(I meant to blog about this one a month or so ago, but life took over.)
The Art of the Poetic Line is part of what looks like a very interesting series of books from Graywolf Press. Called “The Art of __”, each focuses on a particular single issue to do with creative writing. In this case, American poet/critic James Longenbach, writing about the implications, rationales, effects and strategies for ending lines.
Verdict? I definitely recommend it. It’s quite opinionated, and very much his personal (although very well supported) take on the issue. But I’ve got to hand it to him – as I was reading through, I kept finding myself saying things along the lines of “yes, but you’re ignoring ___”, only to find it dealt with a page later. He didn’t always win the argument, but I’m quite impressed at how many times he had, in fact, considered (and addressed) my objections. Not a bad trick for a book to pull off. And one that makes it feel like a passionate discussion that you’re a part of, rather than a lecture you’re being subjected to.
One caveat though – don’t read it anywhere too public, or you’ll get the same response from onlookers that I did …