How to Read (and Write About) Poetry invites students and others curious about poetry to join the critical conversation about a genre many find a little mystifying, even intimidating. In an accessible, engaging manner, this book introduces the productive questions, reading strategies, literary terms, and secondary research tips that will empower readers to participate in literary analysis. Holbrook explicates a number of meaty poems, initiating readers into critical discourse while highlighting key poetic terms. These useful terms are fully defined in a glossary at the back of the book. The explications are followed by selections of related works, so the book thus offers what amounts to a brief anthology, ideal for a poetry unit or introductory class on poetry and poetics. Readers can bring some of the new skills they’ve acquired to these selections, which range across periods and styles. A chapter on meter illuminates the rhythmic dimension of poetry and guides readers through methods of scansion.
Holbrook also offers guidance on essay writing, preparing students for literary discussion within and beyond the classroom. The conciseness of the book makes it portable and affordable, while its various instructive components make it a resource that will continue to serve its readers as their explorations of poetry continue.