One of the first guides to poetry I read (outside of school) was The Poet's Companion by Kim Addonizio and Dorianne Laux. After all these years, I still remember that it was a great book that helped me get going in poetry. Recently, I received the book from Paperback Swap and started reading it again.
At the end of each chapter are a list of questions/exercises to get you thinking about poetry. The authors call these, Ideas for Writing. Lots of 'guide' books use this technique, and I think it's a great one.
The exercise I chose to do last night was about writing an instructional poem. Take the steps to something you know how to do and turn it into a poem. I've felt like I'm missing something in my poetry lately, I'm not opening up the poem. So this exercise is a great one to work with.
I've got the steps down but I don't think I'm conveying the emotion I'm looking for yet. I feel it, because I'm writing it, but I'm going to have to let it sit for a day or two and reread it.
Do you have any exercises to ease you into writing? How do you open up a poem?