In the 1980s, when I began to take writing poetry seriously, I pondered what comprised the ideal poem. My university studies had concentrated on great writers from the past, but what were my fellow Canadian poets achieving? Notebook in hand, I spent many happy afternoons in the Periodicals section of the Metro Reference Library reading through its collection of Canadian literary magazines. Many poems I admired, but each one I didn’t forced me to figure out why. What, exactly, seemed not to be working? If I were its author, how would I try to “fix” it?
Several years running Continuing Education poetry workshops and sharing sessions with individual writers furthered my thoughts about poetic craft. Some were published here and there in magazines. Eventually, they developed into the book A Magical Clockwork: The Art of Writing the Poem (out of print). A subsequent condensed version focused on its key ideas. Writing Reader-Friendly Poems Plus Writing Exercises is still available on amazon.ca.
So why create a blog now? If you take writing poetry seriously, perhaps some of my observations from over the years may prove helpful. When a new poetry collection thrills me, I have been happy to write a cover blurb or initiate my own full review. Such items seem like a good place to start. I hope you find them interesting, along with a gradual potpourri of notes and excerpts from my earlier articles and books, and fresh thinking that will follow.
— Susan Ioannou
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