Billy's Reviews > The Ode Less Travelled: Unlocking the Poet Within

The Ode Less Travelled by Stephen Fry
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's review
Dec 28, 2010

really liked it

Whatever the reason, I picked up almost zero poetry in my formal education. A grade school lesson defining haiku and diamante, some time on Shakespeare and Jack Donne (and naturally I recited "A valediction, forbidding mourning" as a goodbye to maybe more than one high school or college-era girlfriend), but otherwise nothing. Coming from that angle, and as someone who generally admires and appreciates Stephen Fry as a public personality, this was a joyous way to fill in the gap. It's not really an "appreciation" text or survey of poetic history as much as an instructional overview of the elements of meter, rhyme, and form, peppered with Fry's mordant (or sometimes just silly) wit, reappearing (usually) at just the right moment when the material is getting too dry and repetitive. There's no way to say this nicely, but it probably would suit being packaged as one of those "____ for Dummies"/"Complete Idiot's Guide to _____" product lines just fine. There are exercises throughout, a few of them pointless, but most of them useful and illustrative.
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