In the Palm of Your Hand

Steve Kowit
Star Rating
Reviewer's Rating
Jan 22, 2014

In the Palm of Your Hand isn’t just a handy poetry guide for poets, it also contains a hefty chunk of poems from both known and lesser-known poets.  Steve Kowit masterfully demonstrates that a combination of both writing and reading is essential for a strong and extensive writing path.

The book is organized quite well with simple but thorough explanations of various aspects and forms of poetry followed by thoughtful exercises.  Poems are peppered throughout the book, offering direction, insight and inspiration. 

I was quite impressed with the unique and multi-faceted exercises.  The exercises are little pokes that can wake up your imagination in a hurry.  Each exercise can take the writer on a variety of paths.  For instance, The Object Poem invites the writer to explore a beloved object, such as an heirloom, with each of their senses.  The poem can then take on a variety of approaches, each exposing the various quirks that shape the relationship between the writer and the object. 

Even if you are not a practicing poet, you will still find pleasure in this book.  Kowit has seamlessly stirred in a handful of poems that will delight and astonish the reader.  Tucked here and there you will find poems by acclaimed poets such as E.E. Cummings and Billy Collins and lesser-known poets such as Al Zolynas and Bill Knott.  It is as much an anthology as it is a guide, a splendid pairing for anyone who appreciates poetry. 

For those of you who write or wish to write poetry, The Johnson County Library now offers a Poetry Workshop at the Leawood Pioneer branch the first Monday of the month from 6-8 p.m.  If you have a poem you would like to share, please bring multiple copies.  We will spend the evening reading poems and offering each other insight. 

Reviewed by Hannah Jane W.
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