Poets are called many things, but crafty is not always one of the names attached to their art. Yet, if you really study poets and their work, you will soon realize that it's not just the subject or melody or mood of a poem, but often times the very craft of the work that makes it truly special.
Poet Diane Lockward has just published "The Crafty Poet - A Portable Workshop". Lockward, the author of 3 poetry collections and 2 chapbooks, has seen her poems published in numerous literary journals and anthologies including Poetry Daily: 366 Poems from the Worlds's Most Popular Poetry Website and many more.
Lockward said since she sends out a monthly poetry newsletter to subscribers, she felt like it was time to put together a book reflecting the many topics - including the craft of poetry - in a book.
"I started the newsletter about 3 years ago," she noted. "Every issue has a poem from a poet (not me). I note an element of a poem I admire, and I ask my readers and poets to use this in a new poem."
Lockward said she enjoys offering challenges and new ideas to writers.
"The poets use the prompts to write something new, and also I include a craft tip in every issue as well," she added. "It may be about how to use metaphors or about imagery, things like that."
This new work, Lockward said, is filled with valuable tools for a poet, and includes advice and examples from 56 poets - no small feat to organize.
"It took 2 years after doing my newsletter and also using my blog," said Lockward. "I had a monumental task, to not only choose poets and craft tips but also to get the legal permission for each poem, which sometimes took a very long time."
The result, however, seems to be well worth her efforts. Numerous schools, including Kean University, Seattle University, and others now have adopted The Crafty Poet as a textbook. The book is organized in a simple yet inspired manner. There is a craft tip before each chapter, with information for poets, and also a poem demonstrating the craft.
But each poem includes something spectacular: a prompt, which offers poets a challenge to write their own poem with a specific theme.
One section sure to help many is the revision section, which offers clear-cut and important advice for any poet.
Fellow poet and former Poet Laureate of North Carolina Kathryn Stripling Byer said she highly recommends this book.
"Diane Lockward has put together a collection of helpful, entertaining craft tips and poems by an array of excellent poets," she noted. "I have a short craft essay in it, along with others by Cecilia Woloch, Edward Byrne, Dorianne Laux, Linda Pastan and Ann Fisher-Wirth, to name just a very few."
If you would like to read this book, or purchase it, the book is available on Amazon, and published by Wind Publications.
To order online, go to http://www.windpub.com/books.
Though Lockward did not include her own work in this stunning book,
I will gladly publish one of my favorite poems, published in her book "Temptation by Water".
--by Diane Lockward
Today an abandoned power plant in Tampa.
Beautiful, really, the way the building fell in
on itself, enveloped in a plume of smoke,
bricks tumbling like disaster in slow motion.
Convergence of math and physics,
this fine art of blasting.
Not one person hurt by flying debris,
epitomic destruction of what’s not needed—
like the small building of the heart,
its pumping machine grown idle,
furnace snuffed, the years of vacancy.
Grief, a vagrant huddled in the corridor.
Brick edifice fragile as shells.
Comes the condemnation, the inrush of air,
the structural blowdown.
This is the way a heart melts.
No fire, no flames, no heat.
Just the soft mushroom of dust and ash,
the quiet collapse inside.