I am delighted to be on the blog tour today for The Point of Poetry by Joe Nutt. My thanks to Anne Cater of Random Things Tours for the invitation to take part.
I’ve always had a bit of a love/hate relationship with poetry. I’ve studied English Literature to degree level and I’m currently studying for a Masters in Creative Writing, as such it has been impossible for me to avoid poetry. I have even *gasp* had to write it this year (although the jury is out as to how successful my attempts actually are!).
I think everything I hate about poetry stems from the way in which I was initially taught it at school. When forced to sit and pull apart the words of, usually men, from an entirely different time, it is difficult to feel and appreciate what is there, and also how it can still be relevant today. I will be honest and say that it had left me with a bit of an eye roll and a tut reaction whenever poetry was mentioned. This was until this year, when I got to see poetry in a different light. I’ve been able to explore it, feel it and really appreciate it.
The Point of Poetry is a wonderful handbook if, like I used to, you suffer from the eyeroll/tut syndrome. The author, Joe Nutt is a former teacher, and his aim with this book is to present poetry in a refreshing new light. This is not a dry and staid literary companion, instead it is fresh, witty and has, on more than one occasion, had me laughing out loud. The author’s personality seeps through the pages and I have found it to be incredibly readable.
I especially liked that the book offers a wide range of poets, the classics are there; Shakespeare, Milton and Wordsworth, but there are also much more up to date poets, including Carol Ann Duffy (my personal favourite) and Hollie McNish (a poet I’d now like to read more by). This book isn’t intended to be the be all and end all in poetry, instead it is a starting point. It tickles the poetic taste buds and allows the reader to go off and explore with a little bit of knowledge and know how behind them.
I’ve discovered that poetry, much like music, and novel reading, is an intensely personal experience. You’ll never enjoy or ‘get’ everything, instead you explore and try new things. Poetry really can be exciting to read, and with so many platforms (You Tube, Ted, Instagram etc) now available, it is more accessible than ever. Indeed, I have been seeing articles recently reporting that the popularity of poetry is on the rise, particularly with women.
If you’re looking for a gentle re-introduction to poetry, generously lathered with humour, then I highly recommend The Point of Poetry.
What’s the point of poetry? It’s a question asked in classrooms all over the world, but it rarely receives a satisfactory answer. Which is why so many people, who read all kinds of books, never read poetry after leaving school.
Exploring twenty-two works from poets as varied as William Blake, Seamus Heaney, Rita Dove and Hollie McNish, this book makes the case for what poetry has to offer us, what it can tell us about the things that matter in life.
Each poem is discussed with humour and refreshing clarity, using a mixture of anecdote and literary criticism that has been honed over a lifetime of teaching. Poetry can enrich our lives, if we’ll let it. The Point of Poetry is the perfect companion for anyone looking to discover how.
About the Author
Joe Nutt is a former teacher with twenty years of English teaching experience. He has written books on Shakespeare, John Donne and most recently a guidebook to Paradise Lost for one of the world’s foremost academic publishers. He is now one of the leading educationalists in the UK and writes a fortnightly column for the Times Educational Supplement.
*I received a copy of this book via the blog tour organiser. The decision to read was my own, and this review forms my honest opinion.