The Super Fun Kids' Graphic Novel Sale

Special Offers see all

Enter to WIN a $100 Credit

Subscribe to
for a chance to win.
Privacy Policy

Visit our stores

    Recently Viewed clear list

    Original Essays | September 21, 2015

    Annie Jacobsen: IMG Mirrors on the Moon: A Reporter's Story about Sources and Secrets in the Modern World

    As a national security reporter, I write about war, weapons, security, and secrets. The question most commonly asked of me is, "How do you get... Continue »
    1. $21.00 Sale Hardcover add to wish list

Qualifying orders ship free.
List price: $18.95
Used Trade Paper
Ships in 1 to 3 days
Add to Wishlist
available for shipping or prepaid pickup only
Available for In-store Pickup
in 7 to 12 days
Qty Store Section
1 Partner Warehouse Reference- Writing

Complete Idiot's Guide To Writing Poetry (01 Edition)


Complete Idiot's Guide To Writing Poetry (01 Edition) Cover


Synopses & Reviews

Please note that used books may not include additional media (study guides, CDs, DVDs, solutions manuals, etc.) as described in the publisher comments.

Publisher Comments:

You’re no idiot, of course. You’ve read poetry that has touched your heart, and you’d like to improve your own writing technique. But even though you have loads of inspiration, you’re discovering that good instruction can be as elusive as a good metaphor.

Don’t let your Muse leave you! With loads of smart advice and helpful exercises, The Complete Idiot’s Guide® to Writing Poetry will help you compose powerful, emotion-packed poems that you can be proud of. In this Complete Idiot’s Guide®, you get:

--Simple explanations of the building blocks of poetry—metaphor, imagery, symbolism, repetition, and more.

--A step-by-step guide to the poetic process—from your first inspiration to your poem’s last stanza.

--Easy-to-follow guidelines for writing sonnets, sestinas, narrative poems, and more!



Even dummies can learn the poetic process and tools of the poet's trade by painting with words, working with imagery, metaphor, repetition, tenor, tone and voice. This volume also discusses meter, rhyme and the different types of poems.


Includes bibliographical references (p. [323]-328) and index.

About the Author

Nikki Moustaki holds an M.A. in creative writing/poetry from New York University and an MFA in the same from Indiana University. She is the recipient of a 2001 National Endowment for the Arts Grant in poetry. Nikki has taught both poetry and fiction writing at New York University and Indiana University, as well as fiction, memoir, and poetry writing at the Gotham Writers' Workshop in New York City. Her publishing credits include Quarterly West, Cream City Review, Alaska Quarterly, TriQuarterly, Spoon River Poetry Review, Many Mountains Moving, PIF Magazine, American Literary Review, Yemassee Review, Madison Review, Berkeley Poetry Review, Cimarron Review, and Yankee Magazine, among others. Nikki hosts the writing Web site, featuring writing services and interviews with contemporary poets. You can e-mail her at for information on upcoming private workshops and poetry critique.

Table of Contents


1. What Is Poetry and How Do I Begin to Write?

Where Does Poetry Come From? Reading and Writing. What Is a Poet? Do You Have to Have Talent to Write Poetry? Why Write Poems? Uses for a Poem. Exercises.
2. Exposing Poetry's Bones: What Poetry Is Made Of.

Rivets and Beams. Nuts 'n' Bolts. Content (What Are You Going to Write About?). Basic Types of Poems. How Do I Put All These Things Together? Exercises.
3. Getting Started (and Over the Fear of Starting!): The Poetic Process.

The Poet's Toolbox. The Blank Page. Great Openings. How to Know If What You Are Writing Is “Good”. Exercises.
4. All Your Words Fit to Print (and Some That Aren't!): Keeping Journals.

What Is Journaling? Types of Journals. The Short Course in Journaling. Extracting Poems from Your Journals. A Poem a Day. Exercises.


5. Painting with Words: Imagery.

No Ideas but in Things. The Five Senses. Painting with Words: How to Create an Image. Exercises.
6. Metaphorically Speaking.

Metaphor. When Good Metaphors Go Bad: Mixed Metaphor. How to Create a Metaphor. Exercises for the Metaphorically Impaired.
7. Repetition, Repetition, Repetition.

Repeating Words. Repeating Phrases and Refrains. Beginning and Ending Repetition. Anaphora. Image and Symbol Repetition. Syntactical Repetition. Metrical Repetition. Sonic Repetition. Exercises.
8. The Sound of Music.

