Reading Poetry offers a comprehensive and accessible guide to the art of reading poetry. Discussing more than 200 poems by more than 100 writers, ranging from ancient Greece and China to the twenty-first century, the book introduces readers to the skills and the critical and theoretical awareness that enable them to read poetry with enjoyment and insight.
This third edition has been significantly updated in response to current developments in poetry and poetic criticism, and includes many new examples and exercises, new chapters on ‘world poetry’ and ‘eco-poetry’, and a greater emphasis throughout on American poetry, including the impact traditional Chinese poetry has had on modern American poetry. The seventeen carefully staged chapters constitute a complete apprenticeship in reading poetry, leading readers from specific features of form and figurative language to larger concerns with genre, intertextuality, Caribbean poetry, world poetry, and the role poetry can play in response to the ecological crisis.
The workshop exercises at the end of each chapter, together with an extensive glossary of poetic and critical terms, and the number and range of poems analysed and discussed – 122 of which are quoted in full – make Reading Poetry suitable for individual study or as a comprehensive, self-contained textbook for university and college classes.
Table of Contents
Part I. Formal Introduction 1. What is Poetry? How Should we Read it? 2. Rhythm and Metre 3. Significant Form: Metre and Syntax 4. Creative Form and the Arbitrary Nature of Language Part II. Textual Strategies 5. Figurative Language 6. Poetic Metaphor 7. Hearing Voices in Poetic Texts 8. Speakers with Attitude: Tone and Irony 9. Ambiguity 10. Closure, Pluralism and Undecidability Part III. Text in Contexts/Contexts in Texts 11. Introducing Contexts 12. Genre 13. The Sonnet 14. Allusion, Influence and Intertextuality 15. Post-Colonial Poetry 16. World Poetry 17. The Poetry of the Earth Glossary Poems and Passages Discussed or Used for Exercises Bibliography
Tom Furniss recently retired from the Department of English Studies at the University of Strathclyde in 2017, after teaching poetry, Romanticism, and literary theory for 30 years. He is the author of two monographs on Romanticism, co-author of several editions of the textbook Ways of Reading (Routledge) and recently published two collections of poetry.
Michael Bath is Emeritus Professor of Renaissance Studies at the University of Strathclyde, where he taught English literature for 40 years, and a Senior Research Fellow at the University of Glasgow. Author of numerous books and articles on literature and the visual arts, he specialises in emblem studies and in 2014 he was elected President of the international Society for Emblem Studies.
‘Reading Poetry stands out from other poetry handbooks in its superb combination of practical guidance and theoretical savvy. Students who use this comprehensive guide will be helped to enjoy and discuss poems, introduced to some of the major varieties of poetic criticism, and invited to reflect on what makes poetry important today.’
Derek Attridge, Emeritus Professor of English, University of York