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The Ode Less Travelled: Unlocking the Poet within

The Ode Less Travelled: Unlocking the Poet within

Book rating: 05 Paperback Arrow Books

By (author) Stephen Fry

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  • Publisher: ARROW BOOKS LTD
  • Format: Paperback | 384 pages
  • Dimensions: 130mm x 194mm x 28mm | 259g
  • Publication date: 2 October 2007
  • Publication City/Country: London
  • ISBN 10: 0099509342
  • ISBN 13: 9780099509349
  • Sales rank: 3,711

Product description

Stephen Fry believes that if you can speak and read English you can write poetry. But it is no fun if you don't know where to start or have been led to believe that Anything Goes. Stephen, who has long written poems, and indeed has written long poems, for his own private pleasure, invites you to discover the incomparable delights of metre, rhyme and verse forms. Whether you want to write a Petrarchan sonnet for your lover's birthday, an epithalamion for your sister's wedding or a villanelle excoriating the government's housing policy, The Ode Less Travelled will give you the tools and the confidence to do so. Brimful of enjoyable exercises, witty insights and simple step-by-step advice, "The Ode Less Travelled" guides the reader towards mastery and confidence in the Mother of the Arts.

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Author information

As well as being the bestselling author of four novels, The Stars' Tennis Balls, Making History, The Hippopotamus, and The Liar, and the first volume of his autobiography, Moab is My Washpot, Fry has played Peter in Peter's Friends, Wilde in the film Wilde, Jeeves in the television series Jeeves & Wooster and (a closely guarded show-business secret, this) Laurie in the television series Fry & Laurie.

Customer reviews

By Nigel McBain 28 Apr 2013 5

Stephen Fry gives us a carefully considered cursus through the various poetical forms in this precious book.

There are poetic exercises to complete and discussion of the whys and wherefores of how different poetic meters function and how you can use them. The use is clearly intended for the enthusiast, but I think this book would serve well as the basis for a course in creative poetic writing in an academic setting.

Of particular help, I've found, is the glossary - which provides such a rich panoply of wonderful terms to explore like the "hemistich" found in Anglo-Saxon poetry. These can keep you going for days.

Brilliant - highly recommended alongside Fenton's "An Introduction to English Poetry"; if you had both books, I think you'd have all your bases covered for creative poetic writing.

By Mark Albert George Hanson 15 Jan 2013 5

For someone like me, who previously knew next to nothing about the mechanics of poetry this was an incredibly informative and insightful delve into that nebulous realm of literature we call poetry. Fry's writing is sublime and pithy as it should be and it even comes with some tasks to help you create your own poems from metre to rhyme.

Note. This is a book about the mechanics of poetry and not the appreciation of poetry. More like a textbook than a critique.

Review quote

"Fry's extraordinary book is an idiots' guide to the writing of poetry, a primer, a tutorial with funny turns, an earnest textbook... You can't but marvel at Fry's easy familiarity with the rictameter and the rondeau redouble and applaud the energy of his evangelistic zeal" Independent on Sunday "With his usual wit and occasional obscenity, he takes us through an array of metrical forms and poetic structures, talking to us like a cajoling hearty teacher" Sunday Telegraph "Intelligent and informative, a worthy enterprise well executed" Observer "A smart, sane and entertaining return to basics" Daily Telegraph "Funny and instructive" Spectator