The Music of Poetry. Rhyme. Rhyme Scheme. Alliteration, Assonance, and Consonance. Tone, Voice, and Diction. Meter. Exercises.
9. You've Got Rhythm: Metrical Poetry.

Why Poets Use Meter. What Is Meter? Blank Verse. Accentual and Syllabic Meter. Exercises.


10. Tell Me a Story: Narrative Poetry.

Cause and Effect. Who's the Speaker? Point of View. Dialogue. The Ballad. Exercises.
11. Love and the Great Beyond.

Wooing 101: Love Poems. Death and Grieving. Exercises.
12. The Three Faces of Eve: Persona Poems and Letter Poems.

Persona Poems. The Epistle Poem. Exercises.
13. Spellbinding!: List Poems and Rituals.

Starting with a List…. Rituals. Exercises.
14. Some Fun Fixed Forms.

Sonnets. Villanelle. Sestina. Canzone. Pantoum. Ghazal. Haiku and Tanka. Poems to Dance By. Triolet. Exercises.
15. More Fun Forms.

Acrostic. Ars Poetica. Aubade. Cento. Concrete Poetry and Calligrams. Found Poems. Light Verse. Ode. Pastoral. Prose Poem. Other Fun Forms to Try. Exercises.


16. Cursed Be He Who Stirs My Bones!: Avoiding Poetry Pitfalls.

Using Poetic Conventions. Language Problems. Lack of Focus. Punctuation Problems. Grammar in a Poem? Telling, Not Showing. Musical Matters. Subject Matter Matters. Exercises.
17. How Do You Get to Carnegie Hall?: Revision, Revision, Revision.

Revise Away! Murdering Your Darlings. Why Revise? When Good Poems Go Bad: The Quick Fix. Enough Is Just Enough. The Death of a Poem. A Sample Revision. Exercises.
18. To Slam or Not To Slam?: Reading Your Poetry in Public.

Why Should I Read Poetry in Public? Where to Read. What to Expect at a Reading. Audience Etiquette. Reader Etiquette. Slamming and the Spoken Word. Writing for Listeners. Starting a Reading Series or a Slam. Exercises.
19. Writing in a Vacuum: Workshops, Colonies, Conferences.

What Is a Poetry “Workshop”? Starting a Workshop. Finding Mr. or Mrs. Critic “Right”. Writers' Conferences. Writers' Colonies. The Creative Writing Degree. Exercises.
20. Your Name in Print: Getting Published.

Why Do You Want to Be Published? How to Get Your Poems Published. Paying for Publication. Organizing Your Submissions. An Insider Look at the Acceptance/Rejection Process. Rejection…and More Rejection. The Big Day: Publication! Contests. A First Book. What a Tangled Web We Weave. Exercises.
21. Pen Out of Ink?: Beating Writer's Block.

Exercise #1: I Gotta Use Words When I Talk to You: From Diann Blakely. Exercise #2: A Rose Is Not a Rosa: From Richard Blanco. Exercise #3:

Product Details

Moustaki, Nikki
Alpha Books
Indianapolis, IN
Composition & Creative Writing - Poetry
Composition & Creative Writing - General
Composition & Creative Writing
Poetry -- Authorship.
Edition Description:
Trade Paper
Complete Idiot's Guides (Lifestyle)
Series Volume:
Publication Date:
Grade Level:
from 12
9.07x7.37x.78 in. 1.21 lbs.
Age Level:
from 18

Other books you might like

  1. The Poet's Companion: A Guide to the... Used Trade Paper $10.00
  2. A Kick in the Head: An Everyday... Used Hardcover $9.95
  3. Five Decades, Poems 1925-1970 Used Trade Paper $7.50
  4. In the Language of Kings: An... Used Hardcover $13.50
  5. Little Clay Cart: An English... New Trade Paper $23.75
  6. Folk Hats: 32 Knitting Patterns &... Used Trade Paper $9.50

Related Subjects

Humanities » Literary Criticism » General
Reference » Writing » General
Reference » Writing » Poetry

Complete Idiot's Guide To Writing Poetry (01 Edition) Used Trade Paper
0 stars - 0 reviews
$10.00 In Stock
Product details 368 pages Alpha Books - English 9780028641416 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , Even dummies can learn the poetic process and tools of the poet's trade by painting with words, working with imagery, metaphor, repetition, tenor, tone and voice. This volume also discusses meter, rhyme and the different types of poems.

  • back to top


Powell's City of Books is an independent bookstore in Portland, Oregon, that fills a whole city block with more than a million new, used, and out of print books. Shop those shelves — plus literally millions more books, DVDs, and gifts — here at