You, Too, Could Write a Poem

Penguin. Feb. 2017. 400p. ISBN 9780143128199. pap. $18; ebk. ISBN 9780698403338. LIT
OrangeReviewStarThis inspiring collection of reviews and essays on the pleasures of poetry by New York Times poetry columnist Orr is a powerful example of why he is one of our sanest (and therefore most important) voices on this too-often-neglected art. The great gift that Orr brings to the discussion is his openness and willingness to grapple with the "actual experience of reading a poem." Perhaps Orr's background in law gives him this eye for the particularities of a poem and the need to build a case (for or against) not through agendas and theories but through evidence and facts. That attention is definitely his greatest strength, but it is delightfully paired with a delicious wit. Whether he is writing about "Oprah's Adventures in Poetry Land" or making a reference to TV's crime-solving attorney Matlock, Orr is always a fascinating, clever, and inspiring guide (perhaps most especially when it comes to the wonders of Elizabeth Bishop and Philip Larkin). Readers curious about the state of contemporary poetry and the value of reading a poem will love this book (even when they don't agree with it).
VERDICT All poetry collections should have a copy, and every librarian should be ready to put this charming volume in the hands of readers.
Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.



We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing