Friday, April 1, 2011

Poetry Dictionary

Poetry DictionaryOn another site I publish a poetry blog.  Although my particular poetical style is one of spontaneity and stream of consciousness, I thought it would be a good idea to check out a variety of poetic references.  One such reference I picked up is The Poetry Dictionary by John Drury. 

For a reference tool, this dictionary is quite readable.  It's arranged in alphabetized chapters and is jam packed with useful information for anyone interested in poetry.  The author is very comprehensive in the breadth of what he includes.  Where applicable he not only provides pronunciation but also where the term originated to go along with any historical significance for the majority of the listings.

But what I found of particular value, as a practicing poet myself, was all the various forms he included.  He not only includes the common forms such as Ballads, Sonnets, Free and Narrative Verse, but also includes forms specific to various countries such as the Blason, Canzone, Limerick, Haiku,  Sestina, Tanka, and Villanelle.  Also included are fun forms like the Abecadarium, Acrostic, Chance Poetry, City Poem, Echo Verse, and the Palinode.

In my opinion, Mr. Drury does a nice job going through and defining the various devices a poet may use such as Alliteration, Catalexis, End Stop, Enjambment, Metaphor and Simile.  He does the poet a great service, which from where I sit, is worth the price of admission alone, by breaking down individual forms to their appropriate, traditional and at times varying rhyme schemes.  The reader will learn about meters, feet, stanzas and composition along with a variety of item specific nuances the student will find.  He discusses Prosody which is useful to the poet but indespensible for the songwriter.

I have to admit I did briefly research the pages before making the purchase, but for under ten dollars, I didn't put all that much research into in prior to checkout.  That said I was expecting a good base line for the terms a poet and scholar of poetry may come across, and then if a particular term needed further research than I could also do that.  But as I've mentioned in this review, Mr. Drury is comprehensive as he can be in such a wide scaled reference tool.  Are there opportunities to find material elsewhere to elaborate on individual terms, of course, but as is normally the case with references.  In conclusion I can safely say the book itself, for all it is, far exceded any preconception I had prior to receipt.  This is the type of reference anyone interested in the art of poetry should have on his/her shelf, right next to a high quality thesaurus, such as The Synonym Finder, and any good rhyming dictionary, which there are a few available.

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