Finding What You Didn’t Lose (and a Giveaway)

410G4DDA8YL._SX258_PJlook-inside-v2,TopRight,1,0_SH20_BO1,204,203,200_Finding What You Didn’t Lose by John Fox is a book on writing poetry. The whole title continues with Expressing Your Truth and Creativity Through Poem-Making. It’s one of my favorite books on poetry. It has chapters on

  • The need for poetry making in our lives
  • Revealing yourself in your poem
  • Reconnecting with your natural creativity
  • Experimenting with the Delight of Language
  • Metaphor and Other Tools
  • Making Poems from Your Journal Entries
  • Creating a Community of Poem Makers
  • Breaking Through Your Pain With Words
  • Expressing the Sacred Through Poetry

So why am I giving it away? Because at one point I thought I’d lost it in Tucson and ordered another. Yes, yes, I understand the irony in thinking I’d lost a book called Finding What You Didn’t Lose. And once the second one arrived, I found the first one. Of course. That’s the only way you find something you’ve lost, by purchasing a replacement.

This book is the replacement book. It may have a few underlines in it, but not many. There are many examples of poetry, by Fox’s students as well as by well-known poets. There are also great quotes about poetry in the margins, so if you are a marginalia lover, this is absolutely for you.

It comes with a painted leaf bookmark–the leaf is from an Arizona eucalyptus tree–the leaves aren’t the round ones you are used to seeing with koalas, this leave is about six inches long and looks like a blade. One side is painted gold. There is no further explanation needed. Wait till you see The Gardener Chapter in the Inner Hero Art Journal book and you will understand.

Leave a comment telling me why you want a book on how to write poetry. On Wednesday, October 16, I’ll chose a winner at random, from the best answers. How’s that for an out? I can’t help it, some answers will make me laugh or feel the book is going to the right home. I’ll gather those and draw a random name.

Update and Note: In the book giveaway, I read every comment. I wished I had more books. And then I realized I did! So in addition to Sue in Georgia winning Finding What You Didn’t Lose, Ray in Canada won Saved by a Poem and Annie who Laughs won Voices from the Heart, which is more of a visual poetry book. Congratulations to the winners, and thanks to all of you who read the blog. There are more giveaways coming.

-Quinn McDonald writes poetry and dreams of being in a poetry slam some day.

45 thoughts on “Finding What You Didn’t Lose (and a Giveaway)

  1. I was going to throw my name in the pot, but after reading all of the stories and poems and truths (plus I am late entering) I am sure there is someone else more deserving. Lovely stuff in here – this post and it’s comments are a life lesson all on their own.

    • Always throw your name in the pot. So far, while I threatened to choose my favorites, it’s proven harder than I thought, and there are a lot of names floating in that pot. I’ll put yours in, too.

  2. I wrote poetry a lot in school and during my young adult years. A lot of people enjoyed the poetry I wrote. But then, I was told by loved ones that I was wasting my time writing poetry because poetry “won’t feed you or take care of your home” and I began writing it less and less. When something I wrote from my heart was thrown away by someone I loved, I quit altogether. Since discovering art journaling my love of writing poetry has begun to resurface. I’d love to win this book in the hopes that something in the book can help me reconnect with that part of my heart.

    • I will never understand why people think they need to tell young people that they have to support themselves. That is something we teach by example. If you want, search my blog for a post called “Wasting Your Time.” It’s so important to feed your soul, otherwise you won’t have one when you grow up. Your soul is there, it just needs to be reconstituted with art journaling!

      • Thank you! I just got done reading it, and it really hits home. 🙂
        I’m trying to get back into my writing, along with my art journaling. I’m even hoping to return to college next fall………to major in English. I want to take some rhetoric and writing classes along with some creative writing classes. Until then, I’m hanging in there and trying to awaken my heart and soul. 🙂

  3. one day there was a girl
    she wanted to do a great big twirl
    she pranced and danced
    and just by chance
    she won a book
    so she took her stance
    and then the girl
    could do her twirl

    thanks for the fun !! x

  4. There once was a woman named, Quinn,
    Who offered a book we could win,
    A poet I’m not
    But poems are “hot”
    Please teach me to write on a whim!

