Writing Nag is a pseudonym of blogger Patricia Biro. She writes about home, finance, creative writing, and vintage collectibles.
What Should You Get for an Aspiring Poet or Writer?
Generally speaking, poets appreciate art and beauty, so any gift that is aesthetically pleasing will most likely be adored. Often, however, people who don't read or write verse wonder, "What is the best present to give to someone who loves poetry?"
While there is no one perfect gift for a poet, you can make a more thoughtful choice by reviewing some of the suggestions below. Whether the recipient is a published veteran of the craft or an eager amateur just beginning their creative career, there's sure to be something perfect for their taste and your budget in the list below.
10 Perfect Presents for a Poet
The 10 items below are some of my favorite things to give fellow language lovers. Which of these ideas stands out to you? What is your favorite poetry present to gift?
1. Poet’s Market: The Most Trusted Guide for Publishing Poetry
Coined, “The most trusted guide for publishing poetry," this yearly guide is full of inspirational craft and business articles, how-to tutorials, lists of conferences, grant opportunities, and of course, invaluable listings for poetry contests and submissions.
Poet's Market is my top choice for both aspiring and already-published poets. For anyone looking to take the craft seriously, get published, or bring their work to the next level, this comprehensive resource is a must.
2. A Blank Journal or Notebook
Every writer and poet I know has dozens of these, but they are always a welcome gift. You can choose from Moleskine classic notebooks, small pocket journals, handcrafted leather journals, or other varieties. You can also look for one that has a graphic on the cover that represents something the writer loves (e.g., travel, music, the outdoors, etc.).
Trust me—no writer can ever have enough notebooks. I know many who like to keep their work separated by theme or idea and use different journals for different purposes. Nothing excites them more than a new, blank literary canvas ready to be explored by their pen.
3. A Book on Writing or the Craft of Poetry
There are many fine books on writing poetry. Each new year brings many new voices on how to challenge your creativity. The following titles are some of my favorites, but feel free to do some research and venture outside of this list.
- Writing Poetry from the Inside Out: Finding Your Voice Through the Craft of Poetry by Sandford Lyne
- Broken Lines: The Art and Craft of Poetry by Judith Skillman
- The Poetry Home Repair Manual: Practical Advice for Beginning Poets by Ted Kooser
- A Poetry Handbook by Mary Oliver
- The Poet's Companion: A Guide to the Pleasures of Writing Poetry by Kim Addonizio and Dorianne Laux
- Poemcrazy: Freeing Your Life With Words by Susan Woolridge (my favorite title for new poets)
4. A Fountain Pen
Fountain pens range from $10 on the low end to hundreds of dollars on the higher end, and the colors, designs, and brand options are virtually endless. You can choose a classic, vintage fountain pen, or, if your budget allows, a luxury one. Either way, the poet will think of you every time they use their writing instrument.
While many writers have gone digital and primarily use laptops to draft their ideas, many poets still love the old-fashioned look and feel of handwriting on a paper page, and nothing captures this romantic sentiment better than an old-fashioned fountain pen.
5. A Vintage Edition of a Poetry Collection
Peruse vintage book websites to look for unique editions from your poet's favorite author or genre. Depending on your budget, you may be able to find something truly unique. As mentioned above, most poets love the nostalgia of the craft and adore older volumes with the look, feel, and smell of the past.
6. An Anthology
Anthologies typically include poems from a variety of authors curated by a specific compiler. The following are some of my favorites, but feel free to do your own research and find something that you think would delight your recipient.
- The Best American Poetry (Insert Year Here) by editors David Lehman and Paisley Rekdal
- Best New Poets by editors Cate Marvin and Jeb Livingwood
Anthologies are a good way to introduce a poet to their community and make them aware of what's being published and applauded.
7. A First Edition
For many, first editions may be prohibitively costly, but if you can swing it, it will be much loved and appreciated. First editions of well-known works are unique, rare, and highly coveted by enthusiasts. If the occasion warrants a breathtaking gift (think college graduation or having a poem published for the first time) and your budget can take it, do some research and see what's available.
8. A Subscription to Poetry Periodical
Subscriptions are gifts that keep on giving (usually either monthly or quarterly) and provide new works to read, helpful advice, articles, peer support, and more. The following are a few of my favorites.
- Poets and Writers
- Poetry Magazine
- Writer's Digest
- The Writer
9. A Local Workshop or Session With a Writing Coach
Try reaching out to local writers to find out what's available in your local poetry community. Aspiring poets can benefit greatly from the wisdom and advice of others in their field, and attending workshops is also a great way to network and meet other like-minded individuals.
10. A Magnetic Poetry Kit
Poet or not, we've all had fun playing around with fridge-magnet poetry kits. Despite being a little silly, poetry magnet sets are a fun way to open someone up to casual wordplay. Many kits are available online, and some even come with themed word selections.
More Thoughtful and Creative Gift Ideas
The fun, inexpensive presents in this section can be customized or enhanced by thinking creatively. Explore these ideas and feel free to combine and adapt them to suit the taste of your recipient.
Simple, Low-Cost Gifts
- A favorite poem or verse typewritten in a low-priced frame
- A small gift of your choosing wrapped in vintage dictionary pages
- An offer of housesitting or childcare so the poet can get some quiet time away
- An offer to accompany them to a writer's conference or class for moral support
Writing Desk Accessories
- Vintage typewriters (usable or not)
- Stationary trays
- Antique ink bottles
- Leather desk tools
- Vintage pens or pencils
Note: Many of these can be found (sometimes very inexpensively) at flea markets, online auction houses, or garage sales.
