No-one teaches poetry better than Mr Fry in this most accomplished, amusing and unabridged guide to the lost arts of rhyme, metre and form. I can guarantee you that anything you learnt at school concerning verse is a mere slither of knowledge compared to this fantastic wealth of information. It is as though when taking their PGCEs, all 21st English teachers were sworn to silence - forbidden to mention any other metre than the overused and well-advertised iambic pentameter (thanks Bill). How were we to know of trochees, spondees or pyrrhic feet? Well, Stephen has leapt to the rescue and sculpted this unrivalled companion with which to journey into the treacherous waters of Milton or Auden.
A biologist, cognitive scientist, and linguist, our author is one of the most innovative writers in the arena of language. His theories on how we first learn to communicate and the way the brain processes our conversation are enthralling. Even if, in 50 years time when humankind has discovered much more about the way in which our brains function, some of Dr Pinker’s arguments are refuted or his ideas belittled, this will stand as a pioneering linguistic enchiridion. Utterly engaging and concise it presents some of the most original concepts in its field.
The author, fellow blogger and “inky fool”, has always had an obsession with etymology and this book offers a major ramble (in the best sense of the term) detailing the most interesting and astonishing origins of hundreds of words. His style and fluidity in the subject makes this a thrilling read that you just can’t absorb fast enough - you’ll want to endlessly revise each ‘chapter’ so as to remember the genesis of each and every term mentioned. Truly addictive and massively enriching.