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Poemcrazy: Freeing Your Life with Words

4.15  ·  Rating details ·  2,385 ratings  ·  186 reviews
Susan Goldsmith Wooldridge is a poet and teacher who conducts workshops privately, as well as in the California Poets in the Schools program. Her exuberant, critically acclaimed teaching guide takes instructors, writers, and general readers into the very heart and intensity of life and the craft of expressing what one feels through the written word.
Paperback, 210 pages
Published 1997 by Three Rivers Press (first published 1996)
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Susan Hello Patricia! This originally came out as a hardcover and I bought a couple of boxes when it went into paperback. If you send me your address (email…moreHello Patricia! This originally came out as a hardcover and I bought a couple of boxes when it went into paperback. If you send me your address (email me at I'll sell you a new (old!) hardcover copy for $20.00). Thanks, and delighted you like the book xoxoxo Susan(less)

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Randolph Knackstedt
Aug 17, 2011 rated it really liked it
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
If I had to describe POEMCRAZY in one word, it would be... Alive.

Yes. Alive. Every sentence, every paragraph, every page and essay and writing prompt in this book is bursting with life, joy, and spirit. It is so many things - whimsical yet practical, insightful yet exuberant, thoughtful and observant, passionate and inspiring - that calling it "brilliant" or a "gem" or "treasure trove" doesn't suffice.

Then again, POEMCRAZY isn't simply a guide on how to write poetry. Nor is it simply a book ab
Elizabeth A
Nov 18, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
Jul 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
I liked this a lot - particularly how accessible Wooldridge makes poetry and word play to everyone. Wooldridge's "word tickets" sounded an awful lot like Magnetic Poetry to me, and based on the original publication date, she was probably writing this around the time the original Magnetic Poetry set was released (but probably before it was widespread).
Sep 19, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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!
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.)
May 31, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read this book slowly, one or two of its small chapters each morning while I drank my first cup of tea. This book is about celebrating life in all its hugeness and ordinariness through words and imagination. I loved it.
Jul 14, 2015 rated it it was amazing
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.
Andrea Huelsenbeck
Mar 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
I bought poemcrazy at Borders (Remember Borders Books? Sigh.) when my oldest daughter entered Bennington College in 1996. Poetry was one of her areas of study (I think it was her original major), and I thought she would like it. But as I flipped through it, I decided I’d read it first, then send it to her.
I started reading it often, always meaning to try out the exercises, but never getting around to it. Meanwhile, Carly changed majors several times, graduated from Bennington with a degree in Ge
Emma Sea
Feb 24, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I didn't like this as much as The Poetry Home Repair Manual: Practical Advice for Beginning Poets, but I still liked it enough to order a dead tree copy. I found the exercises well-designed; open enough to stretch and inspire, but narrow enough to make me think "I can do that." (Contrast with 52: Write a Poem a Week. Start Now. Keep Going, which makes me want to place the book on a shelf and never return to it.)

I had concerns about some of the many references to indigenous American people’s beli
I'm not really a poetry person. Sure, I like reading some of it. (Operative word: some) But I've always felt slightly ridiculous when teachers assigned the writing of poetry in school. I've felt completely ridiculous the few times I've voluntarily tried my hand at it, the same feeling I imagine someone who is tone-deaf and can't read music must get when confronted with a piano or a karaoke machine. I'm a process-driven, analytical, left-brained introvert. What some see as creative syntax, I see ...more
Aurélien Thomas
May 22, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: poetry-about
Straightforward, 'Poemcrazy' is a passionate rallying call to get the poet out of you. In fact, the whole book ultimately gets down to only one piece of advice: if you want to write poetry, then get yourself a pen and notebook and, go jot down the world around you in all its 'ordinary magic' (an expression the author acknowledgingly stole from Alan Ginsberg).

That's it but gosh! How enthusiastic she is! Her heartfelt passion and consuming drive is actually what makes it all a worthy read.

