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The Ode Less Travelled: Unlocking the Poet Within (Englisch) Gebundene Ausgabe – 21. November 2005

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“Fry’s extraordinary book is an idiot’s guide to the writing of poetry, a primer, a tutorial with funny turns, an earnest textbook…”
Independent on Sunday

“A smart, sane and entertaining return to basics.”
Daily Telegraph

From the Trade Paperback edition.


Stephen Fry's The Ode Less Travelled provides us with a witty and entertaining guide to the mysteries of writing poetry.

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Format: Taschenbuch
If you love reading poems and have, in the darker corners of your mind, explored the possibility of writing some yourself (or have already done so), this book will be your oyster.
Not only does it contain a clearly structured introduction to poetic diction, styles and forms, it is also written in a most entertaining manner as you would expect of Stephen Fry.
Fry knows the tricks of the trade and guides you through the jungle of poetry like the encouraging teacher you always wished you had. At the end of each chapter, an exercise awaits you where you can put your newly acquired knowledge into practice.
So get out your pen and paper and enjoy!
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Format: Taschenbuch Verifizierter Kauf
Stepehen Fry - the modern day Oscar Wilde - set out to give us back the love for poetry that might have been stifled by school or misuse. On over 300 pages he tells us how poetry works and gives us exercises on how to do it ourselves.

With many examples from literature - and some he wrote himself - he shows us the mechanisms behind meaning and atmosphere.

This is not really for the beginner in literature, because Mr. Fry's language is not only very enjoyable, but also quite complex. But if you try it, you will find the pull of his "lessons" nearly inresistible.
Kommentar 3 von 3 haben dies hilfreich gefunden. War diese Rezension für Sie hilfreich? Ja Nein Feedback senden...
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Die hilfreichsten Kundenrezensionen auf (beta) HASH(0x9152327c) von 5 Sternen 64 Rezensionen
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HASH(0x9123cf30) von 5 Sternen poetic justice 8. November 2005
Von lowell duluth - Veröffentlicht auf
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
There was a fine fellow named Fry...who has here given the world a very funny (at times downright filthy), knowledgeable, reliable and, I would say, unique volume about the art & craft of writing poetry. I know Fry`s erudition & relentless wit can put off some people (mostly English ones - how we suspect success and excellence in this fearful country!) but I forgive the man his exuberant excesses and prefer to celebrate him as a generous-spirited Good Thing.
If you have never written a poem in your life, or you are a little afraid to, or want some encouragement, or wish to find out more about the mechanics of `prosody`, or are, indeed, already happily writing poems galore - this book is for you. Find out what a `foot` is; the difference between a Shakespearean & Petrarchan sonnet; and what in Heaven`s name is a spondee? Fry gives (often hilarious) examples of his own, and sets `exercises` at the end of each chapter. Mildly avuncular & user-friendly, without dumbing down.
My only quibble is his misunderstanding of what a haiku really is. He admits his ignorance of the intricacies of the more `exotic` verse forms, but it`s a shame he has given such poor, not to say inaccurate, examples of haiku - especially since the Guardian`s onetime haiku competition daily printed efforts by readers which utterly ignored the `break` necessary between the second & third lines. If you`re going to call something a haiku, at least have the politeness to find out what it is - and isn`t - to begin with! (Bete noir got off chest.)
This is Fry at his best. Long may he prosper until the sad but inevitable day when flights of chubby, pink-bottomed angels sing him to his well-earned rest.
Hey, that last paragraph rhymed - even if it didn`t scan.
41 von 43 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
HASH(0x90b06354) von 5 Sternen A volume wise and wry, from Mr. Stephen Fry. 30. September 2006
Von Miles D. Moore - Veröffentlicht auf
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe Verifizierter Kauf
One of my favorite quotes about poetry is from Dame Edith Sitwell. "Poetry is like horticulture," she said. "Each poem should be allowed to grow according to its natural form." In his new book, "The Ode Less Travelled: Unlocking the Poet Within," Stephen Fry creates a veritable topiary garden of poetry, providing not only an encyclopedic overview of poetic meters and forms in English but a cogent, bracing and witty demonstration of their value. As its subtitle suggests, "The Ode Less Travelled" is written as a primer to both beginning and experienced poets who need, shall we say, a jump start to their creativity. Each chapter offers a discussion, with examples, of a particular meter, rhyme scheme or form, and suggests exercises at the end for readers to create their own examples. Fry quotes English poets from William Shakespeare to William McGonagall to illustrate his points, as well as a gratifyingly large array of American poets. Sometimes, when an example from the canon is not readily available, Fry will write his own, such as when he illustrates a dactyl (one stressed syllable, two non-stressed) followed by a molossus (three sharply stressed syllables in a row) in an imagined argument between Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader:

