The Ode Less Travelled
Unlocking the Poet Within
I highly recommend this book for anyone interested in writing poetry. It’s straightforward, unpretentious, and gently encouraging.
Stephen Fry is probably best known as an actor and comedian, and he’s the right man to tackle a subject that can be intimidating. This book is accessible and fun, and I particularly appreciated his clear discussion of meter and his criticism of modern poetry. His writing style is decidedly not academic.
I should have learned to appreciate meter in high school, but I can’t recall any of my teachers (in Honors English classes, no less) talking about the mechanics of poetry, outside of an obligatory mention of iambic pentameter in connection with Shakespeare. Learning about poetry consisted of reading a few well-known classics, such as The Raven and Ozymandias. That was it.
Meter is like the HTML of poetry. This book is a great starting place to learn about it.