Best Books for Writers

From the newly published to the invaluable classic, our list of essential books for creative writers.

  • The Crafty Poet: A Portable Workshop

    by
    Diane Lockward
    Published in 2013
    by Wind Publications

    In this resource for poets, Lockward offers practical advice and insights about establishing sound, voice, and syntax in poetry while also providing writing prompts and other poems as inspiration.

    ISBN: 
    193613862X
  • The Artful Edit: On the Practice of Editing Yourself

    by
    Susan Bell
    Published in 2007
    by W.W. Norton

    In this resource, the author provides a guide filled with writing examples, strategic tips, exercises, and interviews that explore the complex and necessary art of self-editing.

    ISBN: 
    9780393332179
  • Family Trouble: Memoirists on the Hazards and Rewards of Revealing Family

    by
    Joy Castro
    Published in 2013
    by University of Nebraska Press

    Editor Joy Castro's collection of essays from memoirists explores the complex personal emotions and literary responsibilites writers must negotiate when revealing private information about their families to the reading public.

    ISBN: 
    0803246927
  • Mentor and Muse: Essays from Poets to Poets

    by
    Blas Falconer, Beth Martinelli, and Helena Mesa
    Published in 2010
    by Southern Illinois University Press

    In this anthology Falconer, Martinelli, and Mesa compile essays written by leading poets who explore effective ways of writing and revising poetry.

    ISBN: 
    9780809329892
  • Bound to Last: 30 Writers on Their Most Cherished Book

    by
    Sean Manning
    Published in 2010
    by Da Capo Press

    Numerous authors—from Chris Abani and Shahriar Mandanipour to Sigrid Nunez and Xu Xiaobin— discuss works of literature that inspired them as writers.

    ISBN: 
    9780306819216
  • The Plot Whisperer: Secrets of Story Structure Any Writer Can Master

    by
    Martha Alderson
    Published in 2011
    by Adams Media

    The author provides insight on how to create works of fiction with powerful stories and focuses on how to devise a Universal Plot, plot lines and subplots, compelling scenes, and character transformation.

    ISBN: 
    9781440525889
  • The Novelist’s Lexicon: Writers On the Words That Define Their Work

    by
    Vila Gillet
    Published in 2011
    by Columbia University Press

    Renowned contemporary authors—including Rick Moody, Etgar Keret, Colum McCann, and Annie Proulx— select and write about a specific word that is meaningful to them. Their essays reveal to the reader the author’s inner-thoughts and quirky musings.  

    ISBN: 
    9780231150804
  • The Art of Syntax: Rhythm of Thought, Rhythm of Song

    by
    Ellen Bryant Voigt
    Published in 2009
    by Graywolf Press

    The author examines the structure of successful poems written by reputable authors and stresses syntax as one of the most important means for composing rhythmic works.

    ISBN: 
    9781555975319
  • Fearless Confessions: A Writer’s Guide to Memoir

    by
    Sue William Silverman
    Published in 2009
    by University of Georgia Press

    In this resource for writers, Silverman focuses on honing one’s personal story and voice in order to write a truthful, captivating memoir. Silverman also explores effective ways of marketing and publishing one’s “confessional,” as well.

    ISBN: 
    9780820331669
  • Poetry In Person: Twenty-five Years of Conversation With America’s Poets

    by
    Alexander Neubauer
    Published in 2010
    by Knopf

    The author compiles interviews between Pearl London (daughter of M. Lincoln Schuster) and prominent poets including Derek Walcott, Robert Hass, Robert Pinsky, Louise Gluck, and Charles Simic. The poets gave writing seminars to students at the New School from from 1973 to 1996.

    ISBN: 
    9780307269676
  • Keep It Real: Everything You Need to Know About Researching and Writing Creative Nonfiction

    by
    Lee Gutkind, editor
    Published in 2008
    by W. W. Norton

    The author provides practical ideas and techniques for writing truthful, absorbing, and factual memoirs. This guidebook is broken down into handy sections such as “Family Members as Characters,” “Fact-Checking,” “Reconstruction of Events,” and “Writer’s Responsibilities to Subjects.”

    ISBN: 
    9780393330984
  • Novel Ideas: Contemporary Authors Share the Creative Process

    by
    Barbara Shoup and Margaret-Love-Denman
    Published in 2009
    by The University of Georgia Press

    Shoup and Denman explore how to write a novel and focus on the elements of fiction and the process of revision. The authors also interview successful novelists in order to provide readers with further insight into crafting their own stories.

    ISBN: 
    9780820332796
  • Quote Poet Unquote: Contemporary Quotations on Poets and Poetry

    by
    Dennis O'Driscoll, editor
    Published in 2008
    by Copper Canyon Press

    O’Driscoll collects hundreds of inspirational and thought-provoking quotations about poetry, spanning topics such as “Poetry in Motion,” “Poetic Drive,” and “Call Yourself a Poet,” from prominent authors.

    ISBN: 
    9781556592706
  • Vex, Hex, Smash, Smooch: Let Verbs Power Your Writing

    by
    Constance Hale
    Published in 2012
    by W. W. Norton

    The author of Sin and Syntax: How to Craft Wickedly Effective Prose (Broadway Books, 1999) explores syntax, grammar, and powerful ways of utilizing verbs to write more compelling, effecive prose.

    ISBN: 
    9780393081169
  • 642 Things to Write About: A Journal

    by
    The San Francisco Writers' Grotto
    Published in 2011
    by Chronicle Books

    Get your creative juices flowing with this collection of witty, outrageous, and thought-provoking writing prompts compiled by thirty-five members of the San Francisco Writers' Grotto, a workspace for professional writers.

    ISBN: 
    9781452105444
  • An Absorbing Errand: How Artists and Craftsmen Make Their Way to Mastery

    by
    Janna Malamud Smith
    Published in 2012
    by Counterpoint Press

    The author uses stories of artists' lives, personal anecdotes, and insights from the author's work as a psychotherapist to examine the psychological obstacles that prevent people, including poets and writers, from staying with, and relishing, the process of art-making.

    ISBN: 
    9781619020047
  • Writing Poetry to Save Your Life: How to Find the Courage to Tell Your Stories

    by
    Maria Mazziotti Gillan
    Published in 2013
    by MiroLand Publishers

    The author, a widely published poet and the executive director of the Poetry Center at Passaic County Community College in Paterson, New Jersey, combines her own personal story as a writer with suggestions for writers at all stages of development.

    ISBN: 
    9781550717471
  • In Fact: The Best of Creative Nonfiction

    by
    Lee Gutkind, editor
    Published in 2004
    by W. W. Norton

    This collection of work previously published in the literary journal that helped define a genre includes writing by Diane Ackerman, Phillip Lopate, John McPhee, Richard Rodriguez, Floyd Skloot, John Edgar Wideman, and Terry Tempest Williams.

    ISBN: 
    9780393326659

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