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Oxford University Press is a department of the University of Oxford. It furthers the University's objective of excellence in research, scholarship, and education by publishing worldwide.

Print Price: $79.99

232 pp.
6 photos, 6" x 9"


Copyright Year:

Imprint: OUP Canada

The Writing Moment

A Practical Guide to Creating Poems

Daniel Scott Tysdal

PRISM International magazine interview with Daniel Scott Tysdal
Watch Daniel Scott Tysdal's TEDx Talk: Everything You Need to Write a Poem (and How It Can Save a Life)

This practical guide to composing original, evocative poetry explores all aspects of the writing process-including finding inspiration, organizing ideas on paper, revising first drafts, and sharing poems with others. Accessible and encouraging throughout, this invaluable resource helps beginner poets find their voice and master the tools of the trade.

Readership : The Writing Moment will serve as a concise introduction to writing poetry for students taking introductory or intermediate creative writing or poetry courses at the undergraduate level.


  • "A key strength of this book is its promotion of an experiential foundation for recognizing and exploiting a range of poetic possibilities in an accessible and encouraging manner appropriate for the beginning poet."
    --Struan Sinclair, University of Manitoba

  • "The 'Writing Moment' exercises are unique and interesting-it's easy to see why the author's students produce such rich and original poems."
    --Triny Finlay, University of New Brunswick

  • "The Writing Moment: A Practical Guide to Creating Poems is a must-own book for both emerging and established poets. I would also recommend this book as a textbook choice for post-secondary creative writing courses."
    --Esther Griffin, PRISM International

Preface: The Occasions of Poetry and the Writing Moment
One Story about a Poem
Not an Occasion, but Occasions
The Occasions of Poetry, Writing Moments, and The Writing Moment
Originality and the Writing Moment: The Art in Life and the Life in Art
1. Image, Music, and Metaphor
Introduction: Beginning at the Beginnings
Working with the Image
Composing with the Music of Language
Making Metaphors
Conclusion: Ending at the Beginnings
Recommended Resources
2. Voice and Tradition
Introduction: On Necessity and Voice
The Musical Impulse and Metrical Verse
The Freedom Impulse and Free Verse
Voice and Perspective
Voice and Developmental Structure
Conclusion: On Multiplicity and Voice
Recommended Resources
3. Poetic Forms
Introduction: Service and the Force of Form
Metrical Forms
Twentieth Century Forms
Mediums and a New Language
Conclusion: Inspiration and the Force of Form
Recommended Resources
4. Revising, Reworking, and Wrapping Up
Introduction: The Goldilocks Approach to Revising Poems
Getting Close with Your Tools: Perspective, Sentences, Words, and Rhythms
Adding Lift and Drag: The Poet's Perception and the Reader's Perception
Nurturing Tensions and Turns: Juxtaposition, Reclamation, Refusal, and Irony
Conclusion: The Three Bears Approach to Revising for a Self-Revising Reader
Recommended Resources
5. Sharing Progress and Sharing Poems
Introduction: Gaining through Losing
Sharing Process
Sharing Feedback
Sharing Poetry
Conclusion: In Praise of Losing
Recommended Resources
Conclusion: The Writing Moment Without End
Appendix: Strategies for Revision
Revising Poems: Two Examples
Revising Process: Three Approaches

Companion website
- Links to recordings of live poetry readings
E-Book (ISBN 9780199002535)
Available through CourseSmart.com

Daniel Scott Tysdal teaches creative writing and English literature at the University of Toronto Scarborough. In 2012, the UTSC student newspaper, The Underground, named him one of their four "Professors of the Year." He is the author of Predicting the Next Big Advertising Breakthrough Using a Potentially Dangerous Method (Coteau 2006), which received the ReLit Award for Poetry (2007), and the Anne Szumigalski Poetry Award (2006). His second book of poetry, The Mourner's Book of Albums, was published with Tightrope Books in 2010. His work has received a number of accolades including honourable mention at the 2003 National Magazine Awards, the 2010 Matrix Lit Pop Award, and a place in the 2011 edition of The Best Canadian Poetry.

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Special Features

  • Written by an award-winning Canadian poet and creative writing instructor whose enthusiasm and passion will inspire students to find their own poetic voice.
  • Student-friendly writing style uses anecdotes and the author's own experiences to make this a supportive, conversational guide to writing poetry.
  • Hands-on writing exercises encourage students to practice their skills and experiment with a variety of styles and approaches.
  • Sample Poems in Process show how student poets have successfully applied the various techniques outlined in this guide to their own work.
  • Encourages participation in poetic communities, offering students advice on how to publicly share their work, strategies for promoting their own work, and how to contribute and participate in the vibrant literary community in Canada.
  • An appendix on the revision process helps students develop essential skills such as self-critique and self-refinement.