My Top 5 Useful Books for Poets

img_2879There are many books out there which are designed to help poets to write well, to be inspired, to learn new forms or develop their work. These are just five of the books that have helped me over the years; books which I return to again and again…

 

 

Number 1 –

Book - Poetry in the Making by Ted Hughes

Poetry in the Making by Ted Hughes

Poetry in the Making by Ted Hughes

This was the first book on poetry writing that I ever read. I borrowed it from my parents’ bookshelf when I was a teenager and it’s still on long term loan. I read it in bed at night, thoughts whirring round my head, pen and paper ready on my bedside table, enjoying the thrill of getting advice from Ted Hughes himself. This was where I first came across ‘The Thought-Fox’, and it’s still probably my favourite poem of all time.

This book on Amazon…

Number 2 –

Book - Creating Poetry by John Drury

Creating Poetry by John Drury

Creating Poetry by John Drury

I ordered this through a magazine, and it helped me to begin experimenting with different forms and techniques, from the haiku to the pantoum. It also contains some interesting advice about “developing your poetic sensitivity”, prompts for writing and editing techniques.

This book on Amazon…

Number 3 –

Poetry anthology - The Rattle Bag edited by Seamus Heaney and Ted Hughes

The Rattle Bag

The Rattle Bag anthology edited by Seamus Heaney and Ted Hughes

An assorted anthology collected by these two poetic giants. My copy is well-worn and faded now, but still much loved. The Observer describes it (on the back cover) as “A splendid, huge, resonant book.”

This book on Amazon…

Number 4 –

Book - Brush up your Poetry by Michael Macrone

Brush up your Poetry by Michael Macrone

Brush up Your Poetry by Michael Macrone

This book is a kind of miniature degree in English Literature, contained within less than 300 pages. It is a great way to familiarise yourself with our most famous bards, well-written and concise, moving chronologically from Chaucer and Shakespeare to the 20th Century.

This book on Amazon…

Number 5 –

Staying Alive, Being Alive & Being Human – A trilogy of anthologies edited by Neil Astley

Poetry antholgies edited by Neil Astley

Poetry antholgies edited by Neil Astley

The first of these was given to me as a Christmas present, and I loved it so much I asked for the others as well. They contain a vast array of poems collected around themes such as ‘Body and soul’, ‘Roads and journeys’ or (my favourite section) ‘The art of poetry’. They will introduce you to poets you’ve not yet discovered and provide an endless source of inspiration.

These books on Amazon…

Which books have you found really helpful? Do you have any recommendations or reading suggestions for aspiring poets? Please do let us know via the comments below…


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