Springer Texts in Education
cover

Learning the Secrets of English Verse

Authors: Rothman, David J., Spear, Susan Delaney

  • Contains clear and concise explanations of each verse form in the English literature
  • Includes scanned and explicated models of poems, both from the canon and student models
  • Offers clear instructions and parameters for poetry writing instruction
  • Provides teachers with a structured method for teaching poetry
  • Gives readers the tools to be successful as creative writers
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Buy this book

eBook $59.99
price for USA in USD
  • The eBook version of this title will be available soon
  • Due: August 23, 2021
  • ISBN 978-3-030-53096-9
  • Digitally watermarked, DRM-free
  • Included format:
  • ebooks can be used on all reading devices
Softcover $74.99
price for USA in USD
  • Customers within the U.S. and Canada please contact Customer Service at +1-800-777-4643, Latin America please contact us at +1-212-460-1500 (24 hours a day, 7 days a week). Pre-ordered printed titles are excluded from promotions.
  • Due: July 26, 2021
  • ISBN 978-3-030-53095-2
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
  • Institutional customers should get in touch with their account manager
  • Covid-19 shipping restrictions
About this Textbook

This textbook teaches the writing of poetry by examining all the major verse forms and repeating stanza forms in English. It provides students with the tools to compose successful lines of poetry and focuses on meter (including free verse), rhythm, rhyme, and the many other tools a poet needs to create both music and meaningfulness in an artful poem. Presenting copious examples from strong poets of the past and present along with many recent student examples, all of which are scanned, each chapter offers lessons in poetic history and the practice of writing verse, along with giving students a structured opportunity to experiment writing in all the forms discussed.

 

In Part 1, Rothman and Spear begin at the beginning, with Anglo-Saxon Strong Stress Alliterative Meter and examine every major meter in English, up to and including the free verse forms of modern and contemporary poetry. Part 2 presents a close examination of stanza forms that moves from the simple to the complex, beginning with couplets and ending with the 14-line Eugene Onegin stanza. The goal of the book is to give students the essential skills to understand how any line of poetry in English may have been composed, the better to enjoy them and then also write their own: the keys to the treasure chest.

Rothman and Spear present a rigorous curriculum that teaches the craft of poetry through a systematic examination and practice of the major English meters and verse forms. Under their guidance, students hone their craft while studying the rich traditions and innovations of poets writing in English. Suitable for high school students and beyond. I studied with Rothman in graduate school and went through this course with additional scholarly material. This book will help students develop a keen ear for the music of the English language.—Teow Lim Goh, author of Islanders

              

About the authors

David J. Rothman is the CEO/President of the Jackson Hole Center for the Arts in Jackson, Wyoming. His most recent publication is a poetry chapbook from Lithic Press, My Brother’s Keeper (2019). In 2018 he won a Pushcart Prize for the poem “Kernels,” which originally appeared in The New Criterion. In 2017 he published Belle Turnbull: On the Life & Work of an American Master (Pleiades), co-edited with Jeffrey Villines. In addition to many other books, his poems, essays and scholarly work have appeared widely, in journals including Agni, Appalachia, Atlantic Monthly, Gettysburg Review, Hudson Review, Kenyon Review, Mountain Gazette, New Criterion, Poetry, Sewanee Review, Threepenny Review and scores of other newspapers, journals and books. He co-founded the Crested Butte Music Festival, was the founding Publisher and Editor of Conundrum Press (now an imprint of Bower House Books of Denver), and has served as Resident Poet with Colorado Public Radio and as Poet Laureate of Colorado’s Western Slope (2017-’19). He has taught at many colleges and universities, including the University of Utah, the University of Colorado, New York University, and Zhejiang University (People’s Republic of China). From 2014-’18 he served as Director of the Graduate Program in Creative Writing at Western Colorado University, where he also directed the poetry concentration, edited the journal THINK, and served as director of the conference Writing the Rockies. He has also taught for many decades at Lighthouse Writers Workshop in Denver, where in 2012 he won the Beacon Award for excellence in teaching.


Susan Delaney Spear is Associate Professor of English and Creative Writing at Colorado Christian University where she serves as English Department Chair. Prior to that; she taught at Chatfield Senior High School for eight years. She earned an MFA in Poetry with an Emphasis on Verse Forms from Western Colorado University in 2012. From 2013 to 2019 she served as Managing Editor of THINK, a journal of poetry, essays, and reviews. Her poems have appeared in The New Criterion, The Christian Century, Academic Questions, Measure, First Things, The Anglican Theological Review and other print and on-line journals. Her collection of poetry, Beyond All Bearing, was published by Wipf and Stock in January of 2018.

          

Reviews

“Learning the Secrets of English Verse is a wonderful textbook on poetic craft that is especially valuable in its historical orientation. It presents the bedrock forms by reaching back to Anglo-Saxon, then moving forward through the meters of Middle English and the Renaissance. These meters in English are fascinating in themselves, but even better, they set the stage for a grand synthesis in the sixteenth century: "a poetic invention of astonishing power and durability, still very much alive"—the iambic pentameter. It is almost a story of suspense, and it is all done with genial wit. Anyone who aspires to write poetry in both the recognizable and unusual meters and rhythms of English will find a rich resource here.” (Thomas Cable, Jane Weinert Blumberg Chair Emeritus in English, University of Texas at Austin, co-author with Albert C. Baugh of four editions of A History of the English Language)

“Teaching poetry to high school students is an important part of their education, and this book lives up to its title, Learning the Secrets of English Verse. It introduces students to metrical form and stanza form, showing them that poetic technique is as important to poetry as feelings, concepts and metaphors. It also uses the impressive array of forms to take students back in time to when the forms appeared, and then offers examples of recent poems written by important writers alongside inspiring examples written by high school students. The two authors are accomplished poets with a great deal of experience teaching at the high school level; and though I teach at the college level, at Penn State, I look forward to using this wonderful introduction to the power of the organization of words in poetry and the great tradition of poetic craft in my creative writing seminars.” (Emily Grosholz, Edwin Erle Sparks Professor of Philosophy, African American Studies and English, The Pennsylvania State University, author of The Stars of Earth: New and Selected Poems (Word Galaxy Press))

“The editors cover all the essentials of the English verse tradition in laudable detail and discuss its roots in other traditions. The book is astutely organized, with each of the fifteen chapters—including an incisive chapter on free verse—providing a discussion of a particular form and its history, examples from the past and present, student attempts, and an exercise. Taking inspiration from the legendary teacher, translator, and poet Robert Fitzgerald, the editors advance a clear yet marvelously nuanced discussion of scansion in one of their fine “inter-chapters,” along with a running and welcome analysis of metrical and other compositional effects both in the great poems they have chosen as examples and in student work. Learning the Secrets of English Verse offers a comprehensive curriculum for teachers and students of poetry, useful also to the practicing poet who might need a refresher in the rich, living resources of the art.” (Daniel Tobin, Professor of Writing, Literature and Publishing, Emerson College, Winner of the Robert Penn Warren Award, the Robert Frost Fellowship, the Katherine Bakeless Nason Prize, the Massachusetts Book Award, the Julia Ward Howe Award and fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Guggenheim Foundation, author of Blood Labors and On Serious Earth)

“Learning the Secrets of English Verse is a generous gift to English teachers at both the high school and introductory college levels. It teaches the skill and art of prosody, which has sadly fallen into neglect in recent decades, and it does so with clarity, concision, historical and theoretical background, classic examples, exercises, and kind but honest critiques of the work of high school students. It is a unique and indispensable guide for anyone teaching poetry.” (A.M. Juster, poet, translator, critic and author of Horace's Satires and Saint Aldhelm's Riddles)

“Rothman and Spear have transformed the study of poetry. With a close focus on form, they give poetry a voice that is far more intriguing and compelling than most traditional textbooks. Further, the student is an active participant, invited not only to demystify and comprehend, but also to craft poetry alongside the greatest names in poetry. The result is an organic understanding and appreciation of the art of verse and the poem. I am eager to add this text to my AP Literature classroom.” (Charlotte Camp, English Department Chair, Crested Butte (Colorado) Community School)

“Meter and rhyme are sources of pleasure and vehicles of memory—the basis of popular song as well as poetry. As with music, we must practice our art in order to achieve the freshness and spontaneity we desire. I cannot think of a better textbook to help teachers and students alike in the practice of this glorious art. Rothman and Spear bring decades of experience as teachers, poets and students themselves, offering splendid exercises in form. They have worked to make this book lively, useful and affordable, and for that I am deeply grateful.” (David Mason, Professor of English Emeritus, the Colorado College, Colorado Poet Laureate 2010-14, author of Ludlow: A Verse Novel, and co-author of Western Wind: An Introduction to Poetry)

