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Part memoir, filled with poetry exercises and activities, and sprinkled with poems, Poemcrazy is sure to inspire anyone who wants to delve deeper into the art of writing poetry and the lifestyle of a poet.
Poemcrazy is a delicious read with bite-sized chapters that give you a creative boost and a flash of inspiration before any poetry writing session.
The combination of Wooldridge’s stories about her life as a poet, her suggestions for poetry practice, and the poems she shares (written by herself and others) combine brilliantly for a fun and engaging yet practical read.
Live, Practice, Poetry
It’s not often that we get a glimpse inside the life of a poet. Susan Goldsmith Wooldridge is a poet and teacher who provides writing and creativity workshops around the U.S. In Poemcrazy, she shows us how her life and her poetry are intertwined, each feeding the other. From quiet moments walking alongside a creek to monumental events, such as the impending loss of a parent, we see how a poet finds inspiration, words, and a voice.
Each chapter shares a quick scene or story from Susan’s life followed by some suggestions for poetry practice. One of my favorite practices from the book was collecting interesting words and writing them on “word tickets.” You can stash your word tickets in a container or leave them around the house for random inspiration. Your collection of words form a wordpool, a body of words that you can dip into whenever you want. This is a practice that can truly expand your vocabulary, which is essential for poets. She also offers tons of prompts and other ideas that will both inspire your poetry and refine it.
There are poems and excerpts throughout the book. Some of these are Susan’s own poems, but she also shares the work of well-known poets and examples from pieces her students wrote during workshops. All of these serve as examples that show how Susan’s experiences, ideas, and exercises can be put into practice.
Writers who are diligent about studying the craft often immerse themselves in books that focus on writing tools and techniques. Sometimes we forget to look at authors who have gone before us by reading memoirs, biographies, and autobiographies. These works can provide valuable insight into what it means to be a writer. Poemcrazy shows us what it means to be a poet.
This is a book I recommend to anyone who’s interested in exploring poetry or refining their language skills. It’s fun, inspiring, informative, and will breathe fresh life into your poetry and writing practices.