I've been purchasing some on-sale Great Courses classes on poets and writers. We play them on the way to work in half-hour lectures. Monsieur Big Bang and I have take classes on the transcendentalist writers, Mark Twain, and a good class on America’s best sellers. The C.S. Lewis one we're on now is a bit too preachy and screechy in tone. I wouldn't recommend that one. And warning: once this company gets your email, you'll have to ask them to refrain from sending you one every day. But it's all worth the price if you can get a deal on the mp3 downloads format which are the cheapest.
Did you know there are lots of poetry-related TED Talks? In fact, there are many very valuable non-poetry-related TED talks, too. A friend of mine sent me these two talks this week, two that I think would be particularly useful for the often socially-inept poets at parties.
How to engage in better small talk: This one surely applies to at least a quarter of the poets I have met in workshops and conferences. You know the ones! They ask you a list of variations on “Have you read this book?” This TED talk tells a humorous anecdote about that very question and why you need to move beyond it in social situations.
How to magically connect with anyone is another good talk about basic human needs in communication (of which poetry is one).
Poets hate to talk marketing sometimes but my day-job in marketing and web has led to many great resources for information on communication. You never know where you'll find food for thought.
Social Media Examiner and Marketoonist are very smart blogs for learning about the changing media landscape and the psychology of a consumer and human communication. They're also good to follow if you're ever in the position of marketing your own work. And no matter who your publisher is (or isn't), this applies to you!
Social Media Examiner, for one, might seem overwhelming at first. It helps to take it in baby steps, like one blog post a week or per month. I mean I do this for a living and it feels overwhelming!
But writers should understand the social behind the media. Learn basic concepts of communication and what people's need are. You don’t have to become an expert in every feature from every online media product. That would be a waste of time anyway; they come and go so often.