The Writing Life, Writing Prompts, Essays on the Ordinary
First of all, it’s nice to have a place to just write, without any expectations of it being good. Here is such a place that has worked for me and for a number of people I know.
Here are some books I recommend to folks who need some help getting started writing or teaching poetry:
My Old Standbys:
Robin Behn and Chase Twichell’s The Practice of Poetry. This has saved me over the years. I’ve used and adapted the poetry exercises for every level. I recommend it highly.
Kenneth Koch’s Wishes, Lies, and Dreams virtually invented how to reach children with poetry. I recommend all his books on teaching.
For the Beginner:
Steve Kowit’s In the Palm of Your Hand is a very user-friendly guide for beginners.
Kelli Russell Agodon and Martha Silano’s The Daily Poet gives you a year of poetry exercises.
I love the Rose Metal Press guides. This one is for prose poems but there’s also a terrific one for flash fiction and flash nonfiction.
For the more Advanced Writer:
I recommend Mary Kinzie’s Poet’s Guide to Poetry if you already have some familiarity with writing. It’s a tome, but filled with excellent discussions of line, stanza, image, metaphor, and most interestingly for me, diction and syntax.
For a visual kick:
Go to The Sketchbook, a great visual blog, and start a piece that begins from today’s sketch.
Here’s the famous list of Writing Experiments from Bernadette Mayer
Here are 30 prompts from Kelli Russell Agodon’s website, The Book of Kells.
There’s an actual website called Poetry Prompts. I just found it, so it might be for very beginning students, but sometimes when you’re stuck, it helps to go back to the beginning.
And here’s an assignment I give to my students whenever I think they’re getting bored:
Anglo Saxon Verse Assignment