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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.

How a Poem Happens
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.

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.

A Selfish Poet
Trish Hopkinson’s blog features “no fee” calls for writing submissions, but she also features links to resources as well as craft essays from guest bloggers. Use the category drop down menu to find the useful stuff.

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 prompts, craft essays, an ongoing list called Best Books for Writers, a Writer’s Recommend section, as well as other cool stuff.

Poetry Writing Prompts

The books 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.

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.