Bookish Inspiration

What is the best
writing book or advice
you have ever read or received? 

Looking for fresh ideas and inspiration, I recently quizzed my writer-friends with the above question. The responses rushed in. I now have a stack of new material to absorb — and to share:

 Rick Campbell  Florida poet, professor, director of Anhinga Press, and author of Dixmont, suggests:

The Triggering Town by Richard Hugo

"Specifically, I like the idea about the triggering subject giving way to the true subject of the poem," notes Campbell.


 Sage Cohen  Portland Oregon poet, teacher, and author of Writing the Life Poetic, suggests:

Wild Mind by Natalie Goldberg

"A mix of spiritual, practical and inspirational, this book helped me find my way into a sustainable writing practice," says Cohen. 


 Judyth Hill  Mexico-based poet, teacher, and owner of Simple Choice Farm Artist Retreat, shares this advice:

"I hosted a gathering of college poets to meet Joshua Beckman,  a wild-eyed young poet who wrote 20-page poems," explains Hill. "One student asked Joshua if he ever had times he didn’t write while he waited for inspiration. He made the greatest reply I ever heard: I have found that writing is the best way . . . to wait!"

 Mark Thalman  Oregon poet, teacher, and author of Catching the Limitoffers this suggestion for beginning writers:

The Poetry Home Repair Manual by Ted Kooser

"Write about what is uniquely yours and out of that world which only you can create, stake out your territory," advises Thalman.


 Kate Maloy  Oregon Coast fiction writer, and author of Every Last Cuckoo, suggests: 


The Anatomy of Story by John Turby

"Written for screenwriters, so differences need to be kept in mind, but still the best I've seen for novelists as well," says Maloy. "Very detailed and specific about every body part of a story — space/time, premise, key structural steps, character, moral argument, and much more. Excellent writing (or just thinking) exercises." 


 Sean Nevin  Poet, author of Oblivio Gate, and director of Arizona State University's Young Writers Program, suggests:

The Unemployed Fortune-Teller by Charles Simic — for essays 

The War of Art by Steven Pressfield — for quick inspiration 


 Ce Rosenow  Oregon poet, author of Pacific, and publisher of Mountains and Rivers Press, suggests:

Tribe: Meditations of a Haiku Poet by Vincent Tripi

(Note: This book is out of print and difficult to find but worth the search)


 Rhett Iseman Trull  North Carolina poet, and author of The Real Warnings, suggests:

The Triggering Town by Richard Hugo 


I hope these books and ideas ignite your creative life. Have I missed any of your favorites? Let me know!