This is a short reflection of Singing School by Robert Pinsky which was one of the poetry books on My Summer Poetry Reading List. It has taken me a while to finish it since I’ve been neck deep in reading the Harry Potter books among many others.
I admit I had some assumptions about what this book would be when I picked it up. I thought it would be thorough and detailed writing advice from Pinsky. What I really found was a miniature anthology of poems picked out by Pinsky that are presented as examples and inspiration to poets. This was a slight disappointment to me since I have more than enough anthologies of poems and I was looking for more of a detailed guide books/manual with great advice. Still, the infectious reader in me had to finish what she started, so I read on. By the end I realized that these specific poems that Pinsky chose were more than just good examples but living, breathing pieces that were solid in form, approach, style and technique (they are of course written by ‘the masters‘). Quite a few of the poems I recognized from taking previous Poetry courses up at the University of Utah but there were a few that I did read for the first time. I realized that these pieces picked out by Pinsky showed his extraordinary talent and abilities when it comes to poetry. Simply stated: He knows what he’s talking about! Of Course!
The poems are sectioned off into different chapters that have specific themes such as, ‘Freedom‘, and ‘Listening‘. At the beginning of each chapter Pinsky introduces his selected poems by explaining a certain element of poetry. His detailed analysis paired with tying in examples from the poems to be read, create a vivid but short lesson. I found the ‘Listening‘ chapter and ‘Dreaming Things Up‘ to be my favorites.
Overall I wish there was more to this book. I feel that it is a brief introduction to Poetry and Poetry’s key elements for beginners. Since I’ve been reading, studying and writing Poetry for a few years now, I crave something more complex and challenging to learn from. I would recommend this book to any Pinsky readers or newbies to Poetry since it is nevertheless a fantastic book!
Thank you for taking time out of your day to read my writing!
I hope that you will return in the future!