Lucy, who blogs at Box Elder and Out with Mol, recently asked in the comments section here:
would you give suggestions for books you've found helpful both in reading and writing poetry?
so here are some suggested books:
1. The Poet's Manual and Rhyming Dictionary by Frances Stillman (published by Thames and Hudson) is an essential I think, it discusses aspects of poetry such as metre and rhyme, looks at form, such as sonnets and haiku and offers a very comprehensive rhyming dictionary.
2. Teach Yourself Writing Poetry by Matthew Sweeney and John Hartley Williams (published by Hodder and Stoughton) covers issues such as how to get started, working with rhyme and getting pubnlished and includes a number of exercises to help you along the way.
3. The Art and Craft of Poetry by Michael Bugeja (published by Writers Digest Books) looks at different types of poetry, such as nature poetry and war poetry and at different forms and discusses them in detail with lots of examples. The book is designed to be useful for at least three readings through with three tiers of exercises that build on each other depending on your level of experience. This is as far as I'm concerned the most inspiring book on how to write poetry.
None of these books are in my Christmas Giveaway, but two books I'm giving away that are relevant to this post are:
52 Ways of Looking at a Poem by Ruth Padel - a guide to close reading poetry with 52 poems. You can read my review of it on Read Write Poem here. This is a really useful guide to how to read a poem as fully as possible, but I did find it lacking in inspirational value, strangely given how inspiring i find Ruth padel as a poet.
Unleash the Poem Within by Wendy Nyemaster a guide to poetic form for women who are just starting to write poetry or who are unsure about when to use particular poetic forms, but is not a book i'd recommend to anyone who has experience in using form.
Finally I can recommend finding an anthology, any anthology, as long as it is edited by Neil Astley (eg Staying Alive or Being Alive). He knows what poetry is really about, understands the need for poetry to speak to the reader if it is to be of true value.
There is still time to enter my Giveaway by the way, you can find out more here.