An innovative and accessible guide to writing and reading poetry by an award-winning poet and professor of poetry.


What makes reading a poem unlike reading anything else? In Real Toads, Imaginary Gardens, acclaimed poet and teacher Paisley Rekdal demonstrates how to observe the building blocks of a poem--including its diction, form, imagery, and rhythm--and construct an interpretation of its meaning. Using guided close readings and nearly 40 creative and citical "experiments," this book shows how a poem takes shape through the intersection of all its lyric elements.  Drawing on the work of poets from William Shakespeare to Jericho Brown, Real Toads, Imaginary Gardens reveals how to read and write critically, and how to appreciate--and achieve--the exhilerating craft of poetry.


Forthcoming from W.W. Norton in October 2024. Pre-order here