Tameca's Reviews > Western Wind: An Introduction to Poetry

Western Wind by David Mason
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Aug 08, 09

bookshelves: read-more-than-once, partially-read
Read in May, 2009

I am re-reading this for a poetry class this semester.

This is one of those books that makes me feel giddy inside. Many of the poetry "manuals" and text books I have come across are quite disjointed, confusing and incomplete in their explanations of forms, meters and such. At times some of these books feel high-falluting. Western Wind is a book I can consult again and again. It's a book that speaks plainly about poetry and inspires the poet in anyone. The book houses great examples and great information, to boot. I love the questions the book puts forth in its introduction. For example: "Why do charms against the devil fail to work in translation?...What kind of rhyme is like a blue note in music?..." The book goes beyond the study of forms, meter, and all the other poetry related terms one can glean from books such as Turco's The Book of Forms (which I own, consult often, but still find confusing in the way it's set up, and even in its examples. I have to often look up examples of my own).

A quote from the intro:

"...poetry comes before prose does. It is closer than prose to the origins of language. We can even say it's more natural..."

As a musician and someone who considers herself a practicing poet, this passage really hits home for me, and it is one of the many reasons I get giddy reading this book. With this passage alone, I am reminded that poetry is important. Further, it can inform other genres, building writerly skills that only make any writers' work stronger, more potent, poignant and full of music.

Speaking of music...
there is a whole section of the book dedicated to the sounds of poetry alone. Within that section is a section about poetry's "music."
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