reading revival: a poetry book blog

reading revival is devoted to promoting australian poetry books and related discussion through reading one book - firstly, duty by geraldine mckenzie. i will choose a new book roughly every 3 months

Thursday, May 11, 2006

the question of how we write about poetry is related to how we talk about poetry. do we talk about poetry as such? many times ive met poets whose work interests me, & realised later that we didnt talk of poetry at all - but the poetry world. critical articles seem to generate more discussion than poems. its not the age of criticism any longer, but its still easier to talk about criticism. randall jarrell goes into this in some detail. i think this is partly because i mostly read critical pieces in journals, & though i read poems in journals too, i dont appreciate them there as much as i do in books (i think?) in a book i am taking time - if not with a particular poem, with a poet & its rare to find someone reading the same books of poetry at the same time as me .. i am reading duty now with all of you! .. & yet theres a tendency (on this blog) for me to write more about the criticism of duty than duty itself. i havent really learned how to talk about poetry. when offered the opportunity by someone who can, i falter, i have no memory, i dont have depth, i have perhaps a perfunctory judgment to make. i am fascinated by the poetry world but i do read poetry all the time. i mean several times a day. at the moment im actively reading about 15 different books, & maybe i should stick to duty a bit more. wouldnt critical writing be so much easier if it came out of our conversation? another factor is that i talk obsessively about aspects of poetry with poets because it seems difficult to do so with others - people who are happy to talk about many other different arts - were back at jarrells cocktail parties here - blogs of course create a conversation - & people are interested in blogs as a conversation topic - well some people - i guess im more the obsessive rather than objective cultural type - which is dying out faster? - the blog generation - in at least 2 senses of 'generation' is an effect of a lack - but could be a parallel action - im interested to read about others experiences of & thoughts on talking about poetry (with non-tax people).


At 8:24 AM, Blogger michaelf said...

via email from richard l:

i agree that it is easier to discuss criticism rather than poems, but i read poems and not a whole lot of theory, and i think of poems, and poets, all the time, and read always, online and print. lately, most of my reading has been online journals and blogs since there are several poets i'm interested in that have not published a trade paperback. but i do have several books going at once, and usually reread at least once a day.

At 1:27 PM, Blogger derek said...

seems to me lots of people (me too maybe) tend to class themselves as 'into' poetry, or 'not into'. therefore when you find yourself in a dialogue about poetry with someone who is 'not' (this most often happens to me meeting people or being reunited - "oh, what do you do with yourself?"; "so, what have you been up to?" etc) they can deliberately tune out / feign a shallow interest.

i have also found myself in futile arguments before, where stuff was put to me like 'taste is relative', 'how can you say what i like is bad'...and i perhaps attempted to take the side of literature eg. 'we can study it; we can make it better!'...

writing & reading seems to be simply one decision, and you can't talk much about it with someone who hasn't made a similar decision. even then its confusing whether youre 'about it'. & that can be fun. anyway im in too deep now.

At 6:35 AM, Blogger michaelf said...

like this derek: 'writing & reading seems to be simply one decision, and you can't talk much about it with someone who hasn't made a similar decision' .. tho i think of those situations (in the abstract i mean: im usually not that good on my feet) as challenges .. perhaps u cd say - lets read something together - if theres a poetry book where u are - or if u meet them again - it wd be interesting to read something simultaneously with someone (aloud?) in a social context with the issue of taste in mind .. different to reading a poem in class together ..


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