The Poetry Home Repair Manual by Ted Kooser

Practical Advice for Beginning Poets

Ted Kooser has been writing and publishing poetry for more than forty years. In the pages of The Poetry Home Repair Manual, Kooser brings those decades of experience to share tools and insights, instructions (and warnings against instructions) that poets—aspiring or practicing—can use to hone their craft, perhaps into art. Using examples from his own rich body of work and from those of a number of other poets, the author schools us in the critical relationship between poet and reader, which is fundamental to what Kooser believes is poetry’s ultimate purpose: to reach other people and touch their hearts.

Much more than a guidebook to writing and revising poems, this manual has all the comforts and merits of a long and enlightening conversation with a wise and patient old friend—a friend who is willing to share everything he’s learned about the art he’s spent a lifetime learning to execute so well.

The Author
Ted Kooser was the United States Poet Laureate from 2004 to 2006 and won a Pulitzer Prize for his book of poems Delights and Shadows. He is the author of twelve full-length volumes of poetry and several books of nonfiction, and his work has appeared in many periodicals.


My Thoughts

There is much to ponder as you endeavor to make your own poems better. No dithering, he says. “A poet needs to write with the essential details. No spare parts.” The Poetry Home Repair Manual is a treasure to savor several times.

Here’s an earlier post about Ted Kooser’s A Man With a Rake, which was published in 2022.



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