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The Ode Less Travelled
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Stephen Fry's The Ode Less Travelled provides us with a witty and entertaining guide to the mysteries of writing poetry.

About the Author

As well as being the bestselling author of four novels, The Stars' Tennis Balls, Making History, The Hippopotamus, and The Liar, and the first volume of his autobiography, Moab is My Washpot, Fry has played Peter in Peter's Friends, Wilde in the film Wilde, Jeeves in the television series Jeeves & Wooster and (a closely guarded show-business secret, this) Laurie in the television series Fry & Laurie.

Reviews

In this delightfully erudite, charming and soundly pedagogical guide to poetic form, British actor (narrator of the Harry Potter movies, among other roles), novelist and secret poet Fry leads the reader through a series of lessons on meter, rhythm, rhyme and stanza length and reveals the structural logic of every imaginable poetic form, including the haiku, the ballad, the ode and the sonnet. Writing poetry, like any hobby, should be fun, Fry claims, and while talent is inborn, technique can be learned. Inviting readers to study the wealth of choices of form available in the world's major poetic traditions, Fry himself pens intentionally vapid yet entertaining poems that demonstrate each form's rules and patterning, and ends each lesson with wittily devised exercises for readers. Fry rails against the dumbing down of verse in a section subtitled "Stephen gets all cross": "It is as if we have been encouraged to believe that form is a kind of fascism and that to acquire knowledge is to drive a jackboot into the face of those poor souls who are too incurious, dull-witted or idle to find out what poetry can be." Fry has created an invaluable and highly enjoyable reference book on poetic form, which deserves to achieve widespread academic adoption, despite or even because of its saucy and Anglocentric tone. (Aug. 17) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

"Fry's extraordinary book is an idiots' guide to the writing of poetry, a primer, a tutorial with funny turns, an earnest textbook... You can't but marvel at Fry's easy familiarity with the rictameter and the rondeau redouble and applaud the energy of his evangelistic zeal" * Independent on Sunday *
"With his usual wit and occasional obscenity, he takes us through an array of metrical forms and poetic structures, talking to us like a cajoling hearty teacher" * Sunday Telegraph *
"Intelligent and informative, a worthy enterprise well executed" * Observer *
"A smart, sane and entertaining return to basics" * Daily Telegraph *
"Funny and instructive" * Spectator *

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