18 abr. 2008


*Antonio Gamoneda. Arden las pérdidas. 2003. 124 pp.

I'm starring the entries that are going to be eligible for the 100 best books of poetry of all time award at the end of the process. This book is not quite as briliant as Libro del frío, in part because it repeats Libro del frío a little too much. Still, it's Gamoneda and can stand up on its own.

"La memoria es mortal. Algunas tardes, Billie Holiday pone su rosa enferma en mis oídos."



I read this guy's blog who was talking about how he had learned so much from reading 50 books of poetry and poetry criticism over the past 15 months in his MFA program. So you're in an MFA program and you're reading maybe 3 or 4 books a month? You don't have to be a maniac like I am, but I would think someone studying poetry would read maybe 20 volumes of poetry a month on average just by virtue of being in that milieu and getting word of mouth recommendations from friends, etc...

4 comentarios:

jane dijo...

Far be it from me to stand up for the reading habits of MFA students — I've seen too much to feel sanguine about same. That said, I'll cheerfully defend reading 3-4 books of poems/month. There are lots of ways to "read" poems, and I find one really good poem will have me reading for minutes, hours, days. A good poetry book takes as long as many a novel. If you're comfortably reading 20 books of poems in a month, you're either reading for something very specific, or you're reading flaccid books.

Jonathan dijo...

I think you need to read 20-30 a month just to find the 3 or 4 you are going to read a little more in depth!

I can read aloud, very carefully, a standard book of poetry in 2 hours. If I do that with a book a day. Normally I spend 1 to 2 hours on a book, depending, and that includes reading some poems more than a few times or spending 10 minutes on a single poem.

I could never spend a week in which I read only one book of poetry. Even if I was writing an article on a single book of poetry, and spending a month on this task, I would still need to diversify. My mind is just too restless for that.

For the kind of flaccid stuff this guy is probably reading, what's the point anyway? You could read 3 or 100 in a month with the same results.

Matt dijo...

Wow, I can't imagine reading an entire poetry book in one sitting. I can't read more than 3 or 4 poems in a row without coming up for air. My weird brain expends an enormous amount of energy in reading a poem--it takes a lot of intense concentration. (I also have trouble reading more than 15 pages of prose at a time--maybe something really is wrong with me.) In any case, the number of poetry books I read in a month would technically be expressed as a fraction, since it takes me longer than a month to read any book. But I'm currently reading about 37 poetry books and about 10 novels, so I'm reading something every day.

Jordan dijo...

Bully for you, Jane.

Dept of Floor Wax/Dessert Topping: From what I can tell, the category of consumption called "reading" subsumes a spectrum of activities, from surveying a book for signs of life (aka skimming it to ease the dismissive conscience), moving the eyes past the words for the sake of a checklist or assignment, watching the poems go by like cartoons on Saturday morning, marking up the margin and the text with the aid of reference materials, stopping in the middle to read the ahem strong precursor the work is clearly trying to claim, passing time on the subway with some short attention span theater, really just reading thanks no I'm not a poet, re-reading, re-re-re-reading, memorizing, barreling towards a deadline, arguing, and just trying to look cool.

I'd be wary of predicting the quality of a writer's poetry from their professed reading habits. But I do think most poets have had some intense reading experiences (now I sound like the MPAA) at some point, otherwise why would they put up with all the nonsense in poetryland? The big money?