Our Favorite Books About Poetry

As sure as you stir your hot apple cider with a stick of cinnamon bark, it’s the time of year when the Internet is infused with the spices of year-end list making. Tweetspeak is not one to stand idly by when hot beverages are flowing in abundance, so we asked our team to share their favorite poetry titles.

Today, we’re serving up our favorite books about poetry.

How to Read a Poem: And Fall in Love with Poetry (Edward Hirsch)

As children, we are naturally drawn to poetry. Yet many of us lose our love of it along the way. This lyrical book will help you find the joy and necessity of poetry again. Includes a strong philosophy of poetry and an introduction to some of the most beautiful lines of poetry from around the world.


Poemcrazy: Freeing Your Life with Words (Susan Goldsmith Wooldridge)

Full of prompts, Poemcrazy will help you capture images with words. Make a word pool or just fall into the stream with Wooldridge (she wrote a poem about it; you could too). This book is one of our favorites, because it can truly help a person write better poetry, whether a seasoned poet or newcomer. 

The Poetry Home Repair Manual: Practical Advice for Beginning Poets (Ted Kooser)

Kooser permits us to love poetry by debunking the myth of if it confuses you it’s probably good poetry. Good poetry, he argues, is accessible. Then he shows us convincing examples and invites us to a life of poetry. We’re in.


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

Like the Kooser Home Repair Manual, this book can be helpful for beginners. As the subtitle makes clear, it’s specific to metrical poetry. Includes an explanation of how certain metrical forms came to be dominant, as well as readings in those dominant forms (John Donne, William Blake, Emily Dickinson, Elizabeth Bishop, etc.)


Ordinary Genius: A Guide for the Poet Within (Kim Addonizio)

We love this book so much we spent five weeks reading it and writing poetry together here at Tweetspeak this year. Packed full of exercises and prompts, this book will teach you the craft, including structure, rhythm, metaphor, and revision, as well as give you plenty of space to play.

Inspired: 8 Ways to Write Poems You Can Love (L.L. Barkat)

Inspired is simple, fun, enriching prompt book that will give you eight ways to write poems you can love (16 ways, if you count the bonus prompts). Includes sections called: Catalog poems, What is Poetry, Why Poetry, Sonnets, Resolutions, Sestinas, Villanelles, and By Heart. You’ll love the beautiful photography included throughout, as well as sample poems from “Morning Argument” where she is “pretty in red,” to the Cheetos sonnet (See? Sonnets can be fun.)

Poetry at Work (Glynn Young, forward by Scott Edward Anderson)

There is value in taking poetry to work, and finding the poetry that’s already there. Publications like Harvard Business Review and FastCompany are starting to write about the power of poetry—noting poetry’s effectiveness in building creative leaders and problem solvers. Yet there is no single source to guide those who are *at work* every day, with little direction for how to explore the power of poetry in the workplace. Glynn Young’s Poetry at Work is that guide. From discussions about how poetry is built into the very fabric of work, to practical suggestions on how to be a poet at work, this is a book that meets a very real need.

Perhaps you have a favorite book that has helped you learn about or write poetry. Share it in the comment box?

Photo by basykes, Creative Commons license via Flickr.


Every Day Poems Driftwood

Buy a year of Every Day Poems, just $5.99

Read a poem a day, become a better poet. In December, we’re exploring the theme Night.


  1. L. L. Barkat says

    Just thinking. Maybe I should stir my poems with a cinnamon stick :)

    Great list! (These are definitely some of my favorites.)


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *