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Top Reads for Poetry and Lyrics Writers

Updated on July 20, 2012

These are my favourite recommendations for writers looking for help with poetry and lyrics writing.

How to Write a Hit Song : The Complete Guide to Writing and Marketing Chart-Topping Lyrics and Music

by Molly-Ann Leikin

Trying to come up a hit song? Consider doing this exercise. First, you pick a topic, any topic about which you want to write a song. Next, you write down 50 questions about this subject. The theory is that this will make the whole writing process much easier. The author, Molly-Ann Leikin suggests this will make writing lyrics a simpler task for those who are trying to create a song. Other exercises appear in the book. They all suggest methods through which you can create that hit tune. All are simple and direct. If you already have an idea, this book can still help you. It will guide you from the idea through to the final on air product. Included in this book are sections on such things as the writing process, how to create lyrics as well as melody, song structure, locating a publisher and even recording the material. Want your musical voice heard? Get this book.

The Poet’s Companion: A Guide to the Pleasures of Writing Poetry

by Kim Addonizio, Dorianne Laux

If you are writing poetry, you will find this book of use. It little matters whether you are already a poet by trade or are simply writing for your own enjoyment. The authors, Kim Addonizio and Dorianne Laux are there to provide you with options. They do not want you to create cookie-cutter verses. They are interested in all poets finding their own voice and expressing it accordingly. As the creators and facilitators of many workshops, the authors are more than aware of what exercises work. They have applied them fruitfully in classes. From finding where inspiration may lie to how to defeat that dreadful bane of all writers – writer’s block, this book covers it all. They leave out nothing. Electronic resources and even marketing tips find their place in this thought provoking and thorough book. Will it help you formulate and record better poetry? Your best bet is to buy it and see.

Poetry Matters: Writing a Poem from the Inside Out

by Ralph Fletcher

There are two basic approaches adopted by books to help you become more than an adequate poet. One method is to address issues of writing such as grammar and structure; the other is to look within, locate your inner voice and let it speak. To the author, Ralph Fletcher, poetry is a pure being of the heart and soul. Rather than squash like a bug this aspect found in many young writers, Fletcher encourages it. Rather than box young writers in with rules, regulations and conformity, this book encourages them to look within and bring out the power of poetry they find there. As a result, this book is not analytical. It is about realizing and then unleashing the potential poet found within. This approach refers to poetry as “emotional x-rays” and considers it part and parcel of the growing process. The author has provided a guide that works to reach out to young writers and help them abandon the fear of placing his or heart onto paper and bare his soul to the world.

Songwriting: Essential Guide to Lyric Form and Structure : Tools and Techniques for Writing Better Lyrics (Songwriting Guides)

When you hear a song, you are listening to something that is a complete package. It is not just the lyrics. It is more than simple poetry. To get the right song, a songwriter must know how to write lyrics that flow and move the listener. It is very much an oral medium where sound combines with melody and words top create something unique. The author, Pat Pattison is your guide through the musical maze. The book starts off by introducing you to and discussing the basics. The main focus is lyrical structure. Exercises reinforce the main message taught in this section. Slowly and completely, the book takes you through the necessary components of songwriting. Due respect and time is granted to structure, placement and timing. Pattison works to guide you through the mine field of clichés, idioms and other tired, overused and even mundane phrases, expressions and words. Impact is also explained – the true impact of a song and how to achieve the most from this facet. Want to take off the rough edges of your expected top 10 Hit, get this book and compose onwards.

How to Write Songs on Guitar: A Guitar-Playing and Songwriting Course

by Rikky Rooksby

The guitar. It has long been a favourite of composers and musicians alike. In the past and present, the guitar has been a popular tool to express feelings. The first notes of a song, the first time a verse pops up on the radar, it is often because someone plays a guitar. For some musicians and composers, the only instrument for such expressions is the classical guitar. Its special tone is capable of providing the basis for many musical compositions. This book plays to these two facets of the relationship. It provides you with the very foundation for songwriting. It also teaches you how to play the guitar. Simple techniques of instruction apply to both the guitar and the song lyrics. To help you with the process are references to more than 1400 popular songs. This helps you to relate to the music and the advice. If you ever have wanted to take up songwriting and learn the guitar, this book helps you learn about and combine the best of both.

Writing Poems, Sixth Edition

by Michelle Boisseau, Robert Wallace

In the eyes of most readers, poets and dreamers are tied together by inspiration. This may be a valid point in some cases. It does not, necessarily, make you a poet. No matter how inner the poetic eye, no matter how deeply you express your innermost feeling on the page, it is essential you at least understand the mechanics of writing poetry. Mastering all aspects will, if not make you a poet, will help you to write better poetry. To accomplish this, consider what this book offers you. It looks at such essential aspects as imagery and lineation, part of the technical side of writing poetry. A positive component of this book is the choice of examples. Rather than rely on the tried-and-true ancient poetry from the past, the authors have turned to modern work. Most examples cited are the product of the last 20 years. Whether you want to use this as a classrrom text or as part of your own reference works, you will welcome it as a very useful addition.

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