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The Art of Voice: Poetic Principles and Practice

4.50  ·  Rating details ·  54 ratings  ·  13 reviews

An award-winning poet, teacher, and “champion of poetry” (New York Times) demystifies the elusive element of voice.


In this accessible and distilled craft guide, acclaimed poet Tony Hoagland approaches poetry through the frame of poetic voice, that mysterious connective element that binds the speaker and reader together. A poem strong in the dimension of voice is an animate thing of shif

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Kindle Edition, 128 pages
Published March 5th 2019 by W. W. Norton & Company
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Ken
I'm not sure if this book is short (168 pp.) by intent or by dint of its author's death while in progress. In any event, the poet Kay Cosgrove worked with Hoagland and, no doubt, after his death, to see the essays to fruition.

What's encouraging about the book is the way it frees shackles from many writers --- specifically poets practicing under the dictum that all poetry must be "cut to the bone" to be successful.

Turns out, Hoagland proves, not so much. Good voice poems s
...more
Bo
Jun 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
5 plus. An indispensable guide for poets wanting to hone their craft with an emphasis on voice. I highly recommend doing the exercises at each chapter's end -- practice reinforces the written instruction with surprisingly grand results.
Paula
Aug 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great for poets and writers of prose who need help "finding" their voice.
Francescajemm
Aug 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Accessible, practical, and insightful. What more could you want from a guidebook to writing stronger poetry? I’m also a big fan of most of the poets whose work he analyzes. Bonus points for plenty of prompts and exercises at the end of the book!
Anna
I enjoyed much of the book and thought it was very helpful in beginning a discussion about poetic voice. From what I got in school, voice is often taught as the 'attitude' of the speaker. This goes far beyond that and the broader discussion is much appreciated. The chapters are pleasantly short and usually sufficient at getting their point across. A few of the last chapters felt a bit rushed or simply unsatisfying - maybe would have benefited from more time with the subject (authority chapter es ...more
Jsavett1
May 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Tony Hoagland is both a great writer AND teacher of poetry. The two don’t always come together.

I’ve read all of Hoagland’s verse as well as his books on craft. This particular book, about voice, is as good as any of his others, though it’s subject is a bit trickier to define let alone teach people how to enhance or clarify.

But Hoagland does it. As usual. The biggest problem, for me, is remembering all these things I’m learning when I’m in the unconscious first drafts and the granularity of rew
...more
Caroline Bock
Jun 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A must-read for any writer and any lifelong student of writing of which I include myself. Excellent craft essays on voice -- for poetry -- and for fiction writers, and even more: inspiring prompts. this is a lasting tribute to a great American poet, Tony Hoagland, who passed away in 2019.

--Caroline
Carry Her Home Stories by Caroline Bock

Tony
Jul 06, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very clearly written. Often sends one off to pursue his example poets. It would be good to have the book at hand for when one needs to be pushed by the exercises.
Kevin
May 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I will miss this forceful, intelligent voice. A confident and deft swan song from a master of craft.
Michael Garrigan
A great study of the poetic voice. Clear and direct with its instruction and encouragement.
Paul Wilner
May 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is the best book of its kind I’ve read.
Nathan
Oct 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I've been at the writing thing for 30 years or more.
I've written at least one poem a day for over 20.
I've published over 20 books of the stuff. And,

this book helped me... terribly...
changed me and the way I work, even.

I really should re-read it at least once a year.
Megan Alyse
Oct 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mfa
One of the best craft books I’ve read yet.
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Anthony Dey Hoagland's father was an Army doctor and Hoagland grew up on various military bases throughout the South. He was educated at Williams College, the University of Iowa (B.A.), and the University of Arizona (M.F.A.). According to the novelist Don Lee, Hoagland "attended and dropped out of several colleges, picked apples and cherries in the Northwest, lived in communes, [and:] followed the ...more
“poems of experience bear the scars and wounds and scorch marks, even the imperfections that damage leaves on the soul, but a good poem also testifies to the triumph of still being able to speak.” 1 likes
“The idea that writerly originality appears from nowhere, or exists as something in isolation, a thing to be guarded and protected from influence, is lunacy. Anyone who doesn’t school themselves by deep, wide, and idiosyncratic reading is choosing aesthetic poverty. Such aesthetic cloistering is like protecting your virginity in the belief that it will make you better at sex.” 0 likes
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