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.