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Open Roads: Exercises in Writing Poetry

By Diane Thiel

Published by Pearson

Published Date: Oct 7, 2004


In Open Roads, a wealth of fresh and innovative writing exercises and a diverse anthology of poetic forms address specific elements of craft while sparking readers' imaginations and developing their writing skills. Clear, concise discussions of particular techniques of writing poetry are followed by practice of these individual techniques. An extensive anthology of both classic and contemporary poems features poems from Keats to Komunyakaa, and from Auden to Espaillat.

Table of Contents

Preface to the Instructor.


I. Exercises for Developing Craft and Technique.

Beginning/Points of Inspiration.

Keeping a Journal.

Personal Stories: History as Your Own Heartbeat.

Memory and Imagination.

Telling Lies to Tell the Truth.

Random Connections.

Voice and Tone.

Finding Your True Subjects.

Embodying a Voice.

Shifting Tone.

Perspective/Point of View.

Choosing Points of View.

Innocent Perspective.

Using Biography.

Selecting Details.

Detailing a poem.

Place with Personality.

Image and Symbol.

Turning Abstractions into Images.

Using all of Your Senses.

Writing from Art.

Making Metaphor.

Symbols, not Cymbals.

Figurative Language.


Origins of Words.

Foreign Flavor.

Surrealist game.


Tell-Tale Dialect.

Drawing Tension.

Reversing the Action.

Trading Elements.

Reverberating Closure.

Sound and Rhythm.

Listening to Nature.

Finding Your Rhythm: Poetry in Prose.

Sound, Sense and Nonsense.

Speaker and Dialogue.


Populating a Piece.

Dropping from the Eaves.

Conversations between texts.

Making the Old Story New.

Song and Story.

Kubla Khan Continued.

Performing the Poem: Reading, Slam, Performance.


Rereading, Re-imagining, Re-shaping.

Drafts and Discovery.

What's in a Name: Finding a Title.

Finding the Form: A Revision Narrative.

Workshop: Thirteen Ways of Looking for Revision.


Free Verse: Origins and Seasons.

Making and Breaking The Line.

Parallel Structures.


Rhythm and Refrain.

Hearing the Beat: Using Meter.

Trochaic Meter and Spells.

Making Rhyme Fresh.

Forms from Various Cultures and Traditions.


Forms of Repetition (Sestina, Villanelle, Rondeau, Triolet, Pantoum, Ghazal).

Occasionals: (Ode, Homage, Elegy).

Short Forms: Epigrams, Haiku, Tanka, Renga.

Ballad and Ballade.

Light Verse (Limerick, Clerihew, Double Dactyl).


Blues Poetry.

Prose Poetry.


Sherman Alexie, “Indian Education.”

Sherman Alexie and Diane Thiel, “An Interview with Sherman Alexie.”

John Ashbery, “Paradoxes and Oxymorons.”

W.H. Auden, “Musee des Beaux Arts.”

Elizabeh Bishop, “One Art.”

Robert Bly, “Snowfall in the Afternoon.”

Robert Browning, “My Last Duchess.”

Lewis Carroll, “Jabberwocky.”

Judith Ortiz Cofer, “Quinceañera.”

Lucille Clifton, “Homage to My Hips.”

Wendy Cope, “Lonely Hearts.”

Hart Crane, “My Grandmother's Loveletters.”

Paul Laurence Dunbar: “We Wear the Mask.”

Rhina Espaillat, “Bilingual/Bilingüe.”

Rhina Espaillat, “Bilingual/Bilingüe“ (essay).

Lawrence Ferlinghetti, “Don't Let the Horse Eat that Violin.”

Annie Finch: “Sapphics for Patience.”

Carolyn Forche: “The Colonel.”

Robert Frost: “The Road Not Taken,”   “Out, Out,”   “I Have Been One Acquainted with the Night,”   “Poetic Metaphor” From “Education by Poetry.”

Dana Gioia, “My Confessional Sestina.”

R. S. Gwynn, “Shakespearean Sonnet.”

Hafiz, “If From the Rock.”

Donald Hall: “Names of Horses.”

Joy Harjo, “She Had Some Horses.”

Michael S. Harper: “Dear John, Dear Coltrane.”

Langston Hughes, “Lenox Avenue.”

Langston Hughes, “The Weary Blues.”

Nikos Kavadias, “A Knife.”

John Keats, “Ode on a Grecian Urn.”

Yusef Komunyakaa, “Rhythm Method.”

Li-Young Lee, “Persimmons.”

Shirley Geok-lin Lim, “Pantoum for Chinese Women.”

April Lindner, “Spice.”

David Mason, “Acrostic from Aegina.”

Marianne Moore, “Poetry.”

Frederick Morgan, “1904.”

Marilyn Nelson: “Chosen.”

Naomi Shihab Nye, “Famous.”

Octavio Paz, “My Life with the Wave.”

Craig Raine, “A Martian Sends a Postcard Home.”

Dudley Randall, “Ballad of Birmingham.”

E.A. Robinson: “Richard Cory.”

Theodore Roethke, My Papa's Waltz.

Carl Sandburg, “Fog.”

Paul Simon, “Richard Cory.”

Sor Juana Inèla Cruz, “She Promises to Hold a Secret in Confidence.”

William Stafford, “Traveling Through the Dark.”

Wallace Stevens, “Disillusionment of Ten o clock.”

Wallace Stevens, “Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird.”

Alfonsina Storni, “Ancestral Burden.”

Diane Thiel, “Memento Mori in Middle School.”

Cesar Vallejo, “To my Brother, Miguel.”

Carolyn Beard Whitlow, “Rockin' a Man Stone Blind.”

Walt Whitman, “When Lilacs last in the Dooryard Bloomed.”

Walt Whitman, “When I Heard the Learned Astronomer.”

Richard Wilbur, “The Writer.”

Miller Williams, “The Curator.”

William Carlos Williams, “The Dance.”

William Carlos Williams, “The Red Wheelbarrow.”

William Butler Yeats, “The Stolen Child.”

William Butler Yeats, “The Lake Isle of Innisfree.”


Open Roads: Exercises in Writing Poetry

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$86.65 $82.32 | ISBN-13: 978-0-321-12760-0

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