Why do you bother me? Go to Hell!

I am your destiny. Can't you tell?

You're not my father. Eat my shorts!

Come to the dark side. Feel the force!

Fry--a renowned writer, actor, director, wit and polymath--brings all his Cambridge erudition to "The Ode Less Travelled," combined with the passion of a man who cares to the depth of his soul about language and his possibilities. By learning as much as possible about the meters and forms available to us as poets in English, he argues, we gain insight into the sheer potential of the English language. That is a lesson that has importance far beyond the realm of poetry. In one of the book's closing chapters, he expounds on what he calls the flexibility of English, compared with other languages: "(I)t is more than a question of the thousands more words available to us, it is also a question of the numberless styles, modes, jargons and slangs we have recourse to. If by poetry we mean something more than the decorative, noble and refined, then English is a perfect language for poetry. So be alert to it at all times." Hear, hear!
10 von 10 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
HASH(0x90b0615c) von 5 Sternen "I believe poetry is a primal impulse within us all." 20. August 2007
Von Luan Gaines - Veröffentlicht auf
Format: Taschenbuch
Whether writing poetry is curse or gift, the cat is out of the bag: the most unexpected people write poetry. It is Stephen Fry's intention to unveil the mystery, which he does with enthusiasm in chapters addressing Metre, Rhyme, Form, and Diction and Poetics Today, a daunting task by any measure; Fry approaches his topic with an attention to the details that often overwhelm would-be poets, for example the unusual jargon and technical vocabulary that accompanies a serious discussion of poetry. Anticipating a reluctance to dive right in, Fry offers three golden rules: take your time ("you can never read a poem too slowly, but you can certainly read one too fast!"); avoid over-thinking what you are reading ("poems are not crossword puzzles"); and invest in a notebook to carry everywhere, the only equipment necessary. Thus prepared, the journey begins, Fry the experienced guide.

The chapter on metre is expansive, a thorough dissection of rhythm, pentameter, beats per line, each section followed by a helpful poetry exercise to bring each example home. The question, to rhyme or not to rhyme, includes the inherent problems and advantages to the rhyme-inclined. More advanced is the how and why of form, the stanza and its variations, the ballad, heroic verse, ode, comic verse, haiku and the Mercedes of serious poetry, the sonnet. By far my favorite chapter addresses "The Doctrine of Poetic Diction". What is acceptable language? What are the obvious pitfalls? Most helpful, what are the particular vices a poet should avoid? We are reminded that laziness in a writer, poetry or otherwise, produces a plethora of subsets: sentimentality, vanity, self-indulgence, technical ineptitude and a lack of originality. It is imperative (if one is to have an audience) to consider the reaction of the reader, keep a running journal of thoughts, inspirations and phrases, read the poetry of others, allow mistakes and practice reading poems aloud.

Given the guidelines provided in this book for poetry writers, Fry also makes a case for passion, encouraging the occasional foray outside the lines when a bit of wildness may animate the poem. His own appreciation of poetry at all times evident, Fry goes to the heart of the matter, embracing form and dimension, but ever aware of the power of emotion. An excellent and fascinating guide to "unlocking the poet within". Luan Gaines/2007.
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HASH(0x90b0675c) von 5 Sternen An accessible workshop manual for the poetry neophyte 13. Juli 2010
Von P. Wheeler - Veröffentlicht auf
Format: Taschenbuch
Just finished this one and have immediately started to read it again.