Oct 09, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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.
David West
Jun 15, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: poetry
Several good ideas in this book for writers. The author had a worldview unlike mine. She sees poetry as a way to discover and express a truth which comes from oneself. I understand poetry as a way to see and understand what is propositionally true outside oneself. The chapter on controlled abandon was my favorite and a few of the practice ideas are good.
Mar 30, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: women-writers, poetry
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.
Apr 05, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Susan took the time to write me a postcard, which I have stapled inside the book.
"Be sloppy. Steal words. Carry a journal."
Mar 14, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I bought this book, poemcrazy, by Susan Goldsmith Wooldridge, at The Bookstore in Chico, California, whole visiting my daughter who is going to college there at Chico State University. I picked it up because of both the title and the photo on the cover, never having heard of the book or the author before. It was truly a hidden little gem that day in a room full of possibilities. Part way through reading the book, I searched for and found the author on goodreads and Facebook. I sent her a friend ...more
Jan 06, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2019
Finished: 06.01.2019
Genre: non-fiction
Rating: C
Author introduces us into her world
and tells us stories about her life with words.
Goal of the book was to give the reader some
practice workshop tips to introduce the reader to the
wonder of words and poems.
Quick read....some good tips....
Apr 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
Fun poetry craft book. I will review soon.
Feb 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Light of a hundred
Eggs burst by blind worded heat
Form possible flight
Nov 04, 2020 rated it liked it
A book that helps to demystify the writing of poetry, making it feel more approachable and less daunting.
Holly Walrath
This is one of those writing guides where every exercise or tidbit of advice is paired with a story. Even the most bland remembrances suddenly become fodder for writing, even I know that as a writer, but it doesn't mean I want a writing guide made up of them. I was hoping for something with a bit more teeth.
Katrina Sark
Feb 06, 2018 rated it it was ok

p.xii – Poems arrive. They hide in feelings and images, in weeds and delivery vans, daring us to notice and give them form with our words. They take us to an invisible world where light and dark, inside and outside meet.

2 – Mr. Mabie

p.7- Buy yourself a notebook / journal that suits your personality and keep it with you, at least while you’re reading this book. In a journal you can be self-centered and feel safe enough to write poems. It’s never too late to start. Don’t try to catch
Candace Marie
Nov 23, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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-
Aaron A
Nov 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
Generally, this poem is about a teacher named Susan Wooldridge. Who, in case you haven’t noticed, had fallen in love with the art of poetry. She lives her life writing and being influenced by poetry as she describes every personal thought and feeling. This is the perfect book for learning how to express yourself and figuring out how to write poems. Not to forget, you’ll learn how to get your ideas to get started.

Honestly, what really confused me at first was whether the series of events told oc
Aug 24, 2008 rated it really liked it
I bought this book because I love the cover.I have read many books about writing and the creative process, yet few have reached me the way Poemcrazy has. Woolridge's love of life and words sings out from every page. Her writing is alive and enthusiastic, and her practice suggestions are stimulating. She gives enough detail, guidance and encouragement that it is easy to start writing.

Her enthusiasm is contagious;where many books portray writing practice as a dreaded but necessary chore, Woolridg
Oct 26, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I love this book. Love it because it stretches your mind to play, dream and fall in love all over again with words. Woolridge shares with us her tips and techniques and ideas on how to shift everything we see into living poetry. There are playfyul exercises, simple ones you can expand on or save for later, yes perfect for a classroom, homeschoolers, or any person who wants to delve into the wonderful world of poetry.
Donna Wynn
I have read this book five times and each time I receive something more than the first time. I recently read it again on my eight hour Amtrak ride home from New Jersey. This book inspires poets to write, and write deeply from the heart. Her words hit me and inspired me to write more and more poetry. Don't miss this one!
Dec 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this. She gave a lot of ideas on where to write and how to tap in to your creative side and how to make poetry about even the things you view has mundane. I would have liked to have more straight forward prompts but I did enjoy the ones that stood out to me and even tried some of her ideas in my classroom.

This book has inspired me to write poetry even though I am not a poet.
Sep 07, 2008 rated it it was ok
I like some of the ideas in this book - having a bowl of words to use as prompts - but I am not that fond of the author's ultra-breezy style.

Maybe I'm just too stuck in the idea that poetry is not just words strung together ---
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