Dec 19th, 2015 | By | Category: Book News


Wearing his poet’s hat Aleister Crowley wrote: “A poem is a series of words so arranged that the combination of meaning, rhythm  and rime [sic]  produces the definitely magical effect of exalting the soul to divine ecstasy.”  This is possibly one of the most erudite observations ever made on the subject because we find those who love classic poetry will often dismiss contemporary offering as not being true representations of the art.  If poetry ‘speaks’ to us then we are caught up in its magic regardless of its origins – classic or contemporary – because the beauty communicates from within the way the poet uses words and symmetry of meaning.

Poetry is a very personal thing and, if, like me, you’ve often been confused by contemporary poetry you can do no better than to read A Practical Guide to Poetry Forms by Alison Chisholm, who always manages to make the obscure and the obtuse accessible to those who have difficulty coming to terms with the different poetry forms.  Alison Chisholm has been writing poetry for over forty years and tutoring for twenty; with ten collections published and a further ten textbooks on the craft of writing which proves that the lady’s obviously got what it takes to do and to teach!   As usual, this is a practical handbook that provides informative details on the construction of the major set forms, and includes plenty of exercises – all within the scope of the beginner, yet stimulating enough to engage the more experienced poet.  Although I love ‘traditional’ poetry in the vein of The Oxford Book of English Verse, or The Golden Treasury, Alison is the only poet I’ve ever met who can impart an interpretation of the mysteries of contemporary poetry without giving the feeling that one is mentally defective for not understanding in the first place!  A truly gifted and talented tutor, so if you get the opportunity to attend one of her workshops, don’t miss it – if not, buy her books!

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