Poetry has always been something that I have thought was just out of reach; I enjoy a good poem, but I've never really understood the subject. I accept that, to appreciate most art forms, you need to have some grasp of the techniques used. I know, for example, when I look at a painting, why it works as an oil but wouldn't work as a watercolour, how the paint has been layered to give depth and richness and how the use of colour has created a mood. But give me a book of poetry and I'm like a bogan in an art gallery, reduced to the literary equivalent of liking the nice pictures and disregarding anything I don't understand. I know that I like Shelley but don't like Pound, but I have no idea why.

Stephen Fry is passionate about poetry, something that he makes clear in his earlier novel `The Hippopotamus'. The Ode Less Travelled is his attempt to share that passion with a wider world, not by reviewing poems and trying to teach us what the poet is trying to say to us, but by taking us back to the basics and giving us a workshop manual that opens up the art form and shows us its innards. He introduces meter and form with examples and, heaven help us, exercises, which actually work.

Starting us gently with a dummies guide to iambic pentameter, Fry works through all the major metrical types at a comfortable pace that allows the reader to learn without ever really feeling stretched, it was only after the first few chapters that I realised just how much I had picked up, that I could, for example, recognise a trochaic or pyrrhic substitution and could tell the difference between a dactyl and anapaest. If that sounds intimidating (and I think it does) then it is to Fry's enormous credit that he makes it an easy and pleasurable ride, helped along with examples taken from the great poets and self-deprecating samples from his own imagination.

After meter comes rhyme and after rhyme comes form. It's no exaggeration to say that, looking at a collection of poetry after reading this book, it feels almost like seeing in colour for the first time after a lifetime of believing that back and white was the norm.

Criticisms? There are two main ones. The pace increases in the middle of the book, it reads as if Fry has realised how much ground he has to cover in an ever-decreasing ration of words and has had to speed up to squeeze it all in. This leaves it feeling rushed at times and forces the reader (at least, this reader) to go back over sections in a way that was not necessary in the earlier chapters. Then there is Stephen Fry himself. Personally, I like his writing and have read nearly all of his published books. But can I understand those that find him irritating. Fry is immensely clever; I don't think anyone is likely to deny that. The trouble is, that much like Oscar Wilde, who he admires so much and seems to be always trying to emulate, he does spend a lot of his time making sure that you realise it. All of his writing, and this is no exception, has a recurrent theme of `look at what a big intellect I've got'. If you can get past that and would like to be able to read poetry in colour, then I heartily recommend this book.
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HASH(0x90b067c8) von 5 Sternen A Must Read for Poets and Those Who Love Poetry 17. September 2007
Von Julie Jordan Scott - Veröffentlicht auf
Format: Taschenbuch
From the first two sentences, Fry had me hook, line and sinker.

He writes: "I have a dark and dreadful secret. I write poetry."

And what a pleasant experience this entire book was for me and will be for anyone who lifts it from the shelf.

Fry's writing makes me think of an English professor - a gifted English professor, standing in front of enrapt students. I can almost smell the scent of old books lining the walls of the classroom and the shampoo on the hair of the students. I can hear the scratching of pencils on paper as Fry says things like "Never worry about 'meaning' when you are reading poems." I hear him take a pause. "Poems are not crossword puzzles."

Students laugh. We, the readers, laugh.

He tells stories, my favorite being of Keats when he first "got" poetry. I think all poetry lovers can understand and relate and perhaps hope that just a bit of that Keats artistry can tumble into our pencils-and-pens somehow in knowing this tidbit from his life story.

I am making a list of people who will enjoy this book, a little bit of "how to" with a lot of knowledge and wisdom, a fine collection of poetry and your own creative mentor to guide the poetic journey.

Enjoy the trip!
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