I've always thought that access to good, general-purpose anthologies are among the most valuable tools for anyone interested in learning to write poetry. In no small part because of their ability to introduce the reader to the broad range of types, styles and sources of this immense topic.
Here are some of my favorites.
The Norton Anthology of English Poetry
Of all the books on this page, I think this is the one book that anyone serious about learning how to write poetry in English is required to have.
On should, of course, own or have access to other appropriate books, but this is the place to start.
(I'll note that there have editions of The Anthology over the years. I still have --and regularly use-- my ancient 1st (yellow-cover) edition which I bought way back in my school days.)
How to Read a Poem: And Fall in Love with Poetry : Edward Hirsch, Harvest Books, 2000.
Hirsch's wonderful book is not actually an anthology.
However, in addition to containing an enormous amount of excellent, insightful information, it also introduces the reader to an enormous and broad range of poet's and their work.
Poet's Choice : Edward Hirsch, Mariner Books, 2007.
Likewise, this book is not, strictly speaking, and anthology.
However, it contains a large number of short chapters on various poets and categories of poetry.
Poetry 180: A Turning Back to Poetry : Billy Collins ed, Random House, 2003.
180 More: Extraordinary Poems for Every Day : Billy Collins ed, Random House, 2005.
Good Poems : Garrison Keillor ed, Penguin Books, 2003.
Good Poems for Hard Times : Garrison Keillor ed, Penguin Books, 2006.
Good Poems, American Places : Garrison Keillor, Penguin Books, 2012.
Very useful, and accessible, collections of (primarily modern) Poetry in English.
(Moreover, for anyone looking for general contemporary introduction to American/English poetry, it's hard to think of a better place to start than these deservedly popular anthologies.)
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