Though I’d never read Addonizio’s poetry before I found this book (“Ordinary Genius” was mailed to me as a desk/review copy for consideration for my Creative Writing courses), I did know that she was popular, edgy, and has a reputation as a “fun” (not dry or pretentious) poet. So I figured, why not see what she has to say about her craft?
“Ordinary Genius” blew me away. It’s an amazing craft book, filled with anecdotes that illuminate the writing life and that offer insight–both for beginning writers and pros–into how to further challenge yourself as a writer. It’s a highly rewarding look at language (especially her chapters on metaphor, as she uses the assumption that our entire language is heavily reliant upon metaphor), and it gives a number of interesting exercises.
I’m not always a huge fan of “craft” books, often because the authors can’t really figure out whether they’re writing a memoir or an advice/how-to manual or guide. Addonizio’s book works precisely because she knows when memoir and anecdote is necessary (i.e. her chapters dedicated to publication and revision), and when it is irrelevant or ill-advised, and she also knows how to keep a strong personal voice throughout, creating just the right sort of tone for a good creative writing book…it’s the tone that says, “I’m excited to be writing this…and I’m happy that you’re reading…But now it’s time for you to put the book down, get off your ass, and write something.” Good stuff, Kim.