The Education of a Young Poet


Product Details

Counterpoint LLC
Publish Date
5.5 X 8.2 X 0.7 inches | 0.45 pounds

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About the Author

David Biespiel is the author of A Long, High Whistle, a collection of pieces drawn from his long-standing column in The Oregonian about writing and poetry that won the 2016 Oregon Book Award for General Nonfiction. He has also written five books of poetry, most recently Charming Gardeners and The Book of Men and Women, which was named one of the Best Books of the Year by the Poetry Foundation and received the 2011 Oregon Book Award for Poetry, and a book on creativity, Every Writer Has a Thousand Faces. He is the editor of the Everyman's Library edition of Poems of the American South and Long Journey: Contemporary Northwest Poets, which received the Pacific Northwest Booksellers Award. He writes the Poetry Wire column for The Rumpus. Among his honors are a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship in Literature, a Wallace Stegner Fellowship, and a Lannan Fellowship. He lives in Portland, Oregon, with his family.


Praise for The Education of a Young Poet

"Filled with unassuming but riveting observations . . . that show not only how important poetry is to daily life but also how it's, in fact, inextricable from life. This book will make you appreciate poetry more. And if you're a poet, it will make you proud to be one." --The Rumpus

"Scenes flow breathlessly across the page." --Los Angeles Review of Books

As a match newly struck, The Education of a Young Poet recovers a dream-like glow of this world . . . The author's journey restores our sense of the visionary power of language. --The Carolina Quarterly

Biespiel's memoir delivers with wit and intelligence exactly the kind of inspiration any young writer requires: A voice and a past and a story to tell. --Empty Mirror

In his beguiling voice . . . Biespiel shows himself to be exhilarated as much by failure as by success in writing; his poetry reveals aspects of his inner world to him and shows him how to live better. Biespiel's supple memoir of becoming a poet will surely inspire other writers to embrace the bodily character of writing and feel the power and, sometimes, the emptiness of the act of writing poetry. --Publishers Weekly (starred review)

Poet and critic Biespiel's (Charming Gardeners; A Long High Whistle) lyrical fugue of a memoir charmingly mixes meditation and memories, spans generations and oceans . . . Poetry lovers will be enthralled . . . This book is fascinating and sometimes even enchanting. --Library Journal (starred review)

Lyrical, affectionate . . . Graceful reflections on creativity. --Kirkus Reviews

I love the scope of The Education of a Young Poet, which opens fifty years before the author's birth. What better way of expressing the idea that poetry, like all art, is a matter of lineage, growing in equal part out of what we learn and who we are? Indeed, what David Biespiel has in mind here is less a craft book―although there are great craft riffs―than a memoir, a kind of portrait of the artist as a young man. 'Feeling alien within the familiar, ' Biespiel describes it, the sensation of being a new poet. It's as good a description as I've seen for the mix of distance and proximity, alienation and empathy, that all art requires, and perhaps most especially that of poetry. --David L. Ulin, author of Sidewalking

What a memorable, companionable, and singular book. I can't think of another contemporary memoir that has this mix of political and literary intelligence, all embedded in a personal story that is told with great candor, historical consciousness, and wit. How I wish it had existed when I was a young poet! --Christian Wiman, author of Hammer Is The Prayer

Whether he is writing about poetry, politics, competitive diving, or the glories of great conversation, Biespiel's recurring subject is the tension between freedom and discipline―between the sublime release of our own wildness and the precision that comes only from exquisite self-control. Part memoir, part ars poetica, The Education of a Young Poet is a feast: of language, of memory, and of insights into how one young writer came into his own.--Patrick Phillips, author of Blood at the Root and Elegy for a Broken Machine