Organized into ten sections with each devoted to a poetic concept, The Practicing Poet begins with "Discovering New Material," "Finding the Best Words," "Making Music," "Working with Sentences and Line Breaks," "Crafting Surprise," and "Achieving Tone." The concepts become progressively more sophisticated, moving on to "Dealing with Feelings," "Transforming Your Poems," and "Rethinking and Revising." The final section, "Publishing Your Book," covers manuscript organization, book promotion, and presentation of a good public reading.
The book includes thirty brief craft essays, each followed by a model poem and analysis of the poem's craft, then a prompt based on the poem. Ten recyclable bonus prompts are also included. Ten Top Tips lists are each loaded with poetry wisdom from an accomplished poet
The Practicing Poet pushes poets beyond the basics and encourages the continued reading, learning, and writing of poetry. It is suitable as a textbook in the classroom, a guidebook in a workshop, or an at-home tutorial for the practicing poet working independently.
The craft essays, poems, and top tips lists include the work of 113 contemporary poets.