Anthony Wilson: Books for the Aspiring Poet

National Poetry Day 28 September 2017

Ahead of National Poetry day we asked Exeter based poet Anthony Wilson to recommend five books for the aspiring (or established!) poet to read.  Anthony and fellow poet Lawrence Wilson will be appearing at the bookshop on Friday 29th September, reading a mix of their own and others’ poems which they have chosen to explore this years theme, Freedom

Writing Poems by Peter Sansom

A brilliant guide to the process of putting pen to paper. Contains a great reading list, plus a useful guide to competitions as well as forms and schools of poetry.

Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott

Not really about poetry writing, but rather about writing in general and how to lead the writer’s life. Honest, hilarious and full of brilliant advice. Probably my favourite book on writing.

The Rattlebag by Seamus Heaney and Ted Hughes

A marvellous, sprawling anthology where the ancient, the contemporary and the unknown rub alongside each other as equals.

How Poets Work edited by Tony Curtis

An anthology of interviews with poets on their composing process. Full of wit, wisdom and insight.

New Addresses by Kenneth Koch

The late, great New York poet’s autobiography of direct address to poems on any number of subjects, including ‘To the French Language’, ‘To Stammering’, ‘To Piano Lessons’, and ‘To My Heart at The Close of Day’. Playful, wry, humorous and uplifting poetry of the human spirit.


Anthony Wilson Headshot

About Anthony Wilson

Anthony Wilson is a poet, writing tutor, blogger and Senior Lecturer at the Graduate School of Education, University of Exeter. His most recent books are Lifesaving Poems (Bloodaxe, 2015), Riddance (Worple Press, 2012) and Love for Now (Impress Books, 2012).

If you’d like to read any of Anthony’s poems or recommended books, you can order them here.