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Poetry Craft Books, Poet Memoirs, Collections of Essays on Poetry, Etc.





















There are a lot of books on this list, but if you are serious about writing poetry,

I believe these books are essential. These are not books of poems,

but books about poetry and poets. I think this list represents a good variety for poets,

no matter where you are in your life of poetry. The books are listed alphabetically

by the authors' last names.


These Fevered Days: Ten Pivotal Moments in the Making of Emily Dickinson by Martha Ackman


Ordinary Genius by Kim Addonizio


Bukowski in a Sundress: Confessions From a Writing Life by Kim Addonizio


The Poet’s Companion by Kim Addonizio and Dorianne Laux


Formal Matters in Contemporary Latino Poetry 2013th Edition by Frederick Luis Aldama


Orange Alert: essays on poetry, art, and the architecture of silence by Kazim Ali


Other Traditions by John Ashbery


Writing Metrical Poetry by William Baer


The Practice of Poetry edited by Robin Behn and Chase Twichell


My Way: Speeches and Poems by Charles Bernstein


Thirteen Ways of Looking for a Poem: A Guide to Writing Poetry by Wendy Bishop


Writing Poems by Michelle Boisseau, Hadara Bar-Nadav, Robert Wallace


The Making of a Poem: A Norton Anthology of Poetic Forms by Eavan Boland


In the Blue Pharmacy: Essays on Poetry and Other Transformations by Marianne Boruch


Poems and Their Making: A Conversation edited by Philip Brady


Bread Out of Stone: Recollections, Sex, Recognitions, Race, Dreaming, Politics by Dionne 



In the Chair: Interviews with Poets from the North of Ireland edited by John Brown


What Will Suffice: Contemporary American Poets on the Art of Poetry, Edited by Christopher

     Buckley and Christopher Merrill


Poet’s Guide: How to Publish and Perform Your Work by Michael J. Bugeja


The Art and Craft of Poetry by Michael J. Bugeja


Conversations with Richard Wilbur, Edited by William Butts


How to Read Chinese Poetry in Context: Poetic Culture from Antiquity Through the Tang (How to Read Chinese Literature) by Zong-qi Cai


A Little History of Poetry by John Carey


Beside the Shadblow Tree: A Memoir of James Laughlin by Hayden Carruth


Reluctantly: Autobiographical Essays by Hayden Carruth


Allen Ginsberg, Spontaneous Mind: Selected Interviews 1958-1996 edited by David Carter


Dear Memory: Letters on Writing, Silence, and Grief by Victoria Chang


First Loves: Poets Introduce the Essential Poems That Captivated and Inspired Them, Edited by Carmela Ciuraru 


Yusef Komunyakaa, Condition Red: Essays, Interviews, and Commentaries edited by Radiclani Clytus


The Poem's Heartbeat: A Manual of Prosody by Alfred Corn


Three-Martini Afternoons at the Ritz: The Rebellion of Sylvia Plath & Anne Sexton by Gail Crowther


Writing Poetry: Creative and Critical Approaches by Chad Davison and Gregory Fraser


When the Rewards Can Be So Great: Essays On Writing and The Writing Life, Edited by Kwame Dawes


Talk Yuh Talk: Interviews with Anglophone Caribbean Poets by Kwame Dawes


Writing the Sacred into the Real by Alison Hawthorne Deming


Best Words, Best Order: Essays on Poetry by Stephen Dobyns


The Art of Description: World into Word by Mark Doty


The Poetry Dictionary by John Drury


Creating Poetry bu John Drury


Tradition and the Individual Talent by TS Eliot


Open Papers by Odysseas Elytis, translated by Olga Broumas and T. Begley


The Body of Poetry: Essays on Women, Form, and the Poetic Self by Annie Finch


A Poet's Craft: A Comprehensive Guide to Making and Sharing Your Poetry by Annie Finch


Poem, Revised: 54 Poems, Revisions, Discussions edited by Robert Hartwell Fiske and Laura Cherry


What You Have Heard Is True: A Memoir of Witness and Resistance by Carolyn Forché


How to Read Poetry Like a Professor: A Quippy and Sonorous Guide to Verse by Thomas C. Foster 


The Trials of Phillis Wheatley: America's First Black Poet and Her Encounters with the Founding Father by Henry Louis Gates, Jr.


