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The Crafty Poet: A Portable Workshop by Diane Lockward

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the crafty poetReader’s Note by Gail Denham

– It took me a powerful long time to go through Lockward’s wonderful book, “The Crafty Poet”… mostly because I had to stop and try many of the exercises.

Diane Lockward, who is the author of three poetry collections, including “Temptation by Water”, “What Feeds Us” and “Eve’s Red Dress,” and two chapbooks, has an impressive publication history.

Lockward gathered 56 of the nation’s finest poets, some former state poets laureate, instructors, and other well published poets. Diane Lockward wrote challenging prompts, using model poems from the well-known poets to illustrate.

Some of the tips and prompts were: fusion of opposites; write with eyes closed, listen for the music; write opposite poems; jump off with two syllable word; gather words everywhere; save your “set-aside” pet lines for other works; how to make a poem resonate with readers. It’s hard to convey the full concepts in the few words of this review – best to study the book.

“The Crafty Poet” is one of the most helpful, hands-on poetry books I’ve ever studied. Now that I’ve completed the review, I intend to go back through the book and underline heavily. In addition, I’ve created poems from the book that I believe have merit. I’ll try them on publications and state poetry contests.

I say thanks to Diane Lockward for her hard work in gathering and writing all this information in one book. It seemed a work of love. I’ve already recommended the book to many writer friends, including to a hands-on workshop class I led at the Oregon Poetry Association conference in October. Also, I hope to order other of Lockward’s published works.
A Portable Workshop
by Diane Lockward
Wind Publications 2013


Gail Denham’s poetry, short stories, articles and photos have appeared in national and international publications and poetry anthologies. Denham leads writing and photography workshops and has won poetry contests, including 3rd prize in the 2014 Founder’s Category in the National Poetry Society contest.


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