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Making Poems
Forty Poems with Commentary by the Poets
Making Poems
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Todd F. Davis - Editor
Erin Murphy - Editor
Excelsior Editions
Price: $95.00 
Hardcover - 218 pages
Release Date: February 2010
ISBN13: 978-1-4384-3175-8

Price: $29.95 
Paperback - 218 pages
Release Date: February 2010
ISBN13: 978-1-4384-3176-5

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Summary Read First Chapter image missing

Contemporary poets offer behind-the-scenes perspectives on the poetic process.

This diverse collection of poems and companion essays by forty nationally and internationally known poets allows readers to experience the creative process through the eyes and voice of each poet. No matter how often we are told that revision is an essential component of poetic composition, it can be difficult to resist the temptation to think of the poem as having sprung spontaneously, Athena-like, from the writer’s head. By exposing readers to the finished product as well as the poet’s own account of the poem’s creation, Making Poems offers a behind-the-scenes perspective on the poetic process that will fascinate both beginning and established writers. The book also affords poetry instructors an opportunity to demonstrate to their students the ways in which poems can originate from seemingly mundane and unlikely sources.

“A valuable addition to one’s personal library for all writers and readers of poetry, this anthology finds its rightful position among the tradition of entertaining and enlightening books in which authors discuss poetic craft or the creative process with a cogent blend of practical wisdom and refreshing clarity.” — Edward Byrne

“This collection is a gift to creative writing classrooms everywhere. Rather than literal explanations of the text, these are fascinating explorations of the creative process, achieving the intimacy of a live reading.” — Faith Adiele

Poets include Jan Beatty, Robin Becker, Fleda Brown, J. L. Conrad, Jim Daniels, Todd Davis, Chris Dombrowski, Dan Gerber, Jeff Gundy, Kimiko Hahn, William Heyen, H. L. Hix, John Hoppenthaler, Ann Hostetler, Julia Spicher Kasdorf, David Kirby, Gerry LaFemina, Mary Linton, Shara McCallum, Dinty W. Moore, Erin Murphy, Mary Rose O’Reilley, Lee Peterson, Greg Rappleye, Keith Ratzlaff, Jack Ridl, Steven Sherrill, David Shumate, Aaron Smith, Lucien Stryk, Mary Swander, Sue Ellen Thompson, Natasha Threthewey, Brian Turner, Lee Upton, G. C. Waldrep, Michael Waters, Patricia Jabbeh Wesley, Katharine Whitcomb, and Robert Wrigley.

Todd Davis, winner of the Gwendolyn Brooks Poetry Prize, is the author or editor of several books of literary and cultural criticism, as well as three volumes of poetry: Ripe, Some Heaven, and The Least of These. Erin Murphy is the author of three volumes of poetry: Science of Desire, Too Much of This World, and Dislocation and Other Theories, which won the Paterson Prize for Literary Excellence. Both Davis and Murphy serve on the English and creative writing faculty at the Pennsylvania State University, Altoona College.

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Table of Contents

Learning to Make Poems—An Introduction

Red Sugar
Finding Red Sugar
Jan Beatty

Man of the Year
Strange Tercets: Merry Men, Iambic Feet, and Poetic Transgression
Robin Becker

Knot Tying Lessons: The Slip Knot
The Knot of the Poem
Fleda Brown

Brother André’s Heart: Montreal, 2003
Tenebrae: Living In/Among Shadows
J. L. Conrad

Factory Jungle
OK for Shipment
Jim Daniels

Loving the Flesh
The Body of Poetry
Todd Davis

Elegy with Fall’s Last Filaments
On “Elegy with Fall’s Last Filaments”
Chris Dombrowski

To W. S. Merwin
Translating My Way into a Poem
Dan Gerber

Contemplation with Ledges and Moon
Writing into the Evening
Jeff Gundy

On “Pink”
Kimiko Hahn

From the Out-There
William Heyen

Awash with blushing textures, your hips, lipped lilies
There Is No Avoiding
H. L. Hix

Shut Up & Dance
John Hoppenthaler

Sonnets for the Amish Girls of Nickel Mines
Every Buggy Has Four Wheels: Making “Sonnets for the Amish Girls of Nickel Mines”
Ann Hostetler

Double the Digits
Memory and the Problem of What Really Happened
Julia Spicher Kasdorf

Borges at the Northside Rotary
The Deliberate Transformed by the Accidental
David Kirby

Clown Baby’s Summer
The Natural Birth of Clown Baby, or How I Came to Midwife, Father, and Wet-nurse a Prose Poem Sequence
The Conception of Clown Baby
Gerry LaFemina

Up Late with Loons
Making Peace
Mary Linton

The Biography of a Poem
Shara McCallum

The Poem Stripped Bare by Her Author
Dinty W. Moore

Coveting Thy Neighbor’s Poem
Mary Rose O’Reilley The Third Winter
The Wild Horse
Erin Murphy

Anything Worthwhile
Lee Peterson

Orpheus, Gathering the Trees
In the Woodlot
Greg Rappleye

An Essay with Two Short Lectures: Revising “Sunday”
Keith Ratzlaff

Repairing the Hous
The Poem and I Have a Little Conversation
Jack Ridl

Coming Out of Caliban
Are You Watching?
Steven Sherrill

Revising My Memoirs
Cutting Logic Loose from Its Tethers
David Shumate

Christopher Street Pier (Summer)
Against Solitude
Aaron Smith

On “Blood”
Lucien Stryk

Hot Pads, Cold Pads
On the Writing of “Hot Pads, Cold Pads”
Mary Swander

Fishing on the Merrimack, My Father Sees a B-24
Prisoner of War
From Sunday Supplement to Sonnet
Sequence: A Poet’s Gift to Herself
Sue Ellen Thompson

Natasha Trethewey

At the Farmer’s Market in Eugene
In a Country at War
Brian Turner

The Weak Already Inherited
Lee Upton

Revisiting the Anniversary: A Ghost Story
G. C. Waldrep

The Eccentric Discipline
Michael Waters

Wesley Leaving
Leaving to Find Place in the Making of a Poem
Patricia Jabbeh

How Flatterers Must Be Shunned
The Prince’s Almond Trees: “How Flatterers Must Be Shunned”
Katharine Whitcomb

A Lock of Her Hair
The Charm by Which I Meant to Bring Her Back
Robert Wrigley

Contributor’s Notes


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