    Poems are called out
    of you and find their place on
    the lined paper here

    This post has me remembering school days and how much I loved writing (especially) haikus and limericks. I think about poetry on and off because I love words and want to explore ways to express myself other than just writing in my journal. I’d like to spend some focused time writing poems. Sharing that John’s book is not a “rules” book has me curious! Thanks for the chance to win it, Quinn.

  5. because poetry is little slices of life, written down, distilled and made sacred. i would like to have more sacred scribblings in my daily life!

  6. feeling like I “discovered” something completely new at camp with all the spoken word. Wow!!
    Want this book to read as I walk around my house and write out loud.
    What do you think??

  7. I love that you lost what you didn’t lose.
    I’d like to win since you are to choose.
    This makes me quite a fraud, a ruse;
    Since poetry usually makes me snooze.

    In all seriousness poetry makes me feel squirmy. I never understand it. If this book helps with this condition I’ll have to read it! I always appreciate a good recommendation.

  8. I write poetry every now and then and only when I’m struck by a thought that needs to become a poem, because it just…well…needs to. 😉 When this happens (and it rarely does) it happens during my walks. The funny thing is that with all other art forms I don’t believe in the waiting-until-inpiration-strikes thing. I believe in showing up and doing the work. Going out to take pictures, sit at my studio table whether I feel like it or not. Write in my journal whether I have somehting to say or not. But with poetry it is the opposite, I have never consciously sat down to write a poem. I only do that when inspiration strikes and like I said that does not happen often. So I’m definitely interested in a book that would help me dive into a more …what’s the word….on purpose?…way of writing poetry. You made me curious.

  9. In high school I had a wonderful English teacher that encouraged her students to write all types of poetry, I filled a large three ring binder with all kinds of poems. I put all my wishes and dreams into the poems. They were my fantasies of the future. They were my hidden hurts and pains that I never showed others. Over the years I lost that voice. I have written a poem here and there but never with any consistency. Every once in a while I feel the urge to write again, but I stifle that urge or push it aside until later. But most of the time later never happens. I would really like to win this book to help me find that voice again.

  10. I would love a book that would help me write poetry again. On my journey toward healing from child sexual abuse, I have returned to a long-lost live of art and making things, but I do wonder where the poetry has gone. I used to write reams of it in my teens. Maybe if I were able to return to poetry the way I’ve returned to art, it would help me in my quest for whole ness. Just maybe.

  11. This book sounds so delightful! I have written poetry since I was 15. It has always been a way to express my pains and growths and revelations in a beautiful and artful way that makes me feel good, but I have fallen away from it recently. I am hoping this book may give me some inspiration and the push I need to get back on the poetry path!

  12. Wow Quinn, I’ve never seen this book or even known of its existence. I am a poetry-returner, having enjoyed writing and reading poetry at school, it wasn’t until fairly recently while on a spiritual accompaniment course that I began to tap into that richness again. It is such a wonderful way of expressing those deep, and intimate thoughts/feelings/longings. I am reminded again of how releasing it is to let words tumble and flow and have free expression. Thank you for your generosity in sharing so many beautiful things with us all.

  13. This sounds like an excellent book for learning to bring creative expression to some hidden emotional spaces. I was captivated by the emotion of the spoken word videos you posted, and would love to be able to write like that even if I’ll never perform in a poetry slam. Although part of me wonders what that would be like, too…

    And I’ve only used your method of finding lost objects a couple hundred times, it is often the only way.

    • I’m cleaning out the garage, knowing that I’ll have to buy all the things I’m getting rid of. I’ve got a box of beautiful, bark-colored envelopes. I’ve had them since 1987, as my wedding invitations went out in them. It’s time for someone else to use them. (And I’ll be buying more of them.)

