I can honestly say that although I’ve looked at many, I’ve never seen a really good book about writing poetry. Some, like Kim Addonizio’s Ordinary Genius: A Guide for the Poet Within are at least useful. Writing these how to books is a cottage industry for poets trying to make a few extra bucks. That’s fine. Poetry alone doesn’t buy many good meals.

The best book I’ve ever read that might really help someone with their writing is about reading. It is Edward Hirsch’s How to Read a Poem: And Fall in Love with Poetry. It is wonderfully written and provides copious examples and fascinating footnotes. If you want to write poetry, you need to read a lot of poetry and read it well. This book will actually help.

Good luck with your new book.


Honorary Schizophrenic. Recent refugee. Displaced person. Old white male. Confidant of cassowaries.

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