NONFICTION

How a Poem Moves: A Field Guide for Readers Afraid of Poetry

ECW. Mar. 2019. 200p. ISBN 9781770414563. pap. $15.95; ebk. ISBN 9781773053172. LIT
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OrangeReviewStarThis unassuming book provides a great public service—it removes the shroud of mystery that hovers between too many readers and the world of poetry. Reveling in his role as a kind of literary "park ranger," Sol (Univ. of Toronto Victoria Coll.) guides us through 35 poems in 35 chapters featuring contemporary poets, yet only a handful (Philip Levine, Yusef Komunyakaa, etc.) may be recognizable to even experienced poetry devotees. Sol hopes to open our eyes to the beauty and magic that can be found on the page. With simplicity and sincerity, he blazes a trail that almost any reader can follow. His method is pure and childlike—he reads the poem and savors it, watches it move across the page and ponders it, and shares his wonder at the sheer beauty of human expression distilled into its power. More than once this reviewer disagreed with Sol about a poem, yet that made the journey only more enjoyable.
VERDICT Sol deserves to be read widely and freely; his humble witness to the simple art of reading may be this book's most important gift. Libraries should have multiple copies.

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