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The Ode Less Travelled :  Unlocking the Poet Within - Stephen Fry

The Ode Less Travelled

Unlocking the Poet Within

Paperback Published: 1st November 2007
ISBN: 9780099509349
Number Of Pages: 357

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Stephen Fry believes that if you can speak and read English you can write poetry. But it is no fun if you don't know where to start or have been led to believe that Anything Goes. Stephen, who has long written poems, and indeed has written long poems, for his own private pleasure, invites you to discover the incomparable delights of metre, rhyme and verse forms. Whether you want to write a Petrarchan sonnet for your lover's birthday, an epithalamion for your sister's wedding or a villanelle excoriating the government's housing policy, The Ode Less Travelled will give you the tools and the confidence to do so. Brimful of enjoyable exercises, witty insights and simple step-by-step advice, The Ode Less Travelled guides the reader towards mastery and confidence in the Mother of the Arts.

Here is a taste of Stephen’s own efforts:

Lesbian Sappho made this form
With two beats to the final line
Her sex life wasn’t quite the norm
And nor is mine

Industry Reviews

"Fry's extraordinary book is an idiots' guide to the writing of poetry, a primer, a tutorial with funny turns, an earnest textbook... You can't but marvel at Fry's easy familiarity with the rictameter and the rondeau redouble and applaud the energy of his evangelistic zeal." - Independent on Sunday

"With his usual wit and occasional obscenity, he takes us through an array of metrical forms and poetic structures, talking to us like a cajoling hearty teacher." - Sunday Telegraph

"Intelligent and informative, a worthy enterprise well executed." - Observer

"A smart, sane and entertaining return to basics." - Daily Telegraph

"Funny and instructive." - Spectator

A Text Book for Poets


This is a detailed study of poetic 'tools of the trade'. Needs to be read twice and then kept as a reference work.



The Ode Less Travelled

5.0 1


Foreword - xi
How to Read this Book: Three Golden Rules - xxi

1. Metre
I. How We Speak - 1
II. End-stopping - 21
III. More Metres - 55
IV. Ternary Feet - 77
V. Anglo-Saxon Attitudes - 97
VI. Syllabic Verse - 113
Table of Metric Feet - 120

2. Rhyme
I. The Basic Categories of Rhyme - 123
II. Rhyming Arrangements - 143
III. Good and Bad Rhyme? - 147
Rhyme Categories - 168

3. Form
I. The Stanza - 171
II. Stanzaic Variations - 179
III. The Ballad - 191
IV. Heroic Verse - 202
V. The Ode: - 209
VI. Closed Forms - 221
VII. More Closed Forms - 247
VIII. Comic Verse - 261
IX. Exotic Forms - 274
X. The Sonnet - 281
Xi. Shaped Verse - 293

4. Diction and Poetics Today
I. The Whale - 307
II. Poetic Vices - 320

Incomplete Glossary of Poetic Terms - 329
Appendix: Arnaud's Algorithm - 351
Acknowledgements - 353

ISBN: 9780099509349
ISBN-10: 0099509342
Audience: General
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 357
Published: 1st November 2007
Publisher: Cornerstone
Country of Publication: GB
Dimensions (cm): 20.0 x 12.9  x 2.5
Weight (kg): 0.28
Edition Number: 1

Earn 38 Qantas Points
on this Book

Stephen Fry

About the Author

He rose to fame alongside Hugh Laurie in A Bit of Fry and Laurie (which he co-wrote with Laurie) and Jeeves and Wooster, and was unforgettable as Captain Melchett in Blackadder.

More recently he presented Stephen Fry: The Secret Life of the Manic Depressive, his groundbreaking documentary on bipolar disorder, to huge critical acclaim. His legions of fans tune in to watch him host the popular quiz show QI each week.

Visit Stephen Fry's Booktopia Author Page