Inspired by a Strictly Writing post about submitting manuscripts, Just Post It, I've started drafting a post about electronic submissions and the poetry world. It's a potentially controversial subject! While doing a little research I was trawling through my bookshelves, and came across a few keys books I think are worth recommending. Ideally one day I'll set up a resources corner on this blog, but for now I hope this list will suffice. These are books I'd loan to you if you told me you were starting to write poetry, or had written reams and now wanted to dip your toe in the poetry market.
1. Writing Poetry by Matthew Sweeney and John Hartley Williams. This is part of the Teach Yourself Series. My edition (from the Dark Ages) is called 'Writing Poetry and Getting Published'; interesting that they have changed this as the content appears much the same. Full of exercises and advice from experienced poets, I would say this book is a cornerstone of my practical writing collection.
2. A second essential guide is Writing Poems by Peter Sansom. Vital for any contemporary poet. No need to say more.
3. A companion guide to #2, Getting into Poetry by Paul Hyland. Billed as a 'reader's and writer's guide to the poetry scene', it doesn't deal with the nuts and bolts of the writing process, but just about everything else. My edition is from 1996 and I didn't find a newer one. That's sad because the listings section reads like a time capsule: no email addresses and no websites!
4. How to Publish Your Poetry by Peter Finch. Explores the ins and outs of every kind of publication, with the exception of the very latest technologies (my edition is 1997, and Amazon shows one updated only as of 2000, so don't expect to find anything about the Espresso in here). Still, it gives you the basics and a good springboard from which to launch.
If you have any other recommendations, pass them along!