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An illuminating and invaluable guide for beginners wary of modern poetry, as well as for more advanced students who wish to sharpen their craft and write poems that expand their technical skills, excite their imaginations, and engage their deepest memories and concerns. Ideal for teachers who have been looking for a way to inspire students with a love for writing–and reading–contemporary poetry.
Steve Kowit believes, and rightly so, that poetry will have to show, not tell. The same could be said for good teaching, which is what makes this volume so remarkable. In In the Palm of Your Hand Kowit employs more than 100 poems and excerpts to illustrate his discussions on everything from metaphor to meter to metaphysics. Working your way through this book–and it is work–is like sitting in on a terrific creative-writing seminar, minus the criticism (both constructive and destructive) of fellow students. If you go by the book, you’ll be able to have written at least 69 poems by the end. As a result of its explication of the basic tenets of poetry, In the Palm of Your Hand might be incorrect for a beginners’ book only. That would be a shame. There are such a lot of good ideas here that more experienced poets won’t wish to miss out; Kowit has a lot of exciting how one can invigorate one’s writing. (Here’s a favorite quick tip: “A good rule of thumb is never to use a word that you’re proud of.”) In the Palm of Your Hand is also advisable for members of writing groups who are interested in imposing some kind of structure on their meetings.