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Wednesday, October 27, 2004


After reading Tony's complaint about poets who don't read poetry, I thought about how much poetry I read. Not a lot. I do, however, spend approximately one hour a day staring dumbly at advertisements on the subway while trying to forget the fact that there are other people in the universe. I reasoned that I could do without the ad-staring, and devote this period of time to reading poetry. So my new plan is to take a random book of poetry off my shelf and onto the subway with me each day. Yesterday's book was Jorie Graham's "The Dream of the Unified Field."

I hadn't read this one much since college. I leafed through some poems about geese and art. I think this is my problem: I recognize the competence of what I'm reading, but the overall poem leaves me feeling flat. I can feel the poem working its way up to an ending, a crystallization, and when I get there, the crystallization feels pat to me, in that it's just what you would expect and nothing more . . . I feel like there's not enough interference in the poem; it flows straightforwardly toward its predestined conclusion, which conclusion is itself not terribly surprising. That said, back in college I thought the book something of a revelation -- the uneven, raggedy free-verse, and a few poems where the end really is a surprise, and seems a poem in of itself, only tenuously linked to what came before . . . something that made you think, and work. There's one in particular I was thinking of, but all my flipping back and forth couldn't shake it out of the book. So I went back to "Tennessee June" . . . whenever I pick up the book, I drift back to that one. My short attention-span kept me from tackling the middle of book, where the very long poems live.

Today's book is Richard Brautigan's "The Pill vs. The Springhill Mine Disaster." I'll tell you all about it tomorrow.

posted by Reen |link| 0 comments

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