by Deidree Friesen
Poemcrazy, written by poet and teacher Susan Goldsmith Wooldridge, is a creative and inspiring book that teaches readers the wonders of poetry. Based in Chico, California, Wooldridge travels across the United States teaching writing workshops to a variety of age groups. This testimonial found on the front page of her website, susanwooldridge.com, captivates her writings perfectly, in my opinion.
“Susan doesn’t teach poetry so much as unlock it. Her teaching itself is poetry.” – Amy Tullius, Poetry and the Piano Workshop
This book focuses on learning ways to creatively write poetry. It is comprised of five different sections each concentrating on different aspects of poetry. At the end of each chapter is an exercise that assists the reader in practicing the advice entailed. The exercises contain practical and creative challenges for the reader with built in inspiration. Each chapter is equipped with examples that make the process of poetry fun and relatable. Wooldridge makes the reader feel welcome with her comforting tone and helps shed a light on how inspirational even little things in life can be when writing a poem.
I personally enjoy how practical she is. This is not an ordinary textbook decorated with formulas or right and wrong ways to construct a poem. This book digs into reality, helping the reader reflect on life as a poet. Not all of Wooldridge’s ideas are extravagant, but she makes even the smallest things beautiful and helps readers do the same. I like how she uses stories to creatively teach poetry in this book. She captivates the reader with snippets of who she is. One of my favorite chapters is Chapter Three: “Collecting Words and Creating a Wordpool.” Wooldridge explains how we can take life experiences and collect words from them. She talks about the power a single word can hold, the freedom we have to use and create our own words, and the rhythm we are able to produce just by playing with the way we use words.
Students and teachers would enjoy this text because it is a simple, easy to read, and is effective at teaching fundamentals of poetry while staying relatable and fun. Even if you’re not a teacher teaching poetry or a student in a creative writing class, you would still love the creative and fun elements of this book.