Inciting Joy by Ross Gay

How Poems Think by Reginald Gibbons


Renditions by Reginald Gibbons


Writing Poetry to Save Your Life by Maria Mazziotti Gillan


The Dream Of a Broken Field by Diane Glancy


Robert Hayden: Essays on the Poetry Edited by Laurence Goldstein and Robert Chrisman


City Poet: The Life and Times of Frank O'Hara by Brad Gooch


Mistress Bradstreet: The Untold Life of America's First Poet by Charlotte Gordon


The Princeton Encyclopedia of Poetry and Poetics edited by Roland Greene, Editor-in-Chief


Ordering the Storm: How to Put Together a Book of Poems edited by Susan Grimm


Shelf Life: Essays, Memoirs, and an Interview by Thom Gunn


Death to the Death of Poetry: Essays, Reviews, Notes, Interviews by Donald Hall


Places We Return To: A Celebration of Twenty Years Publishing Fine Literature, Edited by Joan Cusack Handler & Gabriel Cleveland 


Crazy Brave by Joy Harjo


Poet Warrior: A Memoir by Joy Harjo


What Light Can Do: Essays on Art, Imagination, and the Natural World by Robert Hass


How to Read a Poem and Fall in Love with Poetry by Edward Hirsch

The Essential Poet’s Glossary by Edward Hirsch


Nine Gates: Entering the Mind of Poetry by Jane Hirshfield


The Art of Voice by Tony Hoagland


Real Sofistikashun: Essays on Poetry and Craft by Tony Hoagland


Streams: Life Secrets for Writing Poems and Songs by Sandra Hochman


The Cambridge Guide to Reading Poetry by Andrew Hodgson 


Rhyme's Reason: A Guide to English Verse by John Hollander


Aphrodite's Daughters: Three Modernist Poets of the Harlem Renaissance by Maureen Honey


The Triggering Town by Richard Hugo


The Muse in the Machine: Essays on Poetry and the Anatomy of the Body Politic by T. R. Hummer


Conversations with Rita Dove edited by Earl G. Ingersoll


Breaking the Alabaster Jar: Conversations with Li-Young Lee edited by Earl G. Ingersoll


Acts of Mind: Conversations with Contemporary Poets by Richard Jackson


The Writer’s Process by Anne Janzer


The Poet’s Handbook by Judson Jerome


June Jordan's Poetry for the People: A Revolutionary Blueprint Edited by June Jordan and Lauren Muller 


Conversations with Sonia Sanchez by Joyce A. Joyce


Walt Whitman: A Life by Justin Kaplan


A Poet’s Guide to Poetry by Mary Kinzie


The Judge Is Fury: Dislocation and Form In Poetry by Mary Kinzie


The Knowledge: Where Poems Come From and How to Write Them by David Kirby


Proses: On Poems and Poets by Carolyn Kizer


Several Short Sentences about Writing by Verlyn Klinkenborg

The Magical Language of Others: A Memoir by E. J. Koh


The Poetry Home Repair Manual by Ted Kooser


In the Palm of Your Hand by Steve Kowit


The Poet's Notebook: Excerpts from the Notebooks of 26 American Poets by Stephen Kuusisto, Deborah Tall, David Weiss


Measurable Terms by Arlyn LaBelle


Written in Water, Written in Stone: Twenty Years of Poets on Poetry edited by Martin Lammon


The Whiskey of our Discontent: Gwendolyn Brooks as Conscience and Change Agent, Edited by Quraysh Ali Lansana and Georgia A.              Popoff


The Night Sky: Writings on the Poetics of Experience by Ann Lauterbach


Rhyme's Rooms: The Architecture of Poetry by Brad Leithauser


My Lost Poets: A Life in Poetry by Philip Levine


The Practicing Poet: Writing Beyond the Basics (Paperback) by Diane Lockward


The Strategic Poet: Honing the Craft by Diane Lockward


Memoirs, by Robert Lowell, Edited by Steven Gould Axelrod and Grzegorz Kosc


Elizabeth Bishop and Translation by Mariana Machova

Creativity: Where Poems Begin by Mary Mackey


Brush Up Your Poetry! by Michael Macrone


On Poetry by Glyn Maxwell


The Discovery of Poetry: A Field Guide to Reading and Writing Poems by Frances Mayes


Twenty Questions by J. D. McClatchy


Sparks from the Anvil: The Smith College Poetry Interviews edited by Christian McEwen 


