Like many my age, I watched the original Irwin Allen series (second and third seasons) and the reruns of Lost in Space as a kid, eating them up.
I remember the second season episode “Revolt of the Androids” (actually, I never knew the titles back then) and going around mechanically chanting “Crush! Kill! Destroy!”
So, yeah, it’s more probable than not that Lost in Space had something to do with me loving science fiction later in life. Continue reading
How to Read Poetry Like a Professor: A Quippy and Sonorous Guide to Verse by Thomas C. Foster
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
I wasn’t sure I wanted to learn to read poetry like a professor, but I requested a review copy of this some months before publication – I didn’t win that particular book lottery, but got it on my own anyway.
I set this aside to read Stephen Fry’s The Ode Less Travelled first, which made a world of difference in my reception of Foster’s work. While not as lyrical nor as educated as Fry’s, Foster nonetheless does a good job covering many bases. I was disappointed in the attention to “free verse”, as that is and will like be ever baffling as to how it is even considered poetry (Foster says that what makes free verse “verse and not merely free” is “rules”…and does precious little to explain those rules).
And on Cummings, Foster says of “anyone lived in a pretty how town”
Before we leave that passage, it would be unfair to not admit that it is a whole lot of fun to say, even if you stumble. Maybe because you stumble. Stumbling is half the fun. Therein lies the secret to Cummings’s charm: he leaves you baffled but smiling.
Well, actually… I could not disagree more. I find Cummings the height of irritating. And I’m not smiling.
I’m cherry picking…there is a lot here and Foster treats it lightly (a lot lighter than non-professor Fry). His humor grates after a while, but it’s still a good resource. And I am sure now that I don’t want to read poetry like a professor. Even with the two books under my belt, I don’t know how much poetry I will or want to read.
But, I can still recommend this book.
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The Ode Less Travelled: Unlocking the Poet Within by Stephen Fry
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I try to get outside my comfort zone sometimes and I got this a couple of years ago to do just that but didn’t get too far. I was told …by several people…that I had to read it out loud. So…it languished for a while. Then I found out that Stephen Fry read it himself for an audiobook. I’ll listen to lecture series, but audiobooks are not my thing.
Until this one. I read along with Mr. Fry. I loved his voice and he really made his words come alive. For a book on poetry, his prose was better than any poem I have ever read. And he gets into such technicalities! “iamb, the trochee, the pyrrhic, and the spondee […] anapest and the dactyl, the molossus, the tribach, the amphibrach and the amphimacer”…sounds like a biology lesson.
He doesn’t spend much time on “free verse”, which is what I really need explained to me – rhymeless, meterless words are…well…not poems. But that’s my failing.
I learned a lot (apart from the entire subject, “ullage” is not a word I encounter in casual reading!) Hearing him read while I read along was eminently helpful. I don’t intend to write anything as he suggests, beyond my sometimes witty and sometimes just groaning limericks, and I don’t know how much I’ll read, but I do think I’ll return to this again.
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