Education: Teaching Poets

"Poeta nascitur, non fit,"* say the poets who consider themselves naturals. But can one poet teach another how to write? In the current issue of Poetry, two successful teachers say: yes—sometimes.

The class in poetry writing, says Theodore Roethke of the University of Washington, must be a "departure . . . from the ordinary run of things in a college—for almost all thinking has been directed toward analysis, a breaking-down, whereas the metaphor is a synthesis, a building up, a creation of a new world . . .

"Some [pupils] have difficulty verbalizing about the esthetic experience. But often their gropings make for...

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