What is this?

Another probe from the mothership bulldozia.

I thought I liked poetry, but realized I didn’t actually read much of it – or at least didn’t pay it much attention. I could reel off the names of poets and had quite a collection on my shelves, but could hardly quote you a line from memory or explain what gave me pleasure when I picked up a volume or – as I did occasionally – attended a reading.

So, on National Poetry Day (6 Oct, 2011), I made a resolution. About once a month, I will pick one poem that I particularly like and try and say why. And – if appropriate – try to place it in the context of the collection in which it appears, because I think the – my – tendency to find poems in anthologies or Selecteds or Collecteds has made me overlook the integrity of the collection: the one place where the poet has a degree of control over how their work is presented, placing it in a certain order, laid out on the page to give maximum impact.

Apart from sharing enthusiasms, the main purpose of the blog will be to develop, I hope, my fairly rudimentary skills as a close reader of poetry, by forcing me to become much more familiar with the formal devices at the disposal of a poet and the significance of the choices she makes, consciously or otherwise.

There will be new poems and old poems, by poets famous and hardly known. Many of them will be still in copyright, which means I will only be able to quote short passages, interpreting the rules of ‘fair use’ as judiciously as I can.

Postscript (12 June 2012)

Once a month was only a resolution, not a promise.


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