Tag Archives: book review

A Poetry Handbook

A Poetry Handbook: A Prose Guide to Understanding and Writing PoetryA Poetry Handbook:
A Prose Guide to Understanding and Writing Poetry

© 1994 by Mary Oliver

Mary Oliver published her first poetry collection, Voyage, and Other Poems, in 1963. Since then, she’s published more than 20 books of prose and poetry. She’s won several awards including a 1984 Pulitzer Prize for American Primitive, and more recently the National Book Award for New and Selected Poems, in 1992. She’s earned praise from many. Her poems, renowned for their poignant illustration of the natural world, are lovely and evocative. They entreat you to attend to nature and ponder the deeper, broader implications they bring closer to focus.

With the same adeptness, she turned her skill to writing a handbook for the genre she’d commanded for more than thirty years at the time of it’s publication.

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The Poetry Home Repair Manual

The Poetry Home Repair Manual The Poetry Home Repair Manual:
Practical Advice for Beginning Poets

©2005 by Ted Kooser, United States Poet Laureate 2004-2006

Writing poetry is serious work. And the best thing you can do to learn to write poetry, is to write poetry. Other things that you can do to learn include reading poetry, as well as reading about writing poetry. And this book about writing poetry, gave me many insights.

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Morning B.R.E.W.: A Divine Power Drink for Your Soul

2003 Written by Kirk Byron Jones
Author of seven books including
Rest in the Storm:
Self Care Strategies for Clergy and Other Caregivers

A Divine Power Drink for Your Soul by Kirk Byron Jones

It’s been a couple of years since I reviewed this book and I’m still just as excited about it today. It revealed to me a spirit-infusing practice that I continue to use as I prepare to take part in my days.

Dr. Jones introduces us to his practice for greeting the day. In his devotional time he calms his spirit by making still the concerns of the day. By emptying himself of lists and obligations, everything that threatens to distract him. He encourages us to do this important first step, respecting that it is sometimes uncomfortable to face new aspects of ourselves and quite necessary.

Attempt to persevere by riding through the place of initial dis-ease. Breakthrough growth often begins in the tension of the familiar rubbing up against the unfamiliar.

Dr. Jones recognizes the challenge of being your best self and the effort required to optimize your mental and emotional state. The grace that allows him to be his best is from being open to God. And an equally important part of this process is the respect that must be given to Self.

The B.R.E.W. self-embrace moment is a good time to listen to the dreams and desires bubbling up inside you. Thank God for writers like John Eldridge and Erwin Raphael McManus, who have rescued the sacred meaning and value of words and realities like desire and passion. Use B.R.E.W. self-embrace to nurture your God-given desires and passion.

B.R.E.W. is a book about self-awareness and appreciation. It helps us to release the power that is inherent in us as Christians, power that God graced us with before we knew who He was. This is power that we were meant to use to prepare us for the adventure that comes on the wings of each new day.

Pay attention and drink with great freedom and joy from those wells that inspire you most.

B.R.E.W. is the map for the devotional practice.

Be still
Receive God’s Love
Embrace Personhood
Welcome the Day

I use this devotional practice regularly to bring out my best self. My statement to the day is: This is the day that the Lord has made; I will rejoice and take part in it.

And for those situations that are especially straining, this is a great meditation on the fly. I am able to return to my center, restore my calmness, to again be focused.

My final words come from the beginning of the book. Dr. Jones offers this guiding request to set the tone for reading Morning B.R.E.W.:

When you think of Morning B.R.E.W., I don’t what you to think first of a book authored by Kirk Byron Jones. I want you to think of your own daily deepening, energizing, and transformative experience. In this sense—and I believe this with all my heart—B.R.E.W. is less my book; B.R.E.W. is more your experience.