Poetry Writing Guides
The Making of a Poem by Mark Strand and Eavan Boland
This book outlines the works of many modern poets, giving insight into the various poetic forms and movements that have affected modern poetry. Metered poetry is given special attention, providing clear and concise descriptions of many potentially confusing forms and styles.
The Making of a Sonnet by Eavan Boland and Edward Hirsch
Boland and Hirsch trace the sonnet from its historical background through the contemporary resurgence of the form. They draw on hundreds of examples and give analysis on the endurance and transformation of the sonnet form.
Getting Into Poetry by Paul Hyland
Hyland has written a complete guide to entering the world of poetry: advice on publishing, entering competitions, submission guidelines, historical references and movements, and poetic names and resources of which the beginning writer should be aware.
A Poet’s Guide to Poetry by Mary Kinzie
Mary Kinzie focuses not only on poetic forms, but the ways in which these forms can be manipulated to create certain meanings and incorporate historical backdrops. She describes how poems enable particular thoughts and images and gives opinions on how to create these moments In personal poetry.
Poetry: Reading It, Writing It, Publishing It by Jessie Lendennie
Lendennie has created a guide for the beginning poet, discussing the process and the creative work of writing. Included also in the book are essays and discussions by major poets describing their processes of writing and reading.
A Poetry Handbook by Mary Oliver
Oliver seeks to create a basic, accessible guide to the forms and sounds of poetry. She gives information on poetic forms as well as guides to writing and reading poetry with subtlety. She draws on examples from many contemporary poets.
The Sounds of Poetry: A Brief Guide by Robert Pinsky
Pinsky gives a basic guide to some of the elements and tools of poetry. Various meters and tropes are discussed along with examples from various poets, from Donne to contemporary writers.
The Poetry Home Repair Manual by Ted Kooser
The former US Poet Laureate gives advice for poets in a contemporary market. Kooser tells it as he sees it, giving writing advice as well as criticisms of current trends. He offers practical advice on publishing and marketing in the sphere of contemporary poetry.
Rules for the Dance by Mary Oliver
Oliver gives a lyrical guide to the somtimes complicated and intimidating world of meter and rhyme. The book is concise and clear with plenty of examples from contemporary poets.
Writing Poems by Peter Samson
Samson gives advice from his long experience as poetry and workshop leader. He attempts to give the poet constructive advice on writing better and more clearly. The book is also structured as a guide for teachers of poetry.
The Chicago Manual of Style is a guide to formatting and stylistic information for writing for different mediums: print journalism, novels, poetry, non-fiction manuscripts, memos and correspondences are discussed with their various stylistic minutiae.
The Elements of Style: 4th Edition
The Elements of Style has long been one of the top reference manuals for fiction writers. Strunk gives instruction on grammar and style, clarity and semantics. This is an invaluable guide to the nuts and bolts of written communication.
Fiction Writing Guides
The Art of Fiction by John Gardner
John Gardner created the Art of Fiction as a no-nonsense guide for the beginning and experienced writer. There is no coddling in Gardner’s straight-forward approach to creating characters and producing a believable, working fictional world.
Steering the Craft: Exercises and Discussions in Short Story Writing
Le Guin presents a more philosophical view on writing. She speaks to the changes and the transformations of good fiction and, at the same time, gives advice and support to those embarking on their own fiction expeditions.
The Weekend Novelist by Robert J. Ray
This book can serve as a light and practical guide to writing as a hobby and personal interest. It gives advice and encouragement for those that must divide their time between their personal lives, work, and their literary ambitions.
The New Oxford Guide to Writing by Thomas S. Kane
This is an essential reference for beginning writers and a mainstay for experienced writers, as well. The New Oxford Guide focuses on clarity and function in writing, giving advice and references for many grammatical and content-related problems that the writer may encounter.
2008 Poet’s Market by Nancy Breen
Poet’s Market is a staple of publishing guides. Outlining publishers and tips mostly for US and Canadian outlets, this book can be an invaluable resource for getting a first book published.
Literary Press and Magazine Directory
This guide focuses mainly on independent publishers and magazines, offering a new and more varied range of publishing options for poets and writers who are looking for more unconventional outlets for their work.
List compiled by Laura Jacobs