art and craft of poetry
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The Art And Craft Of Poetry has been one of the most successful poetry-writing books of its kind with close to 40,000 hardcover copies sold. Below are comments from  distinguished poets, teachers and readers about this text from Writer's Digest Books, a division of F&W Publications. COMMENTS BY POETS AND TEACHERS




The Art And Craft Of Poetry is simply the best, bar none, book of its kind on the market today. Everything you always wanted to know about poetry but were afraid to ask. A wonderful (and essential) resource for both aspiring and established poets”—Ron Wallace, author of The Uses of Adversity and Distinguished Professor, University of Wisconsin-Madison

“One of my first bits of advice to a young poet is to have this book easily at hand, as I'd advise a student of geography to have an atlas in reach.  It's truly a marvel”—Miller Williams, inaugural poet and author of How Does A Poem Mean? (with John Ciardi).

“Michael Bugeja's The Art & Craft Of Poetry is the best book of its kind on the market”—Robert McDowell, author of Islanders All and executive director of Story Line Press

"The Art & Craft Of Poetry is more than a practical tool. I've used it for years as a poet and a teacher of poetry and find it, time and again, to be both personally delightful and pedagogically sound. With clarity and accuracy, Michael Bugeja combines the information of a handbook with inspiring suggestions, helpful assignments, and insider tips on everything from keeping a journal to shaping a sonnet; he complements these elements throughout with well-chosen poems from Richard Chashaw and John Milton to Carolyne Forche and T. R. Hummer.”—David Baker, author of The Truth About Small Towns and Thomas B. Fordham Chair of Creative Writing, Denison University

“In The Art and Craft of Poetry, Michael Bugeja gives us more than a detailed and comprehensive how-to book on poetry writing. The author, himself a widely-published poet, has assembled a great variety of poems and poets who serve to illustrate the many ways a poem can be conceived, written, revised, and read. This book is a big tent filled with magic and music, a circus of poetry”—David Citino, Professor of English and Creative Writing, Ohio State University

“Functioning as a kindly muse, Michael Bugeja introduces writers to the demands of craft and extends the insights of an exceptional poet who has himself mastered the art and craft of his work”—Neal Bowers, author of Night Vision and Distinguished Professor, Iowa State University

“In this book, Michael J. Bugeja offers not only information, but the kind of mentoring advice you can get only from a truly fine teacher.  Study with him, and you may go far”—Lola Haskins, author of Desire Lines, New and Selected Poems

“Of the few books available for poets of varying stages of experience, from beginners to those publishing regularly, The Art and Craft of Poetry is so valuable it is worthy of taking to bed—frequently. Each time this book is consulted, the browser, the reader, the student is rewarded—educated, refreshed, enhanced. I don't know another book devoted to making poems that informs, probes and challenges as purposefully”—Saul Bennett, author of Harpo Marx at Prayer

“Michael Bugeja's The Art and Craft of Poetry is a must-have for both teachers and students.  It's clear, helpful, and inspiring”—Ryan G. Van Cleave, Anastasia C. Hoffman Poetry Fellow, University of Wisconsin-Madison

“I have used The Art and Craft of Poetry for the past two years in my creative writing class because it's the most comprehensive and versatile text I've been able to find.  Students can take our creative writing course twice, so my classes often include students who have different levels of experience with poetry.  Some are only just being introduced to the genre; others have already spent a semester composing verse. Michael Bugeja’s book is organized in such a way that I can accommodate all of my students. The assignments he gives at different levels at the end of each chapter can be used by the newcomers as well as the veterans.  There are other reasons I find The Art and Craft of Poetry so appealing, including the way the chapters are organized and the anthologies of poems”—Annamaria Formichella Elsden, Assistant Professor of English, Buena Vista University

Michael Bugeja's The Art And Craft Of Poetry is a much needed, much appreciated volume written by a practicing poet and designed expressly for aspiring poets who are endeavoring to learn to write good poems on their own.  Further, it focuses on technique.  And finally, it operates with an attitude of compassion and encouragement, continually inspiring the aspiring writer to write—Andrea Hollander Budy, author of The Other Life and Writer-in-Residence at Lyon College. (See her complete review below in The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.)

A Review by Andrea Hollander Budy
The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

Michael Bugeja's The Art And Craft Of Poetry is a much needed, much appreciated volume written by a practicing poet and designed expressly for aspiring poets who are endeavoring to learn to write good poems on their own.  Further, it focuses on technique.  And finally, it operates with an attitude of compassion and encouragement, continually inspiring the aspiring writer to write.

Bugeja gives the poet-in-progress specific suggestions on how to begin, and he includes many more examples both within the text of his discussion and in mini-anthologies at the close of each chapter.

The Art and Craft of Poetry is divided into three parts.  The first suggests a specific way an aspiring poet might create an idea journal from which poems could emerge.  The second focuses upon issues of technical skill, and here Bugeja provides clear discussion even on subjects upon which clarity has been difficult--matters of voice and tone, for example.  Part Three examines different forms that poems may take and provides numerous examples and suggestions for writing.

