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“ Adonais ” was written in another age , in a different literary tradition , with a different view of human destiny . Inevitably its tone is set by that complex . As Auden's tone is set by the complex of his own human position in time .
Read each poem with special attention to the way the poet takes his subject ( attitude ) and the way he takes himself ( tone ) . Try to state as accurately as possible the quality of each poem's tone and attitude .
Attitude , one will recall , is taken to signify “ the way the poet takes his subject " ; tone , “ the way he takes himself . ” The following little poem will serve as a convenient first illustration : The Span of Life ? ment .
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I have experienced this book in several editions. The operative word in the title is "how." As an amateur poet for whom finding the technical construction of a "poem," or even something so prosaic as the very definition of poetry, this book over the past 40 years has been vital. Ciardi takes the word craft down to basic tools of craftsmanship, such as a pinter wild word with such basic as palate, paint, canvas, easel, brushes, etc. Probably his best chapter is that taht tells why a much beloved poem like
"Invictus" isa very bad poem, changed my whole way of looking at my own work. The example poems in the book, which have changed some from one edition to the next, are themselves very important. This is is a must book for both writers and readers.
Walter De la Mare The Listeners
Edwin Arlington Robinson Mr Floods Party
John Keats The Eve of St Agnes
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