All across the blogosphere, writers have been celebrating April 2010 by discussing poems and sharing recommendations, including work of their own.
The poetry section of a bookstore can present potential challenges for any reader. More often than not, poetry books are precociously slim, slipping past first glance; it’s far easier to quickly name 10 famous living novelists than 10 famous living poets; and even when you know exactly what you’re looking for, small print runs may have rendered the book unavailable. Despite these occasional pitfalls, people who persist in the hunt tend to become lifelong devotees. I don’t know what provokes such dogged interest in one person and not another, but I’m convinced that finding a good entryway (even if it’s not the front door) is essential. One arresting poet can point the way to at least two others, owing to influence, peer, or predecessor, ad infinitum.
– Beloved librarian Nancy Pearl shares her favorite poets on NPR’s Morning Edition: she also recommends a novel, The Anthologist by Nicholson Baker, for its wonderful poet-narrator:
The voice of narrator Paul Chowder immediately drew me in. He’s a published (but not to such great acclaim) poet who has been hired to compile an anthology called Only Rhyme and to write its introduction as well. The introduction will give him a chance to expound on his belief that rhyme is necessary to poetry, that it, at one time, was a primary part of poetry now sadly lacking in the work of most modern poets. But Paul is totally blocked on writing this, an occurrence that has caused his longtime girlfriend to abandon him. (It seems to me that much of the book we’re reading is the introduction Paul is unable to write.) It was fascinating to read Paul’s explanations of meter and scansion, and especially his pet cause, the importance of rhyme in poetry. But what I really appreciate about Paul is that he loves two of the poets I adore. They’re names you seldom if ever hear mentioned anymore, and you certainly don’t find them anthologized in collections anymore: Sara Teasdale and Howard Moss.
– At the Torontoist‘s Books site, Jacob McArthur Mooney and about twenty other poets have contributed to the Optimisms Project, a series of posts in which poets speak enthusiastically (and intelligently) about the future of poetry. Visit the Torontoist‘s site to read the most recent posts, or read samples by Johanna Skibsrud, Jenna Butler, George Murray, and Sina Queyras.
– Thanks to Erika Dreifus at Practicing Writing, we heard about the Poetry Book Giveaway for National Poetry Month 2010, organized by poet Kelli Russell Agodon (author of the collection Small Knots) at Book of Kells. In this project, fifty participating lit-bloggers are each giving away *two* poetry collections (one of the writer’s own, if relevant, and one s/he would recommend) to readers. To enter a particular blog’s drawing, leave a comment on the relevant post by April 30, 2010.