Below is a list of books that I can pull off my book shelf when I have a question about poems and poetry. And when I need inspiration. Every poet’s bookshelf is and should be an idiosyncratic affair. I recommend that you visit used bookstores looking for some of these. If you have any suggestions, I would love to learn about your favorites. I have placed asterisks (**) in front of those that I highly recommend as places to begin.
Allen, Donald, Ed. The New American Poetry. New York: Grove. 1960.
Bernstein, Charles. Content’s Dream: Essays 1975-1984. Los Angeles: Sun & Moon Press. 1986.
Bernstein, Charles. A Poetics. Cambridge: Harvard UP. 1992.
Berry, Wendell. Standing by Words. San Francisco: North Point. 1983.
Bly, Robert. American Poetry: Wildness and Domesticity. New York: Harper and Row. 1990.
Bly, Robert. The Eight Stages of Translation. Boston: Rowan Tree Press. 1983.
Bly, Robert. Leaping Poetry: An Idea with Poems and Translations. Boston: Beacon Press. 1975.
Brogan, T. V. F. English Versification, 1570-1980: A Reference Guide with a Global Appendix. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins UP. 1981.
Brogan, T. V. F. Verseform: A Comparative Bibliography. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins UP. 1898.
Burnshaw, Stanley. The Seamless Web: Language-Thinking, Creature-Knowledge, Art-Experience. New York: George Braziller. 1970.
**Cairdi, John. How Does a Poem Mean? Boston: Houghton Mifflin. 1959.
**Cummings, e e. i: six nonlectures. Cambridge: Harvard UP. 1953.
Davie, Donald. Purity of Diction in English Verse and Articulate Energy: An Inquiry into the Syntax of English Poetry. New York: Penguin. 1992.
Duncan, Robert. Fictive Certainties. New York: New Directions. 1985.
Duncan, Robert. Scales of the Marvelous. New York: New Directions, 1979.
**Drury, John. Creating Poetry. Cincinnati: Writer’s Digest Books. 1991.
Eliot. T.S. The Sacred Wood. London: University Paperbacks. 1960.
Fass, Ekbert, Ed. Towards a New American Poetics: Essays and Interviews. Santa Barbara: Black Sparrow Press. 1978.
Feirstein, Frederick. Expansive Poetry: Essays on the New Narrative and the New Formalism. Santa Cruz: Story Line Press. 1989.
**Finch, Annie, Ed. A Formal Feeling Comes: Poems in Form by Contemporary Women. Ashland, Oregon: Story Line Press. 1999.
**Gibbons, Reginald, Ed. The Poet’s Work: 29 Poets on the Origins and Practice of Their Art. Chicago: Chicago UP. 1979.
Gibbs, Raymond W. Jr. The Poetics of Mind: Figurative Thought, Language, and Understanding. Cambridge: Cambridge UP. 1999.
**Giola, Dana. Can Poetry Matter?: Essays on Poetry and American Culture. Saint Paul: Graywolf. 1992.
Graves, Robert. The White Goddess: A Historical Grammar of Poetic Myth. Amended and Enlarged. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux. 1966.
Hall, Donald, Ed. Claims for Poetry. Ann Arbor: U Michigan P. 1982.
Hartman, Charles O. Free Verse: An Essay on Prosody. Evanston: Northwestern UP. 1980.
Heidegger, Martin. Poetry, Language, Thought. Tr. Albert Hofstadter. New York: Perennial Classics. 2001.
Hirsch, Edward. How to Read a Poem and Fall in Love with Poetry. San Diego: Harcourt. 1999.
Hoagland, Tony. Real Sofistikashun: Essays on Poetry and Craft. Minneapolis: Graywolf. 2006.
**Hollander, John. Rhyme’s Reason: A Guide to English Verse. New Haven: Yale UP. 1981.
Hollander, John. Vision and Resonance: Two Senses of Poetic Form. 2nd ed. New Haven: Yale UP. 1985.
Hughes, Ted. Shakespeare and the Goddess of Complete Being. New York: Farrar Straus Giroux. 1992.
**Hughes, Ted. Winter Pollen: Occasional Prose. Ed. William Scammell. New York: Picador. 1995.
Jarman, Mark and David Mason, Eds. Rebel Angels: 25 Poets of the New Formalism. Brownsville, Oregon: Story Line Press. 1996.
Jarrell, Randall. Poetry and the Age. New York: Knopf. 1953.
Jarrell, Randall. A Sad Heart at the Supermarket. New York: Atheneum. 1962.
Jarrell, Randall. The Third Book of Criticism. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux. 1969.
Jaskoski, Helen. Poetry/Mind/Body. Lanham, Maryland: U P America. 1991.
**Jimenez, Juan Ramon. The Complete Perfectionist: A Poetics of Work. Ed. and Tr. Christopher Maurer. New York: Doubleday. 1997.
Kinzie, Mary. The Cure of Poetry in an Age of Prose: Moral Essays on the Poet’s Calling. Chicago: U Chicago P. 1993.
Kooser. Ted. The Poetry Home Repair Manual. Lincoln: Bison Books. 2007
**Lakoff, George and Mark Johnson. Metaphors We Live By. Chicago: U Chicago P. 1980.
Lewis, C. Day. The Poetic Image: The Creative Power of the Visual Word. Los Angeles: Jeremy P. Tarcher, Inc. 1984.
