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Next Word, Better Word: The Craft of Writing Poetry
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Next Word, Better Word: The Craft of Writing Poetry

3.63  ·  Rating details ·  65 Ratings  ·  9 Reviews
This accessible writer's guide provides a helpful framework for creating poetry and navigates contemporary concerns and practices. Stephen Dobyns, author of the classic book on the beauty of poetry, Best Words, Best Order, moves into new terrain in this remarkable book. Bringing years of experience to bear on issues such as subject matter, the mechanics of poetry, and the ...more
ebook, 288 pages
Published April 26th 2011 by St. Martin's Press (first published March 15th 2011)
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This one took me a while but was totally worth it. For an amateur, it's fairly difficult (at least it was for me) but full of fascinating information. I found the chapter on revision particularly helpful.

The last chapter seemed to almost belong to a different book: an almost historical analysis of metaphor that was not immediately applicable to writing but interesting in its own right.

As I struggle to master the terminology and structure of poetry, each book teaches me how to read the next and
Sep 30, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I can't figure out just yet if I've become much more well read since I read Best Words Best Order and so his references seem less convincing to me, or if Dobyns' treatise in the last essay of this book, about (among other things, including the history of language) how poetry has fallen into a kind of residual position, with poets themselves to blame, is indicative of the essence of his fall of late in my opinion. His more recent poetry collections have ranged from rather plain to unreadable, and ...more
Oct 19, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I found this book to be a mix of fascinating, helpful chapters, and ones that had my eyes and brain glazed. I approached reading this book as a writer. My favorite chapters are Chapter 3, Line breaks, Chapter 8, Closure, and Chapter 9, Revision. If you are interested in the philosophical background to writing techniques, several of the other chapters should satisfy you.

Dobyns is a master at using example poems and taking them apart word by word, line by line, to demonstrate salient points. I wo
Emily Michael
Mar 12, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
There aren't enough stars for this book! This is one of the best texts on the craft of poetry I've ever read. Dobyns touches on all the essential points – sound, grammar, evolution of language, the poet's role, the poem's role. It's a fabulous text, written in an accessible style, and it is far from simplistic or gimmicky. I highly recommend this book for all poets and lovers of poetry.
Mar 20, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Bores me! But I really liked Best Words, Best Order, so I was excited about this, then disappointed. It just seems to fall into a weird No Man's Zone of readership-- folks who know about poetry already know this stuff. So, I kept thinking maybe this would be good as an intro text? but no, it wouldn't.
JoAnn Jordan
May 03, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a very technical book on the craft of poetry. It studies verse from various periods of history to illustrate the elements of poetry. I did not find it inspiring, but more educational.

I would recommend this book to those studying poetry in an academic setting.
Gerry LaFemina
May 09, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Dobyns has a brilliant mind for talking about poems, and this book is a wonderful read. He falls apart, though, when he trips over his various attempts at discussing a four-tiered system of accents, which makes sense but is overly convoluted.
Patrick Mcgee
Nov 20, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A solid book on writing poetry. Not as good as Dobyn's first one but great nonetheless. All aspiring poets should check this one out. Recommended.
Part of this book = Really good stuff about writing
Part of this book = Really pretentious literary snobbery

It's a good book. If it were half as long, it would be a great book.
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Dobyns was raised in New Jersey, Michigan, Virginia, and Pennsylvania. He was educated at Shimer College, graduated from Wayne State University, and received an MFA from the Iowa Writers' Workshop at the University of Iowa in 1967. He has worked as a reporter for the Detroit News.

He has taught at various academic institutions, including Sarah Lawrence College, the Warren Wilson College MFA Program
More about Stephen Dobyns...
“For the past thirty years or so, much American poetry has been marked by an earnestness that rejects the comic. This has nothing to do with seriousness. The comic can be very serious. The trouble with the earnest is that it seeks to be commended. It seeks to be praised for its intention more than for what it is saying.” 6 likes
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