“Rothman and Spear present a rigorous curriculum that teaches the craft of poetry through a systematic examination and practice of the major English meters and verse forms. Under their guidance, students hone their craft while studying the rich traditions and innovations of poets writing in English. Suitable for high school students and beyond. I studied with Rothman in graduate school and went through this course with additional scholarly material. This book will help students develop a keen ear for the music of the English language.” (Teow Lim Goh, author of Islanders)

“What would the best possible introduction to the art of poetry look like? It would be a meticulous look under the hood, with the help of passionate mechanics; a curtain thrown open on a gallery of lovely examples, by docents who knows their stuff; a wide conspectus of the range of poetry from the mountaintop; a comprehensive handbook and reference book of the subject; and a kind of story, the story of an exploration into the mind of humankind. This is what Rothman and Spear have given us.” (Frederick Turner, Founders Professor of Arts and Humanities at the University of Texas at Dallas, former editor of the Kenyon Review, winner of the Levinson Poetry Prize and frequent nominee for the Nobel Prize for Literature, author of over forty books, including three epic poems, many books of poetry, major works of criticism, and seven prizewinning collections of poetry in translation)

“How refreshing! A poetry textbook that focuses not only on the rules, but on the fun in following and breaking them. A conversational guide that invites mistakes and encourages excellence. I wish I had this textbook years ago. Well-organized. Playful. Approachable. Juicy. Exactly the book a teacher needs for making formal poetry accessible, enjoyable, relevant. I will be using it with adult students—and I’ve been enjoying the exercises myself!” (Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer, teacher for Ah Haa School for the Arts, Weehawken Arts, Shyft, author of Hush, winner of the Halcyon Prize, and Naked for Tea, finalist for the Able Muse Poetry Award)

“Most people, including most lovers of poetry, have only a vague notion of the features that make poems different from prose. Their ears remain untrained, and as a result, even if they read widely, they are liable to miss much of the richness a well-made poem has to offer. In this book Rothman and Spear offer a much-needed redress. Learning the Secrets of English Verse provides a solid foundation for an understanding of the principles of verse. Its readings and exercises offer an excellent training ground for the ear and the mind. Those who apply themselves to its lessons are sure to understand poems in greater depth and with more nuance than before. A few with talent and persistence may develop the skills to create poems of their own that will one day speak to others.” (Jan Schreiber, author of Wily Apparitions, Peccadilloes, Bay Leaves (poems), Sparring with the Sun (criticism))

“Scholarly yes, and entertaining, too. An indispensable resource for serious teachers and practitioners alike. Rothman and Spear, with their shared experience as teachers, poets, and musicians have provided us all, not just a useful curriculum, but a means to generate enthusiasm and acuity with this thorough, common sense approach to the instruction and the practice of our craft.” (Wendy Videlock, poet and visual artist, author of Nevertheless)​

Buy this book

eBook $59.99
price for USA in USD
  • The eBook version of this title will be available soon
  • Due: August 23, 2021
  • ISBN 978-3-030-53096-9
  • Digitally watermarked, DRM-free
  • Included format:
  • ebooks can be used on all reading devices
Softcover $74.99
price for USA in USD
  • Customers within the U.S. and Canada please contact Customer Service at +1-800-777-4643, Latin America please contact us at +1-212-460-1500 (24 hours a day, 7 days a week). Pre-ordered printed titles are excluded from promotions.
  • Due: July 26, 2021
  • ISBN 978-3-030-53095-2
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
  • Institutional customers should get in touch with their account manager
  • Covid-19 shipping restrictions
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Bibliographic Information

Bibliographic Information
Book Title
Learning the Secrets of English Verse
Authors
Series Title
Springer Texts in Education
Copyright
2021
Publisher
Springer International Publishing
Copyright Holder
Springer Nature Switzerland AG
eBook ISBN
978-3-030-53096-9
DOI
10.1007/978-3-030-53096-9
Softcover ISBN
978-3-030-53095-2
Series ISSN
2366-7672
Edition Number
1
Number of Pages
XXVI, 251
Number of Illustrations
320 b/w illustrations, 1 illustrations in colour
Topics