I rather fancy getting Stephen Fry's introduction to poetry, The Ode Less Travelled.
From David Orr's review in the New York Times:
So why does “The Ode Less Travelled” work when many books with more responsible titles have failed? To begin, Fry avoids the poetry-as-metaphor trap. He does so by acknowledging upfront what anyone who’s ever taught poetry to a nonspecialist audience will recognize as The Fear. This is, in Fry’s words, the general reader’s sense that “poetry lies in inaccessible marshland: no pathways, no signposts, just the skeletons of long-dead poets poking through the bog and the unedifying sight of living ones floundering about in apparent confusion and mutual enmity. Behind it all, the dread memory of classrooms swollen into resentful silence while the English teacher invites us to ‘respond’ to a poem.”
It's no good. I can't resist. Just one more wafer-thin mint ...