Broken English: Poetry and Partiality by Heather McHugh


By Herself: Women Reclaim Poetry by Molly McQuade


Langston Hughes by W. Jason Miller


The Witness of Poetry by Czesław Miłosz


Conversations with Elizabeth Bishop edited by George Monteiro


Good Measure: Essays, Interviews, and Notes on Poetry by Robert Morgan


Fooling with Words: A Celebration of Poets and Their Craft by Bill Moyers 


The Language of Life: A Festival of Poets by Bill Moyers


The Complete Memoirs by Pablo Neruda


Coming After: Essays on Poetry by Alice Notley


Quote Poet Unquote: Contemporary Quotations on Poets and Poetry edited by Dennis O’Driscoll


A Poetry Handbook by Mary Oliver


Rules for the Dance: A Handbook for Writing and Reading Metrical Verse by Mary Oliver 


Poetry as Survival by Gregory Orr


Poets Teaching Poets: Self and the World by Gregory Orr and Ellen Bryant Voigt


Stealing the Language: The Emergence of Women's Poetry in America by Alicia Suskin Ostriker


Some Necessary Angels: Essays on Writing and Politics by Jay Parini


How To Be Well-Versed in Poetry edited by E. O. Parrott


How to Read a Poem . . . and Start a Poetry Circle by Molly Peacock


Radical Artifice: Writing Poetry in the Age of Media by Marjorie Perloff


The Art of Daring: Risk, Restlessness, Imagination by Carl Phillips

Coin of the Realm: Essays on the Life and Art of Poetry by Carl Phillips

My Trade Is Mystery: Seven Meditations from a Life in Writing by Carl Phillips


The Sounds of Poetry: A Brief Guide by Robert Pinsky


Finding Them Gone: Visiting China's Poets of the Past by Bill Porter


Winning the Dust Bowl by Carter Revard


Poetry and Commitment by Adrienne Rich


Arts of the Possible: Essays and Conversations by Adrienne Rich


What is Found There: Notebooks on Poetry and Politics by Adrienne Rich


Letters to a Young Poet by Rainer Maria Rilke


On Poetry and Craft by Theodore Roethke


A Broken Thing: Poets on the Line by Emily Rosko


Madness, Rack, and Honey: Collected Lectures by Mary Ruefle 


The Life of Poetry by Muriel Rukeyser 


A Difficult Grace: On Poets, Poetry, and Writing by Michael Ryan


Intimate With Walt: Whitman’s Conversations With Horace Traubel edited by Gary Schmidgall


The Monster Loves His Labyrinth: Notebooks by Charles Simic


Writing the Australian Crawl by William Stafford


You Must Revise Your Life by William Stafford


Crossing Unmarked Snow: Further Views on the Writer's Vocation by William Stafford


The Answers Are Inside the Mountains: Meditations on the Writing Life by William Stafford


Getting the Knack: 20 Writing Exercises by William Stafford


The Poem Behind the Poem: Translating Asian Poetry edited by Frank Stewart


The Poet’s Manual and Rhyming Dictionary by Frances Stillman


World's Hieroglyphic Beauty: Five American Poets by Peter Stitt


The Making of a Poem by Mark Strand and Eavan Boland


Spreading the Word: Poetry and the Survival of Community in America by Ross Talarico


The New Book of Forms: A Handbook of Poetics by Lewis Turco


The Ocean, the Bird, and the Scholar: Essays on Poets and Poetry by Helen Vendler


Our Secret Discipline: Yeats and Lyric Form by Helen Vendler


The Breaking of Style: Hopkins, Heaney, Graham by Helen Vendler


The Art of Syntax: Rhythm of Thought, Rhythm of Song by Ellen Bryant Voigt


The Flexible Lyric by Ellen Bryant Voigt


Japanese Poetry Forms: A Poet's Guide by James P Wagner and Nick Hale


From the Notebooks of Theodore Roethke: Straw for the Fire edited by David Wagoner


Dissonance (if you are interested) by Rosmarie Waldrop


A Million MFAs Are Not Enough edited by Charles Harper Webb


This Art: Poems About Poetry edited by Michael Wiegers


Making a Poem: Some Thoughts about Poetry and the People Who Write It by Miller Williams


Patterns of Poetry: An Encyclopedia of Forms by Miller Williams


I Wanted to Write a Poem: The Autobiography of the Works of a Poet by William Carlos Williams


The Rag Picker’s Guide to Poetry: Poems, Poets, Process edited by Eleanor Wilner and Maurice Manning


Ambition and Survival: Becoming a Poet by Christian Wiman


Cooling Time: An American Poetry Vigil by C.D. Wright


One Big Self: An Investigation by C.D. Wright


Further Adventures in Monochrome by John Yau


The Art of Recklessness: Poetry as Assertive Force and Contradiction by Dean Young


Why Poetry by Matthew Zapruder

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