Book Recommendations & Reviews

A Writer’s Bookshelf

These are some of the books I’ve found useful over the years. These are personal recommendations. Other members are invited to add to this section. Check your local library – online catalogues can be searched through the Links page.

 

Right at the top of my list is the annual reference book Writers’ and Artists’ Yearbook. It should be available in the reference section of libraries. It’s packed with all sorts of information about publishers, agents, magazines, newspapers, broadcasters, copyright and much much else.

 

Stephen King: On Writing; a memoir of the craft. New English Library
The book is packed with useful hints and tips, as well as the author’s biography.

 

Phil Roberts: How Poetry Works. Penguin. This is an extremely useful technical manual, packed full of examples.

 

Sandy Brownjohn: The Poet’s Craft; a handbook of rhyme, metre and verse. Hodder. Arranged alphabetically, this is a handy compendium of brief definitions, with examples, of many different aspects of the craft of poetry.

 

Renni Browne and Dave King: Self-editing for fiction writers; how to edit yourself into print.
Some excellent tips here, particularly the one that goes, “Resist the urge to explain.”

 

Helena Nelson: How Not To Get Your Poetry Published.
Invaluable advice in this one, from a generous poetry publisher. (I lent my copy to another member of the Dunbar Group, and I haven’t got it back yet. You know who you are. PS: I’ve now bought a new copy, and you’re definitely off my Christmas card list.)

 

Some more specific books on poetry:

Analysis and criticism

 

Ruth Padel: 52 ways of looking at a poem. How to read a poem to see what’s in it and how it was made; maybe how and why it works.

 

John Lennard: The poetry handbook; a guide to reading poetry for pleasure and practical criticism. Detailed and thorough.

 

How to write poetry
W.N. Herbert: Writing poetry. Really useful exercises.

 

Robin Behn and Chase Twichell: The practice of poetry. Writing exercises from poets who teach. This one’s really good.

 

Kim Addonizio and Dorianne Laux: The poet’s companion; a guide to the pleasures of writing poetry. An excellent practical handbook.