Practice makes poems

Between writing groups and summer camps, I'm in the thick of word games and writing practice. 

I love writing exercises. Prompts stretch my creative muscle and rev up my writing. Fortunately, the world is full of writing books. My shelves are lined with inspiration but there's a handful of favorites I turn to again and again. Here are my top picks: 

by Susan Wooldridge

This book rings with joyful ideas, whimsy and pluck. Best of all, Wooldridge mixes practicality with possibility. I have used her suggestions for years. Kids love creating Word Tickets for the Word Pool. And when my writing feels dulled and lazy, poemcrazy restores my love of words. 




Writing Down the Bones
by Natalie Goldberg

The classic how-to on freewriting. My friend Valerie gave me this book years ago, long before I thought I could or would ever be a 'real' writer, and I am forever grateful to enter the world of wild mind writing. I've bought this book 10 times over because I keep giving it away. 




The Practice of Poetry 
by Robin Behn & Chase Twichell

Packed with writing exercises from poets who teach. I've had the book for years and still haven't worked through all of the prompts. It's been carted through the desert, dropped in the bathtub, and has yellowed in the sun — and still holds its value. And it's not just for poets; Many of the prompts can be easily applied to fiction writing.  


What have I missed?
When you need a prompt or a boost, what books lead the way?