In "Making Your Own Days, " celebrated poet Kenneth Koch writes about poetry as no one has written about it before -- and as if no one "had" written about it before. Full of fresh and exciting insights and experiences, this book makes the somewhat mysterious subject of poetry clear for those who read it and for those who write it -- and for those who would like to read and write it better. Treating poetry not as a special use of language but, in fact, as a separate language -- unlike the one used in prose and conversation -- Koch is able to clarify the nature of poetic inspiration, how poems are written and revised, and what happens in a reader's mind and feelings while reading a poem.
Koch also provides a rich anthology of more than ninety works: lyric poems, excerpts from long poems and poetic plays, poems in English, and poems in translation -- by poets past and present from Homer and Sappho to Lorca, Snyder, and Ashbery. Each selection is accompanied by an illuminating explanatory note designed to complement and clarify the text.
In this book, Kenneth Koch's genius for making poetry clear and for bringing out its real pleasures is everywhere apparent.
Ned Rorem Koch is that rare phenomenon, the poet who can write prose -- prose that is necessary and lucid. In his book, he offers a new and healthy dimension to the life of virtually everyone. Frank Kermode I would recommend Koch's way of teaching poetry above all others. His book is informative, witty, and surprising. It's also authoritative...it is a precious defense of poetry. David Lehman American Poetry Review A poet of the highest originality....[Koch] has stretched our ideas of what it is possible to do in poetry. Michael Dirda The Washington Post Book World Kenneth Koch is one of our finest living poets....Making Your Own Days is...exhilarating.