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Ioannou, Susan.

Toronto, Word-wrights Canada, c1985. 74pp, paper, $6.95, ISBN 0-920835-02-3. Distributed by Wordwrights Canada, P.O. Box 456, Station 0, Toronto, Ont., M4A 2P1.

Grades 12 and up
Reviewed by Joanne Peters

Volume 14 Number 2
1986 March

The Crafted Poem is a compilation of columns from The Arts Scarborough Newsletter, 1980-1985, revised and expanded for publication in book form. Although many of the poems that appear in the book are written by other poets, Ioannou has also published a collection of her own work, entitled Mother Poems. As a practising poet, Ioannou has undertaken a difficult project; to make the beginning poet more aware of the writing process, as well as to provide an aid to the appreciation of the work of others that will, in turn, enrich a poet's ability to examine his or her work critically. On the whole, Ioannou succeeds in fulfilling her objective. Because writing is such a highly individualized activity, many of her suggestions are of a rather general nature. Still, she provides ideas that would be useful either to those who have always had a secret hankering to pen a poem (but have never been quite sure how to start) or to high school teachers interested in a unit on the writing of poetry. Her tone is friendly and encouraging and avoids indulgence in jargon-laden discussion of poetic theory.

While most English teachers are familiar with the different types of figurative language and rhyme schemes detailed here, the book also contains material on aspects of poetic craft rarely found in many books. Illustrating aspects of the writing process are short poems that effectively present practical applications of such points as the reason for the use of a particular rhyme scheme or the importance of a poem's physical presentation on paper. Furthermore, while many writing texts contain material on the writing process similar to that found in The Crafted Poem, rarely do they provide information as to potential markets for publication, suggestions on proper presentation of material for publication, and common-sense advice on how to deal with the bane of a writer's life: rejection.

To this end, the book contains a list of potential sources and resources for the publication of new material, a briefly annotated bibliography of works dealing with the writing of poetry, and a glossary of poetic terms. While The Crafted Poem is unindexed, it has a very comprehensive table of contents, making it easy to find information on particular aspects of poetic craft. It is unfortunate that the book could not be printed in a different format. Many people might find the typeface (that of a quality electric typewriter) less than professional looking. However, the book lacks the crowded lay-out so often typical of works in which the material is first typed and then duplicated.

The book's intended audience is an adult one, one seriously interested in the writing of poetry. As such, The Crafted Poem would be most successfully used as a reference or resource book by teachers of writing in the upper senior high school levels or by post-secondary teachers looking for another slant on the Crafting of poetry.

Joanne Peters, Sisler S.S., Winnipeg, Man.
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