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Saturday, December 8, 2012

The story behind the Christian Poet’s Guide to Writing Poetry

When I began instructing students of Joan Unger’s Personalized Study Program in the early 1980’s, we had no poetry home study course, but then, no one else did either. Joan and I decided to add one to the correspondence courses (yeah, by snail mail) she had written on fiction and nonfiction. So I wrote the PSP course in Poetry, which we also called the “V” (for “verse”) units.

Joan did the formatting and everything else – not only for PSP studies, but also for the Christian Writers Fellowship (CWFI) she had founded and directed. After she retired, I headed CWFI for a few years until turning it over to Sandy Brooks and the fiction and nonfiction courses to Marlene Bagnull with my blessings – and relief!

By then I had all sorts of writing projects but kept working, one on one, with poetry students until I needed help. Thanks to a former PSP student, very successful writer, and poet-peer Mona Hodgson, I got caught up and continued to tweak and use the PSP poetry home study course for years with poetry students.

With the advent of the Internet, however, online help became instantly available for poetry lovers and students with fewer and fewer interested in poetry courses by mail. I tweaked the course to aim toward a more secular audience and found a traditional publisher for the book version Poetry: Taking Its Course.

By the time I ran out of copies, e-books had made books readily accessible to people all over the world, so self-publishing on Kindle seemed like the way to go. First, however, I returned the text to its original emphasis on a Christian poet’s perspective then changed the name to the Christian Poet’s Guide to Writing Poetry.

You can find the new e-book on Amazon, but in case you don’t get a hand-held Kindle for Christmas, you’ll be glad to know you don’t have to have one. Just download the free Kindle viewer onto your computer, and you can order this and other e-books online.

As a poet who still prefers pencil and paper, I’m happy to say the e-book formatting process on Kindle was simple enough that, Lord willing, I’ll upload an easy-reader poetry dictionary soon. Meanwhile, if you find any errors on the Christian Poet’s Guide to Writing Poetry, please let me know. And, if you get anything helpful out of the book, let other people know in your review. Thanks and blessings.

(c) 2012, Mary Harwell Sayler

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