Saturday, March 7, 2009

What I'm Reading: Poetry March 2009 & New Orleans Review 34.2

Spring is in the process here, which means a return to reading poetry on the back deck, albeit a blustery back deck today. I ended up reading lines of poetry as seen through the tips of my hair as it whipped across my glasses. Still 73 degrees is nothing to laugh at in March.

This month's copy of Poetry brings with it the usual hit or miss for me. I've been following the blogs on negative reviews this week and then found Jason Guriel's thoughts on the subject in his preface to his reviews. An idea that began to gather density while I was at AWP has been gaining mass this week. I'm sure it's not a stunner to anyone who knows me: I am not a critic.

This used to bother me. I suppose, somewhere in the MFA gaining process I formed the idea that it wasn't enough to write poetry, that I also needed to be a critic. I really can't put my finger on why I decided this. In any case, I'm clearer now on what/who I want to be, and that is a poet who reads poetry and shares what she likes with others in a conversational and informal way. So be it.

Back to Poetry: The hits for me this month are: Leslie Williams' poems "Fox in the Landscape" and "In Me as the Swans" along with Dave Lucas' "Lines for Winter" and Katy Didden's "At Chartres." I also loved the notebook entry from Fanny Howe, which turns out to be un-summarizable.

The copy of New Orleans Review 34.2 is from my pile of AWP books and journals. I started reading it on the plane and stumbled across the poem "First the Bats, Then the Stars" by colleague and friend, Angie Macri. Today the poems that leapt out were Kevin Prufer's "Late Empires," the seven poems of Nicky Beer in the Poetry Feature, Jennifer Whitaker's "Father as Map of the World" and "Father as Barred Owl," and Stefanie Wortman's "The Transparent Fabulist."

A great morning of reading under the belt, I'm now waiting for the Cubs/Brewers pre-season game that is supposed to air on WGN. 30 days, 4 hours, 29 minutes until Opening Day 2009!

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