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Which are the best books to read to learn how to become a poet?

Here are a few recommendations:

Poetry for Dummies

The easiest, most fun book we’ve found so far on the subject of becoming a poet, understanding poetry in general, and getting an idea of the poetry landscape is Poetry for Dummies.

This book will help you:

  • Understand what the difference between a poem and a bunch of words broken into short sentences is.
  • Realize that poetry is all around you.
  • Understand how poetry has changed over time.
  • Find poetry that you can enjoy.
  • Understand the importance of language when writing a poem.
  • The different types and forms of poetry.
  • Interpret the meanings of poems.
  • Take that step to becoming a poet yourself by writing your own poems.

:: You can buy it here.


The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Writing Poetry

The Complete Idiot's Guide to Writing Poetry

As it states in the foreword of this book, “The intended reader of The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Writing Poetry is neither a complete idiot nor a partial one…”

As with Poetry for Dummies, this book breaks down poetry into language that anyone can understand.

In the words of the author, Nikki Moustaki, “This book will take you through the skills you require to become a good poet. I can’t promise you greatness and fame, but I can promise you that you’ll learn the parts and pieces that make up a poem – the feeling and inspiration are between you and your muse. You’ll also get practical advice on journaling, revision, workshops, reading in public, poetry exercises, and the recognition most poets desire – publishing.”

:: You can buy it here

A Poetry Handbook

From Mary Oliver, one of America’s most loved poets in the last few decades comes this information-filled guide for poets new and old.

This book breaks down how a poem is built. Oliver talks about meter and rhyme, form, and diction.  She talks about the importance of how a poem sounds. She introduces the reader to poetic terms like ‘couplets,’ iambs’ ‘trochees,’  and ‘sonnets.’

This book is a solid introduction to the art of writing poetry. Pat Monaghan, writing on Booklist, had this to say about A Poetry Handbook:  “Why another such handbook, when Babette Deutsch‘s and John Hollander‘s are more than sufficient? Because Mary Oliver does more with this book than simply review the difference between a haiku and a tanka, between free verse and blank. She starts in at poetry’s real beginning, discussing the need for patient application: the need, in brief, to write and to do so regularly… But it is not really the book’s contents that make it such a treasure: it is rather the pithiness and perfection of Oliver’s expression. She so deeply knows her craft that she can describe it with perfect simplicity and concision.”

:: You can buy it here


How to Write Poetry:

A Guided Journal with Prompts to Ignite Your Imagination

One of the things you will find most helpful in this book is the numerous prompts that will give you fuel for many new poetic creations. Christopher Salerno and Kelsea Habecker’s guide for poets is full of useful, actionable information.

How to Write Poetry - A Guided Journal with Prompts to Ignite Your Imagination

This book gives you the basics and more advanced techniques for writing and understanding poetry. It looks at topics such as meaningful first lines, diction, syntax, rhythm and meter, and the development of powerful imagery.

Note that this book is structured as a journal and so has blank spaces for making notes and writing what will hopefully be the beginning of poetic masterpieces.

:: You can buy it here

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