Obvious throughout is Bugeja’s generosity.  He seems always to believe in the aspiring writer.  And he presents his material in such a way as to make poetry seem larger and more inclusive than it is sometimes perceived.  His mini-anthologies, for example, are wide-reaching in the way they include all kinds of poetry.  Such inclusions show aspiring poets that there are many others writing--and how richly diverse that writing is.

Especially helpful is Bugeja’s practice of including not only the poems of others, but, whenever possible or appropriate, their thoughts about their poems and about the processes they undergo to create them.

The book operates with the comforting sense that poetry practitioners cannot make mistakes in trying something new-to-them, that “stumbling” is an important part of learning.

The Art And Craft Of Poetry is wise, useful, and enjoyable. It emphasizes the importance of reading good poems as paramount to learning to write well. And it succeeds in accomplishing its goal--namely, to empower the beginning poet who wishes to write a poem but who is untrained in knowing how to use the tools of language to create a powerful utterance.



I've read many books on writing poetry and Bugeja's ART AND CRAFT OF POETRY is the best among them. He offers the clearest explanations of how meter, line length, and rhyme influence tone and meaning in a poem. His section on forms is absolutely the most comprehensive, explaining how to make formal verse into GOOD poetry beyond simply following the technical rules. Suggestions include writing the envoi first in a sestina, shaping meaning in a pantoum, and how to make the repeating lines of a villanelle do multiple tasks. I agree with the reviewer who said she'd want this book if stranded on a island. I can't read more than a page without stopping to write and I know that I've produced several publishable poems. I also know what I can do to revise poems that I knew didn't work, but wasn't sure how to fix them before reading this book. Excellent! I couldn't be more enthusiastic--Joan Mazza

Sonnet, iambic pentameter, the villanelle. . . .and free form. How can a non-poet form reasonable and enjoyable poetry? This book is the answer especially if you appreciate poetry and want to learn some forms to test your ideas. This is the book. It's broken down into 3 sections. The first is a non-intimidating idea section which allows the reader to dip into his/her unconscious and come up with tons of ideas for poems and prose. You don't start off with a poem until the next two chapters where you take ideas from the idea file and utilize them. I mean, who knew how important a very effective title was to poetry, poets perhaps? The last chapter discusses the particular forms and how you can revise, yes you can revise, your poems to work into a form. This book's format was incredibly enjoyable. After reading it once, I had several poems that I was happy with. When I read it again, yes, this is definately a book to read more than once, I will get more ambitious and focus on forms. This first time I just had fun. I can see why it is recommended by teachers for students. Or, like me, you can teach yourself--rizbaz.

If I were sent to an island to live alone and could bring only three things with me, they would be a gross of pens, a case of paper and The Art and Craft of Poetry. ...  Even if you never plan to write a poem, this book will broaden your understanding and appreciation of this beloved and increasingly popular form of literature--Bridget Becker

This how-to-write poetry text is good to begin with and good to grow with. Each chapter is followed by a brief but diverse selection of poems that illustrate the principles discussed in the chapter. Suggested assignments are provided at levels one, two, and three so that students can work through the book three times at increasing levels of sophistication. My sophomore creative writing poetry students begin with this text--California reader


This is a must read. If you want to write better poetry, this should be on your desk. Just for the sections on generating ideas and finding your voice are worth the price. The rest is also well written and has many practical exercises as well.


Stereotype depicts poets as overly reflective, retiring folks who commune with nature and do somersaults at the thought of love. Michael J. Bugeja's textbook, which steps aspiring poets through the working side of poetry, soundly defies this silly image while it does justice to many meaningful traditional themes. It isn't the newest poetry workbook, but it is certainly one of the best—Review by Dana Luther, “Cultivating the Coterie: The Art and Craft of Poetry,” WRITER ON LINE,

Professor Bugeja says of his book The Art and Craft of Poetry that "It's my love letter to emerging poets worldwide." A Poet Born recommends this wonderful tool to anyone who writes poetry. It can be invaluable—From “The Teacher’s Corner” of A POET BORN,

There are many texts to aid you in the art of writing form poetry. My favorite is Michael J. Bugeja's The Art and Craft of Poetry published by F&W Publications—From “The Poetry Parlor: Form Poems,” by Milburn "Doc" Coleman, RSVP,

If you want to write poems, a necessary read is The Art and Craft of Poetry, one of the best guides to writing poems that I have ever encountered—Review by Bob Powers, The Free Press,

In the many books in my library on how to read and write poetry, I have found only one chapter on what I consider an essential element in writing: the art of the title. It is in Michael Bugeja's methodical manual of verse, The Art and Craft of Poetry. … Bugeja's book is a good basic manual on elements of craft, and this chapter on titles is invaluable—From “The Challenge of the Title,” by Rachel Dacus, Avatar Review,

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