Poetry: The Basics

2nd Edition

By Jeffrey Wainwright

© 2011 – Routledge

268 pages

Purchasing Options:
Paperback: 9780415566162
pub: 2011-02-18
US Dollars$24.95
Hardback: 9780415566155
pub: 2011-02-23
US Dollars$115.00

e–Inspection Copy

About the Book

Now in its second edition, Poetry: The Basics demystifies the traditions and forms of the world of poetry for all those who find it daunting or bewildering. Covering a wide range of poetic voices from Chaucer to children's rhymes, song lyrics and the words of contemporary poets, this book will help readers to appreciate poetry by examining:

  • technical aspects such as rhythm and measures
  • different tones of voice in poetry
  • the relationship between 'everyday' and 'poetic' language
  • how different types of poetry are structured
  • how the form and 'space' of a poem contribute to its meaning
  • some of the ways contemporary poets set to work.

A must-read for all those wishing to get to grips with reading and writing poetry, this book is a lively and inspiring introduction to its many styles and purposes right up to the present-day.


'Whether writing about Paradise Lost or the lyrics of Nick Cave, Jeffrey Wainwright is an inspiring and engaging critic of poetry. There are pleasures and insights to be found on every page of this immensely readable book.' – Stephen Regan, Royal Holloway, University of London, UK

'An extremely lucid, sane and broad-church approach to the nuts and bolts of poetry.' – Robert Potts, The Guardian

Table of Contents

Preface 1. Because there is language there is poetry 2. Deliberate Space 3. Tones of Voice 4. Measures 5. ‘Free Verse’ 6. Rhyme 7. Stanza 8. Image – Imagination – Inspiration 9. Writing a Poem Now Conclusion Glossary Bibliography

About the Author

Jeffrey Wainwright is a poet, translator, and critic. He taught for many years at Manchester Metropolitan University where he was Professor in the Department of English until 2008.

About the Series

The Basics

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
LANGUAGE ARTS & DISCIPLINES / Composition & Creative Writing