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What are some good books on poetry?

The best way to start to start learning about poetry is to read as much about it as you can.

Here’s a list of our recommended ‘how to’ primers and textbooks:

Adrienne Rich, What Is Found There: Notebooks

Alfred Corn, A Poem’s Heartbeat

Anne Carson, Decreation: Poetry, Essays, Opera

Anne Stevenson, Five Looks at Elizabeth Bishop

Barbara Herrnstein Smith, A Study of How Poems End

Clare Brown & Don Paterson (eds), Don’t Ask Me What I Mean

Dennis O’Driscoll, Stepping Stones: Interviews with Seamus Heaney

Den Young, The Art of Recklessness

Don Paterson, 101 Sonnets

Durs Grünbein, The Vocation of Poetry

Fiona Sampson, Poetry Writing: The Expert Guide

Glyn Maxwell, On Poetry

Helen Ivory & George Szirtes (eds), In Their Own Words

Hayden Carruth, Effluences from the Sacred Caves

Jacqueline Saphra & David Orr, Beautiful and Pointless

James Fenton, An Introduction to English Poetry

James Fenton, The Strength of Poetry

James Longenbach, The Art of the Poetic Line

Jane Hirshfield, Nine Gates – Entering the Mind of Poetry

Kim Addonizio & Dorianne Laux, The Poet’s Companion

Kim Addonizio, Ordinary Genius

Lyn Hejinian, The Language of Inquiry

Mark Doty, The Art of Description: World Into Word

Mary Kinzie, A Poet’s Guide to Poetry, 2nd Edition (Chicago Guides)

Mary Oliver, A Poetry Handbook

Mary Oliver, Rules for the Dance

Mary Ruefle, Madness, Rack and Honey

Matthew Sweeney & John Hartley Williams, Write Poetry and Get It Published

Michael Donaghy, Wallflowers

Neil Astley And Bill Herbert and Matthew Hollis, Strong Words: Modern Poets on Modern Poetry

Paul Muldoon, The End of the Poem

Peter Sansom, Writing Poems

Philip Levine, Don’t Ask and So Ask

Robin Behn and Chase Twitchell, The Practice of Poetry

Stephen Dobyns, Best Words, Best Order

Stephen Dobyns, Next Word, Better Word

Stephen Dunn, Walking Light

Stephen Fry, The Ode Less Travelled

Ted Hughes, Poetry in the Making

Ted Kooser, Poetry Home Repair Manual

Timothy Steele, All the Fun’s in How You Say a Thing

Tom Sleigh, Interview With A Ghost

Tony Hoagland, Real Sofistikashun

Tony Hoagland, Fear of Narrative and the Skittery Poem of Our Moment

W N Herbert, Writing Poetry

There is also a lot of poetry and information about poetry freely available online. You can’t go wrong by starting with Poetry Foundation and Poetry Archive.