poemcrazy…. {Great Reads}

book cover: PoemcrazyDear Susan Goldsmith Wooldridge,

You had me at, “I’m a collector of many things.”

Proudly stated in the opening chapter of her book, Wooldridge’s lead-in to her collection of words starts by revealing she’s a collector of a great many things. Hmmmm….. feels familiar…..

Add her thoughts on the writing style of e.e. cummings (irreverent, playing with words while breaking all the rules), and I was pretty sure I had stumbled on to a kindred spirit, one whose love of wordplay matches my own. 🙂

I don’t remember reading the classics in high school, probably because we moved a lot and I’d miss that unit of study every year – or I just completely tuned it out, chalking it up to a bunch of old writers and their dumb ideas. {teenage perspective} Hard to say.

What’s not hard to say, though, is that with Susan’s help, I learned about some of our greatest writers/poets and their contributions to American language – and perhaps, somehow, some of them had influenced my own writing. Interesting!

Her inclusion of Thoreau, Whitman, Cummings, Roethke, and Kunitz (to name a few) made reading poemcrazy feel like a cool college class that you really want to take and can’t get enough of the who, what, and why of the subject. Yes, I remember taking a few of those classes, don’t you?!

With 60 brief chapters that include stories from life (the author’s and others’), how words were created to describe those life stories, and a suggested (very do-able) writing practice activity,

poemcrazy is approachable, digestible, and palpable – allowing the reader a peek into the hearts of its author and contributors, creating a sense of intimacy that left me thinking about Wooldridge’s words (and those of her students, workshop participants, family, and friends) long after closing the book – as I fell asleep, drove to work, and even while sitting in meetings….. Once again, felt familiar….

Poemcrazy resonates with its reader, like a great conversation over coffee with a friend: warm, heartfelt, not soon forgotten.

If you enjoy wordplay even a little, or want to explore ways to write with abandon, this book is a treat. Highly recommend.

p.s. ~ Be on the lookout for the story behind the cover image…. 😉

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