Lord, Alfred B.. The Singer of Tales. New York: Atheneum. 1976
Mallarne, Stephane. Selected Prose Poems, Essays, and Letters. Tr. Bradford Cook. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins UP. 1956.
**Mayes, Frances. The Discovery of Poetry: A Field Guide to Reading and Writing Poems. New York: Harcourt, Inc. 2001.
Oliver, Mary. A Poetry Handbook: A Prose Guide to Writing and Understanding Poetry. Boston: Houghton Mifflin. 1994.
Oliver. Mary. Rules for the Dance: A Handbook for Writing and Reading Metrical Verse. Boston: Houghton Mifflin. 1998.
Packard, William, Ed. The Craft of Poetry: Interviews from the New York Quarterly. New York: Doubleday. 1974.
**Paz, Octavio. The Bow and the Lyre: The Poem, The Poetic Revelation, Poetry and History. Tr. Ruth L. C. Simms. Austin: U Texas P. 1973
Paz, Octavio. The Other Voice: Essays on Modern Poetry. Tr. Helen Lane. New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich. 1990
Peacock, Molly. How to Read a Poem . . .and Start a Poetry Circle. New York: Riverhead Books. 1999.
Preminger, Alex and T. V. F. Brogan, Eds. The New Princeton Encyclopedia of Poetry and Poetics. Princeton: Princeton UP. 1993.
**Quinn, Arthur. Figures of Speech: 60 Ways to Turn a Phrase. New York: Routledge. 1995.
Rilke, Rainer Maria. Letters to a Young Poet. Tr. M.D. Herter Norton. New York: Norton. 1983
Roberts, Philip Davies. How Poetry Works. New York: Penguin Books. 1986.
Rosenthal, M.L. Poetry and the Common Life. New York: Schocken Books. 1983.
Rothenberg, Jerome and Pierre Joris, Eds. Poems for the Millennium: The University of California Book of Modern and Postmodern Poetry. Volume I: From Fin-de-Siecle to Negritude. Berkeley: U California P. 1995.
Rothenberg, Jerome and Pierre Joris, Eds. Poems for the Millennium: The University of California Book of Modern and Postmodern Poetry. Volume II: From Postwar to Millennium. Berkeley: U California P. 1998.
Rothenberg, Jerome, Ed. Revolution of the Word: A New Gathering of American Avant Garde Poetry, 1914-1945. New York: Seabury Press. 1974
Rothenberg, Jerome, Ed. Shaking the Pumpkin: Traditional Poetry of the Indian North Americas. New York: Doubleday. 1972.
Rothenberg, Jerome, Ed. Technicians of the Sacred: A Range of Poetries from Africa, America, Asia, Europe, & Oceania. 2nd edition. Berkeley: U California Press.1985.
**Rukeyser, Muriel. The Life of Poetry. Ashfield, Massachusetts: Paris Press. 1996.
Saintbury, George. Historical Manual of English Prosody. New York: Schocken Books. 1966. (first published in 1910.)
Sayers, Dorothy. The Mind of the Maker. San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco. 1979.
Snyder, Gary. Earth House Hold. New York: New Directions. 1969.
Snyder, Gary. A Place in Space: Ethics, Aesthetics, and Watersheds. New and Selected Prose. Washington, D.C.: Counterpoint. 1995.
Snyder, Gary. The Practice of the Wild. New York: North Point. 1990.
Spender, Stephen. The Making of a Poem. New York: Norton. 1962.
Steele, Timothy. Missing Measures: Modern Poetry and the Revolt Against Meter. Fayetteville: U Arkansas Press. 1990.
Stevens. Wallace. The Necessary Angel: Essays on Reality and the Imagination. New York: Vintage. 1951.
Strand, Mark and Eavan Boland, Eds. The Making of a Poem: A Norton Anthology of Poetic Forms. New York: Norton. 2000.
Todorov, Tzvetan. Introduction to Poetics. Tr. Richard Howard. Minneapolis: U Minnesota P. 1981
Turner, Frederick. The Culture of Hope: A New Birth of the Classical Spirit. New York: Free Press. 1995.
Turner, Frederick. Natural Classicism: Essays on Literature and Science. New York: Paragon House. 1985.
Valery, Paul. The Art of Poetry. Tr. Denise Folliot. New York: Pantheon.1958.
Waldman, Anne and Marilyn Webb, Eds. Talking Poetics from Naropa Institute: Annals of the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics. Volume 1. Boulder, Colorado: Shambala. 1978.
Waldman, Anne and Marilyn Webb, Eds. Talking Poetics from Naropa Institute: Annals of the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics. Volume 2. Boulder, Colorado: Shambala. 1979.
Winn, James Anderson. Unsuspected Eloquence: A History of the Relations between Poetry and Music. New Haven: Yale UP. 1981.
Wooldridge, Susan. Poemcrazy: Freeing Your Life with Words. New York: Broadway. 1997.
Zumthor, Paul. Oral Poetry: An Introduction. Tr. Kathryn Murphy-Judy. Minneapolis: U Minnesota P. 1990.