I enjoyed “Immersed in Verse.” This guide book takes the reader through all aspects of the poet's life. From the very start Allan Wolf establishes his humorous but still informative style with the “Stereotype Poet's Hall of Fame.” The seven main types of poets: classic poet, beat poet, angry poet, gothic poet, secret poet, hip-hop poet, and professor poet, made me laugh, but at the same time Wolf accurately conveys a broad scale picture of the poetry genre using this succinct device. After introducing the main types of poets, “Immersed in Verse” progresses to the different types of poetry. Twenty examples show the broad palette of subject matter and style that the poet can work with.
After introducing poets and poetry Allan Wolf starts on advice for new poets. He lists beneficial habits of highly successful poets and tools of the trade. After that he begins analyzing the anatomy of a poem. It is in this section that I found the single best feature of “Immersed in Verse”: the poem “Where I'm From” by George Ella Lyon. This amazing poem opened up a whole new area of inspiration in my mind.
Most of the things that Allan Wolf covers in “Immersed in Verse” are very simple ideas that I have already figured out over my own years of poetry experience. However, the book does contain a few amazing jewels that I had never thought of. For example page 72 highlights “Found Poems,” including one wonderful poem that Wolf himself created from a piece of a love letter that he found on the sidewalk outside of a middle school. The left and right sides of the letter were missing. Just the heart of it remained, but you can still tell the general drift of the letter. This idea struck me as very innovative with many applications. Wolf also discusses collaborative poems, including the “Exquisite Corpse Poem,” in which a group of people build a poem while knowing very little about what the other collaborators wrote. This technique creates a very “stream of consciousness” effect that captures the mood and minds of the group that created it.
I think that “Immersed in Verse,” by Allan Wolf is an excellent introduction to the poetry life. This book is suitable both for complete newbies with no experience writing poetry and seasoned poets in need of fresh inspiration. I recommend “Immersed in Verse” to all young people interested in poetry.
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