Although ostensibly the book is more geared for novelists (and I was using it for instruction on my first novel), there is so much pertinent food for thought for all writers here. This will definitely go into my list of best reads on writing. How many poems, short stories and novels fall flat due to...well, their flatness? Writing guides have talked around this issue forever but Baxter finally takes it on: subtext--not only why it's important but, more interestingly, how you can get it into your work.
This small book is divided into 7 sections:
1. A short introduction about why subtext matters.
2. Staging to give external clues to inner lives; dialogue and why not to say what you're trying to say.
3. Subterranean desires and focusing agents.
4. Aspects of denial and selective attention.
5. Inflection and tonality.
6. The problem of conflict avoidance.
7. The art of describing the face.
Aside from Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott, this book has really helped me conceptualize certain aspects of attacking a novel that have tended to frighten me. I also think there is much to learn here for poets: discussions of tonality and focusing agents, particularly, and what we pay attention to, what we tend to avoid writing about just as much as what we choose to write about.