May 15, 2009

Review by Sandee Lyles

by Kim Addonizio

500 Fifth Avenue
New York, N.Y. 10110
ISBN 978-0-393-33416-6
2009, 288 pp., $16.95

“Art is therapeutic. It helps you to take something that is within you and make a place for it outside of yourself,” Kim Addonizio declares. Co-author of National Book Award finalist The Poet’s Companion, Addonizio creates a place to find inspiration and tips on birthing a masterful poem in her latest endeavor.

Ordinary Genius: A Guide for the Poet Within is an exceptional book for poets who have lost their muse or potential poets who just need a jump start. Addonizio brings a fresh approach and endless pages of prompts to spark and ignite even the most stubborn writer’s block. She exhibits examples from classic as well as contemporary poets and then teaches how to build, from the examples, one’s own poem. She shares insights from the masters such as Plath, Camus, and Ginsberg, to name a few. She rebukes Ginsberg’s claim about first thoughts being best and proclaims that sometimes “first thoughts are the worst thoughts.” She re-qualifies his statement later by stating, “It’s about letting go of the conditioned mind–all of those received thoughts–and tuning in to some level of thinking that’s deeper than our usual concerns.”

In addition to her countless ideas regarding getting started, the book is also Continue reading

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