  14. Sometimes I find the right words and put them in the correct order. Sometimes the person hearing or reading them knows what I mean and, more importantly, it holds meaning for them. I have a long-held horror of being misunderstood.

    Why do I wantTHIS book? You thought highly enough of it to buy a second copy. That you have a copy to gift is serendipitous irony!

  15. I want the book because I think you are wicked cool and I would love to read something that you value. Seriously. I love your blog, I love your brain and so I am sure I will love the book!

    I like to pretend I write poetry, a closet poet, if you will…and maybe this book will help it feel more intentional. Perhaps somehow I will be given permission to write more often, and be more willing to share it.


  16. I would love to win this book on poetry. Since beginning my Art therapy training I have found poems often find their way out of me. I would love to learn more about poetry as it is not something we covered much in any of my schools, including post secondary. Thanks for the opportunity!

  17. Poetry is a mystery to me. I’d like to learn more. I’d really like to understand my dreams more and what they’re trying to teach me. Thanks for the opportunity!

  18. I’ve had my moments of poetry writing over the years. Now I mostly like to do found poetry. But I love the sound of spoken poetry. So wonderful. I’m sure if I had this book I would study each chapter and find ways to use poetry more frequently.

  19. I, too, used to write poetry. One of my earliest poems, written at 13, started out
    In a land
    With a bright green band
    Of sand
    Where Sardines are canned

    Lives a man
    With a tan
    And a fan
    And a wife called Ann

    Six years later, I showed my poetry to a friend, who passed some on to his brother, who was studying creative writing. The message back was that my poetry wasn’t “accessible enough” – and I internalized the criticism, came to believe that I wasn’t any good at writing, and stopped. Just before I stopped, I wrote something that began thus

    A tear gently caresses my cheek
    like a ghostly reminder.
    Each drop of water fingering my smoky hair
    steals fragments of the evening,
    carrying them away.

    It’s time for me to kick that inner critic back out and reclaim something I was a whole lot better at then I came to believe. I’ve made some small forays in that direction, but would love to have a book with some ideas and thoughts on mining the writing I HAVE been doing in the past 20 years for errrr…. I guess they’d be poem nuggets if I stick with the metaphor.

  20. I love poetry. I love the way the words fall into patterns and the emotion in brevity and how the natural world shines and shivers in poetry…everything about poetry. I love to read it, and when I am in a happy place or in a low place, I turn to the words of poetry, either reading it or writing it. I even share my poetry because I love the feel of the words, because I so much love to write poetry. I would love a book like this one — those chapter titles sing to me!

    And though this is as far from my imagined comfort zone ever, I love the thought that some day I might have the courage to be in a poetry slam!

  21. I read a poem a day as party of my morning journaling/meditation ritual. I love the way a poem can make me feel so present and in-the-moment. It is what I aspire to in my artwork (ceramic sculpture). Only recently have I begun to use words on my work. I am intrigued by the title of the book and your description. Many thanks for your generosity – everyday – and for your consideration.

  22. Dear Quinn,

    when I was a girl and teenager, I used to write poems and songs all the time, often while sitting beside my beloved tree in our backward, or by the river near our house. Then, I don’t know why, I began to doubt myself.

    Now, even if I have reconnected to my creative self through SoulCollage, painting, art journaling and bookbinding, I am very much aware that I have shyd away from doing any kind of poetry, even if something in me longs to write again. I have this unlogical fear around it…

    Thank you so much for this chance to win and reconnect with this part of my creative self.


    • that fear is your inner critic causing you to think you can’t write poetry. Write some and hide it in a book. Just a short piece. Then another. Keep stuffing them in a book. Eventually, they will begin to sing in your sleep.

  23. Sounds an interesting book. I used to write poetry when I was young, but then the ability got drowned in the bottom of the pit of depression. And I need all the help I can get – this is Sunday’s poem:

    is the anchor
    of my soul
    Buried in the rock
    of Ha Shem

    And I so hear you on finding the original after you’ve ordered a replacement (and worse still, complaining to the vendor that they’d never sent the original to me 😦 )

    hugs n blessings

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