I read a lot of poetry, and I read and write a lot of poetry reviews. I have a rule about reading poetry reviews, however: if I’m reviewing a book of poetry, I don’t read anyone else’s review until after I’ve written my own.
Poetry reviews come in all shapes and sizes, from the blurbs on the front and back covers of poetry books to the extended, in-depth and often footnoted reviews in Poetry Magazine and American Poets. Typically, reviews of poetry books are by other poets, most likely because most of the people reading poetry books these days tend to be other poets. (This is a corollary to my poetry theorem that only three people in the United States make a living from writing poetry, and two of them are Billy Collins.)
If you regularly read poetry reviews, after a while you begin to notice something. It’s not that all poetry reviews tend to sound alike. They don’t; they are as diverse as the people writing them and the poets the reviewers are writing about.
But reviews do tend to have something in common.
To continue reading, please see my post today at Tweetspeak Poetry.
Photograph by George Hodan via Public Domain Pictures. Used with permission.