Look for these books on Poets & Writers
The Write Crowd: Literary Citizenship and the Writing Life
by Lori A. May
Published in 2014 by Bloomsbury
The Write Crowd offers tips and examples of how writers contribute to the literary community, the success of others, and their own well-rounded writing life.
Kicking in the Wall
by Barbara Abercrombie
Published in 2013 by New World Library
Author and writing instructor Barbara Abercrombie provides a year's worth of writing exercises and prompts, as well as inspiring quotes and examples, to help writers break through the blocks that impede their writing progress
Writing from the Senses: 60 Exercises to Ignite Creativity and Revitalize Your Writing
by Laura Deutsch
Published in 2014 by Shambhala Publications
Writer, editor, and teacher Laura Deutsch offers techniques, exercises, prompts, and examples that focus on honing in on our senses during the writing process to enrich our storytelling skills.
The Crafty Poet: A Portable Workshop
by Diane Lockward
Published in 2013 by Wind Publications
In this resource for poets, Lockward offers practical advice and insights about establishing sound, voice, and syntax in poetry while also providing writing prompts and other poems as inspiration.
Writing Poetry to Save Your Life: How to Find the Courage to Tell Your Stories
by Maria Mazziotti Gillan
Published in 2013 by MiroLand Publishers
The author, a widely published poet and the executive director of the Poetry Center at Passaic County Community College in Paterson, New Jersey, combines her own personal story as a writer with suggestions for writers at all stages of development.
In Praise of Reading and Fiction
by Mario Vargas Llosa
Published in 2011 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Translated by Edith Grossman, In Praise of Reading and Fiction is Peruvian author Mario Vargas Llosa's lecture delivered after he received the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2010. Llosa argues for the necessity of literature in our lives today. As he puts it, "literature not only submerges us in the dream of beauty and happiness but alerts us to every kind of oppression."
From Where You Dream: The Process of Writing Fiction
by Robert Olen Butler
Published in 2006 by Grove Press
Based on a series of his lectures, Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Robert Olen Butler provides in-depth guidance about how to fully develop one's fiction. Butler's advice stems from his belief that "art does not come from the mind. Art comes from the place where we dream."
The McSweeney's Book of Poets Picking Poets
by Dominic Luxford, editor
Published in 2007 by McSweeney's Books
In this collection from McSweeney’s Books editor Dominic Luxford chose ten poems from ten different poets, and then asked each of them to contribute an additional poem of his or her own, plus a poem from another poet. That new poet was then asked to do the same. As Luxford writes in the introduction, “The result: ten chains, five poets per chain, two poems per poet—one almighty collection of verse.” With poems by authors such as Elizabeth Alexander, Tina Chang, Mark Doty, Heidi Johannesen Poon, Mary Ruefle, C. D. Wright, and Dean Young, the collaboration offers poetry by a range of older, more accomplished poets as well as by poets at the beginning of their careers and allows readers to discover what each writer values most in both his or her own work and the work of others.
On Looking: Essays
by Lia Purpura
Published in 2006 by Sarabande Books
In this collection of essays, poet Lia Purpura explores the act of observation as it relates the to the writer's endeavor. Purpura is an award-winning writer who teaches at the Rainier Writing Workshop MFA program in Tacoma, Washington.
The Life of Poetry
by Muriel Rukeyser
Published in 1996 by Paris Press
In this American classic, with a foreword by poet Jane Cooper, Muriel Rukeyser explores the promise of poetry as an art form that can help us shape a civil society.
The Scene Book: A Primer for the Fiction Writer
by Sandra Scofield
Published in 2007 by Penguin
In this practical guide, National Book Award–nominee Sandra Scofield offers straightforward information and exercises designed to help writers write strong scenes in fiction.
The Art of the Poetic Line
by James Logenbach
Published in 2007 by Graywolf Press
In this writing guide, poet James Logenbach explores the qualities that define the poetic line and uses examples of its use in the writing of poets such as Frank Bidart, Emily Dickinson, Marianne Moore, Ezra Pound, William Carlos Williams, and C. D. Wright.
A Beautiful Marsupial Afternoon: New (Soma)tics
Published in 2012 by Wave Books
"I cannot stress enough how much this mechanistic world, as it becomes more and more efficient, resulting in ever increasing brutality, has required me to FIND MY BODY to FIND MY PLANET in order to find my poetry," begins CAConrad in this collection of unorthodox writing exercises meant to upset our perception of everyday life. The poet also includes poems that resulted from the writing exercises featured.
A Kite in the Wind: Fiction Writers on Their Craft
by Andrea Barrett and Peter Turchi, editors
Published in 2011 by Trinity University Press
This anthology features essays by twenty fiction writers, including Charles Baxter, Maud Casey, Lan Samantha Chang, Stacey D'Erasmo, and Kevin McIlvoy, covering narrative distance and voice, character, setting, structure, and more. As the editors write in the introduction, "Writers and readers interested...in contemplation of various aspects of the fiction writer's craft will, we think, find this collection surprising, provocative, and even useful." One hundred percent of the book's royalties go to Friends of Writers, Inc., to provide scholarships for developing writers.
Ambition and Survival: Becoming a Poet
by Christian Wiman
Published in 2007 by Copper Canyon Press
Ambition and Survival is a collection of personal essays and critical prose by Christian Wiman, the editor of Poetry magazine. Wiman recounts his path to becoming a poet, his struggle with a rare form of incurable cancer, and how mortality reignited his religious passions.
Next Word, Better Word: The Craft of Writing Poetry
by Stephen Dobyns
Published in 2011 by Palgrave Macmillan
Author of Best Words, Best Order, Stephen Dobyns offers a helpful framework for creating poetry and navigates contemporary concerns and practices. Dobyns explores the complex relationship between writers and their work, and in the process, demystifies a subtle art form.
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The Art of Description: World Into Word
by Mark Doty
Published in 2010 by Graywolf Press
In this book-length essay, poet Mark Doty writes about the art of articulating sensory experience. Looking at poems by Blake, Whitman, Bishop, and others, Doty considers the task of saying what you see, and the challenges of rendering experience through language.
The Art of Recklessness: Poetry as an Assertive Force and Contradiction
by Dean Young
Published in 2010 by Graywolf Press
Poet Dean Young explores how recklessness can guide the poet, the artist, and the reader into art in this book-length essay.
A Writer's Workbook: Daily Exercises for the Writing Life
by Caroline Sharp
Published in 2002 by St. Martin’s Griffin
With a foreword by Eat, Pray, Love author Elizabeth Gilbert, A Writer’s Workbook is a collection of thirty-two unique writing exercises that offer encouragement and guidance for generating ideas to anyone who writes.
A Poetry Handbook: A Prose Guide to Understanding and Writing Poetry
by Mary Oliver
Published in 1994 by Mariner Books
Poet Mary Oliver tells of the basic ways a poem is built, including meter and rhyme, form and diction, sound and sense. Drawing on poems from Robert Frost, Elizabeth Bishop, and others, Oliver gives clear instruction on how to approach poetry.
Imaginative Writing: The Elements of Craft
by Janet Burroway
Published in 2010 by Longman
Imaginative Writing: The Elements of Craft explores the craft of creative writing in four genres: fiction, poetry, drama, and creative nonfiction. A trade author as well as a professor of creative writing, Burroway brings her years of teaching and writing to this book. "Try-This" exercises appear throughout each chapter.