonderfully blessed to attend a free poetry-writing workshop taught by Susan G. Wooldridge at the public library in Oroville, CA in April 2011. Gods, how I love this woman and her Poemcrazy book! If I had to name one person who has had the biggest impact on my writing, it would be Wooldridge.

This book is a must if you write and are seeking inspiration.
This book is amazing! The key turned in the door of my mind and I am free to write with a playful heart and mind. This book will have a permanent place on my shelf and in my mind! If you want to free your creative self, unlock the poet within this is the book for you! Fall in love with the world through the magic of words, words, and more words! This book and the exercises within are a sheer pleasure!
Mar 30, 2008 S. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry, women-writers
This wasn't full of great prompts or theory or anything (compared, for example, to "In the Palm of Your Hand"), but I found this book really touching in its way, and inspiring. She writes as if she's having a conversation with the reader, and she provides some excellent example poems.
Elizabeth A
Dec 27, 2012 Elizabeth A rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2012
I'm not a huge fan of poetry. Had a teacher drain all the joy out of poems for me when I was a wee one. However, I am slowly finding my way back. This book is a fun creative tool for people who love words. Yes, there are lessons on how to put those words into poems, but it is the word play that hooked me. Love the idea of word banks. Interspersed with the lessons are anecdotes from the author's life and classes. And while I might not be rushing to my desk to write a poem, reading this book has c ...more
Clarity Jackson
Sep 05, 2012 Clarity Jackson rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is an incredible little tool. I have filled several journals in the process of reading and rereading this book. Warm and encouraging with just enough truth and grit and anecdotes to inspire even the most reluctant writers to pick up a pen and tell their story.
Jul 29, 2012 Katherine rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read this book, borrowed from someone else, over a number of months. It is a book to be savoured, pondered on and reread. Many of the author's suggestions I tried and considered successfully.
Candace Marie
Nov 23, 2014 Candace Marie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book has helped me to remember the small things I'd forgotten about why I love writing poetry. It's given me some useful practices and tools for future "stuck" moments.
I also love the whimsical attitude taken by Ms. Wooldridge. Her emphasis on being in and writing in the present is something I often struggle with. The way this author describes writing poetry and playing with words makes me remember my love for the craft and inspires me to do more with the words in my head.
Fantastic read-
Dec 20, 2010 Kit rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry-drama
I’ve read many books about poetry that are a bit dry and hardly personal (A Poetry Handbook, while wonderful, is a good example of this). However, on one of my many Barnes and Noble excursions I found a lovely little book called Poemcrazy written by Susan Goldsmith Wooldridge.

Poemcrazy is different from your average “this is how you write a poem” book. Each chapter tells a story in many ways; usually experiences from the author followed by a section called “practice”, which contains very creativ
Mar 13, 2010 Rose rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry, non-fiction
I bought Poemcrazy at a book sale at my undergraduate university and used it after taking a few creative writing classes in poetry.

There's a give and take with this book I think people will weigh on a scale depending on how you approach the art of poetry writing. While she talks about her life in spurts in this book, and while I didn't find myself always stepping into her shoes, I found that her exercises were actually quite useful in their natural flow and simple approach. I used them in random
Sep 25, 2012 Karsten rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sabbatical-reads
I came to this book skeptically because subtitles like "freeing your life with words" are usually ooky over-promises. And while your life may or may not be freed with words, your words may well be freed by this optimistic and helpful book.

Much of the book is made up of stories of Wooldridge's experiences with students and fellow-writers as they face challenges in life and writing. As a result, the mileage most people will get from the book will depend on you you feel about these episodes.

For me
Reading this book was like hanging out with an eccentric yet endearing aunt. You're not sure you totally buy into all of her New Age, hippie wisdom, but she's still fun to hang out with. Part instruction, part memoir, part self-help, Woolridge focuses not so much on technique as on inspiring the creative process. The writing exercises she provides throughout didn't quite resonate with me personally, but I enjoyed her personal anecdotes and whimsical style.
Margaret1358 Joyce
This is a beginner book on poetics, quite delightfully put together. It exudes freshness and sheer joy in wordplay.It gets a little 'deeper' toward the end where the discussion tends toward thoughts on the poet's relationship with his/her unconscious.E.g. There's a quote from Norman Mailer to the effect that a writer must be married to his/her unconscious. In all, a good read!!
Jonathan Stemberger
Susan Wooldridge aspires to bring inspiration, encouragement and a challenge to writers in this book. She states real life experiences to explain her writing process. Wooldridge uses detailed imagery that not only tells of creativity in life, but also demonstrates it. She breaks down the subject of poetry and describes it with simple non intimidating language. The book is formatted into short 2-3 page chapters, which provide the reader time to take in each message. Wooldridge’s does not display ...more
Jan 13, 2016 Ashley rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was very inspiring and provided wonderful tools for crafting words into poems. Unlike most how-to books, this one did not offer many prompts, but posed suggestions of ways to stimulate your unconscious into creating wordpools. I especially enjoyed all of the wonderful ways in which the author taught her students to dream up words. I may just have to raid the paint section of Home Depot and snag some paint strips to create my very own wordpools :)
A poet's spliced memoir-cum-writing guide, with life and art advice thrown in the mix. I enjoyed rambling on nature walks with Wooldridge, hearing her philosophy of writing and where her poems come from. The poetry exercises were useful, open-ended, and very repeatable.
I read through this quickly. More for beginners but it's always good to collect some interesting writing prompts and practice exercises of which there are many. Goldsmith Wooldridge's writing is colorful and full of the sort of play she's trying to encourage.
Mary Jo
May 10, 2012 Mary Jo rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is the kind of book that reconnects my soul to my inner creative and my outer poet. Similar to Natalie Goldberg's books weaving true stories of life and teaching and writing mixed with fun and quirky writing exercises like cutting phrases from magazines and taping them to backs of tickets, creating a word pool and matching colors with abstract words & emotions. I found myself waking to write, linking opposite words in normal conversations and loving the taste of words on my tongue and s ...more
Jul 14, 2015 Kathleen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of my very favorite books. It's definitely a keeper if you're a writer - I hated giving mine away, but it was a book that needed to be passed on. I will get another one for my collection. That's how much I loved this book.
Jan 23, 2015 Lani rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a book that I refuse to lend out for fear I will never get it back. What a wonderful gift Susan has given in this "workbook" of creativity and ideas. One of the few books I took when I moved overseas.
Feb 15, 2015 Beth rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Part instruction, part inspiration, and wonderfully written. For poets, would-be poets, and poets at heart. Lovely book, and one I'll keep at hand and refer back to for a very long time.
Mar 13, 2010 GNOWP rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry-books
This is a great book to get you writing poetry for yourself and with your students. It has great suggestions, examples, and advice. I used it in my classroom for several years. One of the teachers I worked with used this book to gain the courage to approach having her students write poetry. She did not write poetry herself, and this gave her the extra boost she needed to become unafraid of poetry.

excerpt: "For me, poetry is related to walking. Words and images fill me when I wander somewhere al
Lisa Jones england
Great book with short sections I can read on a break at work. I keep it in my desk and have read it several times over at this point.Has helped me out of many writers block moments.
Dec 19, 2012 Rawknrobyn rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In a moment of panic, I feared I'd written my last good poem. So I bought poemcrazy. About halfway through the book, I grabbed a paper and pen and began scrawling out a poem with more passion than ever before. It's one of my best.

Allow yourself to melt into these pages, and they'll work like magic. Through her insights, poetic prose, gentle encouragement, and fun exercises, Susan Wooldridge brings out the poet in all of us. Moreover, she offers a way of interacting with the world that instills a
Apr 05, 2014 Coreena rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Susan took the time to write me a postcard, which I have stapled inside the book.
"Be sloppy. Steal words. Carry a journal."
Nov 25, 2014 Katie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: default
I adore this book. I refer to it over and overwhen my muse gets stuck. It's one of my standbys.
Daniel Klawitter
Nov 19, 2014 Daniel Klawitter rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
One of the best poem-prompt books I've read. A real inspiration and the writing is lovely
Oct 28, 2015 Steven rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Poemcrazy is an inspiring book of ideas and techniques to write poems through a more meditative and spiritual approach.
I was extremely skeptical of this book when I first picked it up, but I was desperate for materials to use in teaching a high school creative writing course. Poemcrazy ended up being perfect! Susan Wooldridge encourages students to look at words and the world in a new way. This little book gave me and the students a few good ideas, including running around the school with random favorite words on post-its and labeling (and mislabeling) different objects and surfaces. Need a little inspiration to ...more
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  • The Practice of Poetry: Writing Exercises From Poets Who Teach
  • The Poet's Companion: A Guide to the Pleasures of Writing Poetry
  • In the Palm of Your Hand: The Poet's Portable Workshop
  • A Poetry Handbook
  • A Writer's Book of Days: A Spirited Companion and Lively Muse for the Writing Life
  • The Poetry Home Repair Manual: Practical Advice for Beginning Poets
  • Room to Write: Daily Invitations to a Writer's Life
  • The Writer's Idea Book
  • The Pocket Muse: Ideas and Inspirations for Writing
  • What If?: Writing Exercises for Fiction Writers
  • Poem Crazy
  • Wild Mind: Living the Writer's Life
  • The Write-Brain Workbook
  • Writing Past Dark: Envy, Fear, Distraction and Other Dilemmas in the Writer's Life
  • Making Your Own Days: The Pleasures of Reading and Writing Poetry
  • The Art of Description: World into Word
  • Journal to the Self: Twenty-Two Paths to Personal Growth - Open the Door to Self-Understanding by Writing, Reading, and Creating a Journal of Your Life
  • Writing the Natural Way

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“Wilfred Funk writes in Word Origins and Their Romantic Stories that originally all words were poems, since our language is based, like poems, in metaphor.” 0 likes
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