Thursday, May 26, 2011

Poets: Read Small Press Poetry

You could be reading
one of these!
I love small press poetry.

You will find me continuing to feature poems that I like from the small presses. I do this because I really enjoy the challenge of investigating a poem, and because I want you to know that poems are worth reading and should be read. I want to spread the love. Subscribe to a small press journal; if you can't, check them out in your local library. They're passionate about what they do and they're certainly not in it for the money.

Not me, but I like her style.
If you are are an aspiring poet, the number one thing you should do regularly from this point on is read poetry. There are a striking number of poets who want to be good at their craft who don't read poems. What is up with that? Can you imagine trying to write a novel and not reading novels? Believe me, there is something for everyone out there in the world of poetry. Just breeze through the archives of this blog and you'll figure that out pretty quickly.

If you want to write poetry, go to your bookstore and browse through the poetry section. Choose two or three poets who resonate with you and buy them. Take them home, skim the books, and put post-its on the poems that get your attention. It doesn't matter if you "get" the poem or not--it could be just a fantastic image that got your attention. Now choose three of those marked poems and study them. Read them; discover if there is a recognizable meter or rhyme scheme; notice where the poet places the line breaks; take note of how verbs and nouns are used, and how effective or necessary the adjectives are. Mark the spot where the poem turns and comes full circle, and think about why this is. Why do you connect with it? Why is it true? Why does it work?

This + poetry =
literary bliss
Something else to do, which works for anyone who wants to read poetry, is get a copy of Czeslaw Milosz's A Book of Luminous Things. At the end of the day, turn off your computer and TV, make yourself a nice cocktail or cup of tea, sitdown with this book, and read a few poems at random. This is my favorite collection and the choices are stunning. If you're looking for a starting point, this just might do it.

Discover what turns you on, then find a small press that does that for you. Then write something awesome and submit it. Become a part of this awesome and wondrous community of poetry.


Photos by Lucretious, arinas74, and turbidity


Holly Day said... is my blog about the being a small press poet in the 80s and 90s.

Poetry of the Day said...

what kind of drink is that?
Mobile Poetry

Amy said...

Looks like a tradition champagne cocktail--champagne, sugar, bitters, and a twist

Amy said...

*Traditional, that is.