The Straight Line by Ronald Padgett
Writing on Poetry and Poets (Poets on Poetry)

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The Straight Line brings together memoir, informal talks, autobiographical essays, unconventional book reviews, instructional pieces, imaginative speculations on the nature of reading, and poems about writing. What distinguishes these pieces is Ron Padgett's refreshing sense of humor and the changing, unexpected angles on his point of view. He pokes fun at the concept of "finding one's poetic voice," has a dream conversation with a Russian poet, talks to his typewriter, parodies Robert Frost, deconstructs the haiku, finds weird word lists in the dictionary, and extols the pleasures of mistakes in writing.
But along with the playful wit comes Padgett's serious fascination with how words work. Essays discuss such subjects as the otherness of languages; French poets and their relationship to Cubist painters; an afternoon with the poet Edwin Denby; a tribute to Ted Berrigan; twentieth-century modernism; and suggestions for using the computer to write poetry.
The book concludes with pieces that Padgett has written during his thirty years as a teacher of poetry. Essays explore the unexpected relationships between poetry and dance; the practical value of using "gimmicks" to inspire poetry writing; and some radical and entertaining ideas for innovative ways to read creatively.
Ron Padgett is Publications Director, Teachers and Writers Collaborative. His books include Albanian Diary, Creative Reading, and Old Faithful: 18 Writers Present Their Favorite Writing Assignments.

About Ronald Padgett

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Ron Padgett is a celebrated translator, memoirist, and "a thoroughly American poet, coming sideways out of Whitman, Williams, and New York Pop with a Tulsa twist" (Peter Gizzi). His poetry has been translated into more than a dozen languages and has appeared in The Best American Poetry, The Norton Anthology of Postmodern American Poetry, The Oxford Book of American Poetry, and on Garrison Keillor's Writer's Almanac. He was also a guest on Keillor's A Prairie Home Companion in 2009. Padgett is a chancellor of the Academy of American Poets and his most recent books include HOW LONG, HOW TO BE PERFECT, JOE: A MEMOIR OF JOE BRAINARD, and IF I WERE YOU. Born in Oklahoma, he lives in New York City and Calais, Vermont.
Published December 11, 2000 by University of Michigan Press. 184 pages
Genres: Education & Reference, Literature & Fiction. Non-fiction

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Ron Padgett didn't know Blaise Cendrars or Vladimir Mayakovsky, but he did know Ted Berrigan and writes about them all, and many others, in The Straight Line: Writings on Poetry and Poets.

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