I’ve read a little poetry lately. I have a method.
First, I try and alternate, fiction, non-fiction, poetry. In my late twenties I found that I was reading disproportionately more non-fiction all of a sudden. I’m told this happens as one ages. Reading fiction is important. I feel better when I keep everything in the rotation.
Second, I endeavor to read poetry the same way I read everything else. I got this idea from someone on On Being. I don’t study it. I just read it.
Third, I go to the library. There is a small one two blocks from my house. This fact was not irrelevant to the choice of purchasing said house. I go to the small shelf which is the poetry shelf. I browse. I pick out a book. I take it home. They are often short.
Fourth, I try to honor my tastes, within a reasonable perimeter of self-challenge. I like Mary Oliver, Jim Harrison, Richard Brautigan, Gary Snyder. More to come, in this space, about Ray Gonzalez.
Fifth, I try and let go of the desire for logic. Because I read poetry like I read everything else, and because poetry is made of words, it’s easy to feel like I’m reading rhetoric. But I’m not. A poem has no thesis. Or at least it doesn’t need one. I try to allow logic to spread out, soften, liquify, seep across boundary lines. I try to think laterally, if at all.
10 Best of 2014
January: Wyoming and the Open
February: New Mexico and the Holes
Notes on The Accounts