Should you read every poem in a book back to back in one sitting? Should you read more than one book at a time this way? Interesting riffing on how to read poems. Personally, if I didn’t books and poems read back to back, I’d never get through the stack that’s building daily on my desk. Keep them coming though, I loves ‘em.
Is there a proper way to read a volume of poetry? The question has vexed generations of readers since at least the publication of the Lyrical Ballads, and will continue to do so as long as Carcanet and Bloodaxe keep obliging us.
Reading a poetry book from cover to cover, with breaks every dozen or so, as though one were taking in another couple of chapters of a novel, just feels wrong. Dipping into a cherished volume for the odd one can be richly rewarding – I can’t be the only devotee who does this at intervals with The Whitsun Weddings, The Colossus, early Hughes. But how to read a new volume?
Regardless of what I thought of this, he had me at the word “Ashbery”.