Tuesday, October 6, 2015
Reading poetry is a ruminative activity. Instead of being absorbed for hours in the reading of a continuous narrative, you read very short texts over and over again and then think about them for a long time. To read (really read) vast quantities of poetry is guaranteed to make you somewhat insane, since it invites solitary rumination. In my case, I am often reading three or four books of poetry at a time. Sometimes I read through a book in one sitting, or a few sittings. At other times, I'll read a few poems a day from a book. There seems to be a contradiction between the concentration required to even read a few poems well, and my desire to have read and to be constantly re-reading every significant poet in great depth. I am now the only poetry specialist in my department, so the effects of isolation are even greater.