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Poetry Writing Craft Resources

If you are just starting out as a poet or want to expand your skillset, these books and other resources are solid tools for your writing practice, and they specifically focus on poetry.


 The Poet's Companion, Ordinary Genius, and In the Palm of Your Hand are classic texts for developing your poetry writing skills. Glitter in the Blood is more recent, and it has a little more of an edge, but it is a good read.

Diane Lockward has been publishing her free monthly poetry e-newsletter for years. Each issue has a poem with a prompt, a craft essay, and other resources. You can see past issues and subscribe at this link. She has also collected material from the newsletter (as well as additional content) in a series of craft books. She says they are not for the absolute beginner, but they are accessible if you are. In theory,  each book progresses in difficulty. 

Ralph Fletcher is known for his children’s books, but his thin book on keeping a writer’s notebook for adults a great primer. You should be able to find it used online. Hugo’s Triggering Town is a book of essays that is standard in many creative writing courses. Gibson and Falley’s book is short and useful. Huey and Kaneko’s book is great because it is a reference book and anthology that defines a bunch of poetry terms, gives writing advice and has an anthology of poems.


Get newsletter from writers with craft tips, prompts, news, and other informaiton. 

Many authors are now on the e-newsletter platform Substack, and you can subscribe to their newsletters for free, but they usually offer limited information at the free tier. If you find them valuable, you can always pay for a subscription to get premium content. Some publications you might want to check out are by Austin Kleon, Maggie Smith, Kelly Grace Thomas, and Two Sylvias Press.

Diane Lockward’s Poetry Newsletter
Lockward's Crafty Poet books are mostly made up of content from her monthly newsletter. Recent issue haven't been as robust, but a limited archive of the issues are also online. Subscribe through Mailchimp.


CLEAVER: Poetry Craft Essays
Philidelphia literary magazine CLEAVER has a series of poetry craft essays on their site. The site also has a relatively small writing tips section.

This site has a ton of useful content for writers. Do a search for poetry on the site's search engine to find more poetry specific resources, but browse the other sections for general writing advice as well. 

How a Poem Happens  [ARCHIVED)
How a Poem Happens is a blog that stopped publishing new material in 2020, but the archives are still online. Each post has a poem and an interview with the poet where they talk about the process of writing the poem.

Poets & Writers Magazine
Most magazines for writers largely ignore poets. The exception is Poets & Writers Magazine. They feature some great poetry content a few times a year. Their website has craft essays, an ongoing list called Best Books for Writers, a Writer’s Recommend section, as well as other cool stuff. 

Underbelly Magazine
Underbelly is an unusual online literary journal. Each issue features a finished and early draft of a poem. Accompanying the poem is a short essay about the process of writing / revising the poem by the poet.

Writer's Digest:  Write Bette Poetry
WD provides a lot of free content from their past issues. Look in Write Better Poetry section of the site for a broad but relevant search. This will include craft tips, articles, and writing prompts. 

Writing Classes & Workskhops 

Archived Classes & Workshops
There are a lot of archived and free workshops on YouTube and other places on the web for free. The Unversity of Iowa's International Writing Program had How Writers Write Poetry I MOOC-Pack (2014) and How Writers Write Poetry II MOOC-Pack (2015). California Institute of the Arts offers Sharpened Visions: A Poetry Workshop through Coursera. The publisher Not a Cult has a YouTube playlist of past poetry workshops. 

Live Workshops
Many poets offer classes for a donation or sliding pay scale, or very low cost. Others are not as affordable, but they are excellent and worth your time. 

Poetry Writing Prompts

The books and other resources below focus mainly on prompts and exercises.


The Daily Poet and Everything is Writable are from Two Sylvia's Press. Their website has a lot of great resources. Clear Out The Static in Your Attic’s prompts aren’t just for poets, but most are pretty flexible. 


The Poetry Foundation's Learning Prompts offer some craft advice along with writing prompts. 

Poets & Writers Magazine has poetry prompts on Tueasdays in their The Time is Now series. Sign up for their newsletter to have the prompts emailed to you. 

When National Poetry Writing Month (NaPoWriMo) in April starts, there will be poetry prompts out the metaphorical wazoo. Follow the #NaPoWriMo hashtag across social media during April to find writing prompts. You will need to sort through or narrow results to just posts with prompts. Also checkout the NaPoWriMo offical website for prompts and to commit to write 30 poems in 30 days in April. 

Song Lyric Writing

If you are interested in writing song lyrics, you might want to check out these books too. Pat Pattison is a well known music teacher from the Berklee College of Music. Wilco’s Jeff Tweedy penned a book about lyric writing a few years ago that is also good.