Reading Frank Bidart’s new collection of poems Metaphysical Dog, I learned something about how I read poetry. I learned from the absence of something.
In reading a poetry collection, I usually look for one poem, any poem, that will center the entire collection for me. It might be the title poem, though it often isn’t. But one poem becomes, for me, the filter for the rest, a kind of prism of understanding what the poet has done with the poems he or she has included in this particular collection. I admit that this may be a practice peculiar to me.
I didn’t find that one poem in reading Metaphysical Dog, even after reading it three times.
However, I had a fall-back position. I ended up reading the collection of 39 poems as a single poem, each individual part blending into what preceded and what came after. I don’t believe Bidart wrote the poems that way, but that is how I ultimately understood the collection.
To continue reading, please see my post today at Tweetspeak Poetry.