How to be a Poet

‘Being a poet’ isn’t about knowing how many lines there are in a pantoum, or getting published in Poetry Review. It’s a way of seeing, and you can learn it.—Jo Bell, How to be a Poet

I’m really enjoying this book. I think mostly because it focuses on the practicalities of being a poet, of seeing life through that lense, rather than the mechanics of poetry (which are important, of course, but covered by countless other books):

What we wanted to do here is to give you a kind of handbook for the poetry life; not how to write poems, but how to be a poet in twenty-first century culture.

But also, it’s engaging, and the chapters are short (written by multiple authors), so it’s an easy and enjoyable read. Highly recommended so far!


Update (15/5/18): As I’ve gotten further into the book, I’ve noticed a number of distracting/annoying typos and errors (subject-verb disagreement, extra words, unnecessary commas, etc.)—particularly in the chapter ‘How to start a poem’, but others too. I think it could have done with another editing pass. I’m also finding some of the writers more engaging than others. Having said that, it’s clear the writers know what they’re talking about, and I’m gaining a lot through reading the book. I’d definitely still recommend it.

How to not suck at writing poetry

This article on writing poetry is probably the most genuinely helpful one I’ve read in a while. It actually lives up to its clickbaity title.

My desire to not suck (and my theoretical knowledge of how to do so) is a lot further along than my actual not sucking , but I’m working on it. 🙂

Warning: If you’re sensitive to rough language, there’s a bit of it in here.

P. S. I’ve got a coupla longer (hopefully not-too-sucky) poems on the boil, so I’ll keep stirring those until they’re ready.