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Read poetry and read about poetry.

Read the works of other poets, not just the good ones and classics such as works by Shakespeare, Marvell, Keats, Yeats, Robert Burns and such, but also the works of lesser poets and songwriters. Look at both older and modern works. Check out the poetry of Bruce Springsteen and Dave Carter. Let your experience grow through looking at what works and what lasts. What makes some of the poetry good or great, while other works are mere doggerel? Which category is your own poetry in? Can you learn anything from other poets? The wider your exposure, the more you are likely to learn.

There are some places to go to get a real handle on poetry. Many books are available that will allow you to learn the basics and fundamentals as well as many other devices and tools for the poet.

Reference Librarian-Reference librarians might not know everything, but they do know the best ways to go about finding out whatever you need to know. Go to the library and ask. You are more likely to find good reference materials on poetry at a university or large city libraries.

Encyclopedia of Poetry-Princeton has one that they call The New Princeton Encyclopedia of Poetry and Poetics. There may be other such books put out by other university presses, but if so, they are neither as famous nor as ubiquitous.

Other Books-The Oxford Companion to the English Language is a fascinating book with more defined information about many of the poetic forms and ideas that we will cover. It's a wonderful book to get lost in.

In most bookstores, one can find a section on writing and a section of poetry. A good bookstore will have at least a shelf full of books talking about poetry. Likewise, Amazon.com and other on-line booksellers have many books available with poetry theory and ideas.

The time invested in reading about poetry and reading and analyzing the poetry of others will be time well invested for any poet.

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