Can Books on Poetic Craft Turn you into a Poet?

At the time this post was penned, I had not read Stephen Fry’s “The Ode Less Traveled: Unlocking the Poet within”. I have since done so and can recommend the book. However, my view remains as stated in my post back in January, namely that while books on poetic craft can be helpful, there is no substitute for reading lots of poetry. It is only by so doing that one gains an understanding of the poetic tradition and hone’s one’s own craft.

K Morris - Poet

A couple of days back, I fell into conversation with a jazz musician. We talked about jazz, his teaching of music and the jazz performance I had recently attended at my local pub. On me mentioning that I am a poet, my companion said that he had recently been given a copy of Stephen Fry’s “The Ode Less Travelled: Unlocking the Poet Within,, and that he had just started to compose poetry.

I have not read Fry’s “The Ode Less Travelled”, consequently I’m unable to comment on the book. I did, however say to my companion that whilst books on poetic craft may, in some instances, be helpful, its crucial to read as much poetry (of all kinds) as possible to enable the development of one’s own unique style. Such reading will bring one into contact with poetry which is not to your taste, however this is, nonetheless useful…

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