The plan

National Poetry Month logoAn exercise in close reading: that’s what I’m planning this year. I’m going to try reading a book of poetry a day, first thing in the morning after I come in off the porch, instead of just the usual half-dozen poems. And then I want to try writing about it: about the book, about the reading experience, or about whatever thoughts or memories it might shake loose. And because I do believe in the value of what John Miedema calls slow reading, these books will probably tend to be pretty short, though I have found that with the right level of concentration, it’s possible to read fifty or more lyric poems in one hour.

Why am I doing it? Three reasons, I guess. First, I love poetry books, and I feel I haven’t devoted nearly enough space to celebrating them here. I’ve been trapped in pre-conceived and rather boring notions of how to write about books, I think, and I’m hoping to break out of that.

Second, I’m curious about what a month-long immersion in poetry reading will do to me. Will it be mind-altering? Almost certainly. Will it change the way I read poetry? Maybe. Will it prove to be an overdose, and send me rushing naked and screaming into the streets? Well, let’s hope not.

Third, I do want to be part of the whole poetry month thing, and share a bit of fellowship with other poetry bloggers. But I’ve always had a hard time joining group activities, so if everyone else is writing poetry every day, I have to be reading it. I do hope to make time for reading the new poems that will be appearing on other people’s blogs, too, though. And maybe even writing a few of my own.

12 Comments


  1. This is a great idea Dave! I might try to adapt it to my NaPoWriMo madness. I’ll bet it will help! And I love that you chose something else, your own thing, to do!

    PS: Thanks for putting me on the Smorgasblog!

    Reply

    1. No problem, Jill. I’m grateful to you for posting drafts on the open web, though I realize other online poets have good reasons for password-protecting things.

      Happy April! May it be a productive one for all of us.

      Reply

  2. 50 poems in an hour?

    blink.

    wow. no way could I ever do that.

    Reply

    1. The trick is to keep my mind from wandering. I just read Rosenberg’s 95-page book in an hour and a half, and managed to stay pretty attentive.

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  3. maybe we shouldn’t worry? maybe there aren’t a lot of streets in plummer’s hollow? :)

    it is a great idea. i’m going to do this. but not this month. maybe may. maybe june. great great great!!!

    Reply

    1. Four days into it, it’s a pretty satisfying way to blog so far.

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    1. I tried quoting you once here at Via Negativa, and you left a hostile comment informing me I had no right to use your words without your permission. So much as I do admire your work and your willingness to distribute it for free, I’m afraid I won’t be blogging it anytime soon.

      Reply


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