The Ode Less Travelled: Unlocking the Poet Within

Front Cover
I have a dark and dreadful secret. I write poetry... I believe poetry is a primal impulse within all of us. I believe we are all capable of it and furthermore that a small, often ignored corner of us positively yearns to try it.
—Stephen Fry, The Ode Less Travelled

Stephen Fry believes that if one can speak and read English, one can write poetry. Many of us have never been taught to read or write poetry and think of it as a mysterious and intimidating form. Or, if we have been taught, we remember uncomfortable silence when an English teacher invited the class to "respond" to a poem. In The Ode Less Travelled, Fry sets out to correct this problem by giving aspiring poets the tools and confidence they need to write poetry for pleasure.

Fry is a wonderfully engaging teacher and writer of poetry himself, and he explains the various elements of poetry in simple terms, without condescension. His enjoyable exercises and witty insights introduce the concepts of Metre, Rhyme, Form, Diction, and Poetics. Aspiring poets will learn to write a sonnet, on ode, a villanelle, a ballad, and a haiku, among others. Along the way, he introduces us to poets we've heard of, but never read. The Ode Less Travelledis a lively celebration of poetry that makes even the most reluctant reader want to pick up a pencil and give it a try. BACKCOVER: Advanced Praise:
“Delightfully erudite, charming and soundly pedagogical guide to poetic form… Fry has created an invaluable and highly enjoyable reference book.”
Publishers Weekly

“A smart, sane and entertaining return to the basics… If you like Fry’s comic manner… this book has a lot of charm… People entirely fresh to the subject could do worse than stick with his cheerful leadership.”
The Telegraph(UK)

“…intelligent and informative, a worthy enterprise well executed.”

"If you learn how to write a sonnet, and Fry shows you how, you may or may not make a poem. But you will unlock the stored wisdom of the form itself."
—Grey Gowrie, The Spectator(UK)

“…intelligent and informative, a worthy enterprise well executed.”


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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - Razinha - LibraryThing

I try to get outside my comfort zone sometimes and I got this a couple of years ago to do just that but didn't get too far. I was told several people...that I had to read it out loud. ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - jen.e.moore - LibraryThing

Have you ever tried to write poetry? It's not as easy as it looks - even free blank verse, in most hands, sounds silly, while a good poet can shake you to your core. Nevertheless, I keep trying to ... Read full review


Endstopping Enjambment and Caesura
Four Beats to the Line Mixed Feet
AngloSaxon Attitudes Poetry Exercise 7
Good and Bad Rhyme? A Thought Experiment
The Ballad Poetry Exercise 12
Heroic Verse Poetry Exercise 13
The Villanelle Poetry Exercise 14
Haiku SenryuTanka Ghazal Luc
Tanaga Poetry Exercise 18
Shaped Verse Pattern Poems Silly Silly Forms
Diction and Poetics Toclay
Poetic Vices Ten Habits of Successful Poets that They
Incomplete Glossary of Poetic Terms
Appendix Arnauds Algorithm
Further Reading

Rondeau Rondeau Redouble
Cento The Clerihew The Limerick

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About the author (2006)

Stephen Fry is a bestselling novelist, comedian, and actor who has appeared in such films as A Fish Called Wanda, Wilde, A Civil Action, Bright Young Things, Gosford Park, and V for Vendetta.

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