- Handmade paper
- Woodless mechanical graphite pencils
- Engraved quote pens or jewelry
- A biography of their favorite writer
- Typewriter-key jewelry
- Five-year memory books
- A mug with poetry on it presented with coffee or tea
I'd Love to Hear Your Feedback!
Do you have a partner, friend, or family member who loves to write and read verse? If you have a writer or bibliophile in your life (or you are one yourself), please comment below with your thoughts on the ideas above and feel free to share gift suggestions of your own.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
Questions & Answers
Question: What's the best craft book for a beginning poet?
Answer: There are many good books on the craft of poetry. One of my favorites for a beginning poet is "Writing Poetry from the Inside Out: Finding Your Voice Through the Craft of Poetry" by Sandford Lyne.
© 2011 Writing Nag
Leave a comment.
Mark Tulin from Santa Barbara, California on December 17, 2017:
love this ! Good gift ideas for myself.
Sheilamarie from British Columbia on August 12, 2014:
These are some great suggestions. I especially like the idea of wrapping up some poetry books with a ribbon.
Colin323 on June 02, 2014:
A case of Californian wine; great for loosening the creative knots in your head (well, mine anyway).
Maggie Crooks from Purgitsville, WV on February 16, 2014:
Fountain pens are a wonderful gift. I haven't written with one since before ballpoints, but I remember how it felt. Nothing is as comfortable and emotive as a fountain pen.
John Dyhouse from UK on February 03, 2014:
A few neat things I wouldn't mind receiving
Giovanna from UK on January 12, 2014:
My friend is a poet and I think she's due a gift. Thanks for the lovely suggestions - I'm sure she'd love a nice fountain pen.
Giovanna from UK on December 08, 2013:
I love fountain pens - I already have one, and my son writes with one at school! You have some beautiful ones here.
Margaret Schindel from Massachusetts on December 07, 2013:
These are wonderful gift suggestions to give to poets! I especially love the Cavallini vintage office supplies. I'm not a poet but I am a writer and would love to find some of them, or one of the beautiful fountain pens, under the tree. :)
lauriem05 on December 04, 2013:
Haikubes game (about $22 on amazon) looks really fun. Just got it for my daughter who loves to write poetry. Seems like something one would enjoy solo, even without "playing" the game.
lesliesinclair on November 27, 2013:
I'd like some of the pens. I do miss using fountain pens.
Renaissance Woman from Colorado on November 03, 2013:
I would love any of these gifts. Great choices!
ChristyZ on October 14, 2013:
I'm a poet and would appreciate any of these gifts. I get excited whenever anyone gives me a special pen, lol. :)
Erin Mellor from Europe on October 09, 2013:
My poet really values a little time and space to write, so taking over all the chores for a day and giving him free time to write without being disturbed or feeling any pressure to do anything else is a brilliant gift - and it's free.
NoProblemmo on September 23, 2013:
A vintage pen is always welcome at the poets I am familiar with and I can say a good book will always do the trick, if you know what 'your' poet likes.
Nancy Carol Brown Hardin from Las Vegas, NV on September 08, 2013:
I have a good friend who is a poet, so these ideas really come in handy for me. Thanks for sharing.
anonymous on August 19, 2013:
Another great gift for poets: "Writers write. Poets pote" tee shirts at www.pinkapostrophe.com/shop/ they have them there!
Deborah Carr from Orange County, California on June 24, 2013:
These are great gift ideas for poets. I also show them how to put their poems on internet writing sites so that they can share them with others and maybe even make a little money, too!
Writing Nag (author) from Colorado Springs, Colorado on May 23, 2013:
@BarbsSpot: Thanks! that is a great idea and one I didn't think of.
BarbsSpot on April 28, 2013:
@Lensmaster...I think any aspiring poet could benefit from the book "The Complete Rhyming Dictionary". It can jump-start your rhymes, if that's your poetic choice, based on how one, two, and three syllables sound. Neat Lens!
anonymous on January 03, 2013:
Great ideas here! I wish more people would take the time to understand what poets would like to be gifted. Usually, poets have a very specific gift-list. Thanks for sharing!
cmadden on December 31, 2012:
Beautiful fountain pens, and I rather like the Celtic journal as well!
AntonioM23 on December 27, 2012:
I really like this vintage pens
Rockbleeder on December 23, 2012:
Yehey! I also have a wishlist but I only have 5 items in my list. I hope you can check it out :)
Mary Norton from Ontario, Canada on December 01, 2012:
Like all the ones you have listed here.
Aunt-Mollie on November 10, 2012:
As a poet, you've chosen some creative gifts that any poet would adore. Liked!
TransplantedSoul on September 09, 2012:
To gift or not to gift?.. that is the question... Whether it is nobler in the.....
yayas on February 08, 2012:
I love all 10 gifts for a poet that you have listed. I've written a lot of poetry an' the tools I use often contribute to my sense of creativity.
Thank you so much for visiting my Scavenger Hunt In My Grandmother's Attic an' What is a Balloon Christmas pages an' Blessing them. I really do appreciate your support. Thanks.
Kim from Yonkers, NY on February 04, 2012:
a Magnetic Poetry kit (helps with inspiration)
Book on their favorite poet,
Make a Scrapbook of their poems (if they'd give you at leat 20 of their poems, this is something I would personally love for someone to make me) as I somewhat illustrate my poems with cool fonts that seem to 'fit' with what its about.
a Fountain Pen (particuallarly Broad tipped)
Laraine Sims from Lake Country, B.C. on January 02, 2012:
I think your idea of a journal is a really good one. Something that they can take with them and have handy for when a poem assails them. Blessings.