Monday, February 20, 2012

Alighieri to Zukofsky

Recently I posted my experience of reading Tolstoy and the Purple Chair, about a reading marathon involving a book a day. And I nixed that idea for myself, while remaining impressed with Nina Sankovitch's courage and determination. She was reading to deal with grief. I read to deal with boredom, restlessness, stress, and challenge. I've almost finished Bill Moyers' The Language of Life: A Festival of Poets, in which I keep noticing that what other writers say about their work jump starts my own writing. And makes me thirsty for deep drinks of poetry, makes me want to know far more than I do. So here's my challenge to myself, and it's so simple I don't know why I haven't done it before. I want to read/reread every book on my poetry shelf. And, like Sankovitch, comment on what I've read. I had to do this sort of response in poetry school, so why not refresh those skills and teach myself about the books I thought enough of to give precious shelf space?

This won't be the first time I've reminded myself how much I have yet to learn about poetry. It won't be the first or last time I tell myself that it's cowardly to hide out in my beloved mystery stories and fluffy non-fiction. It will supplant my goal of reading every book I have myself listed in Feed: Reading Lists for Those Who Eat. (That's my latest publication, soon to be available on Amazon.) But I want/need a break from food lit. I now want, as Mark Strand says, to eat poetry. I want to feast on the tasty truth that poetry provides.

No comments: