An 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.