Over the summer I have been enjoying reading the series of blog posts The reading list by poetgalRobin Houghton. She set herself the target of reading poetry collections from cover to cover, starting with the first poem and keeping going without skipping, hesitating or going back to re-read poems. She has just completed week 6 and I do admire her tenacity.
It strikes me as an excellent way of getting to know the work of another poet properly without all the sampling and dipping in which I do so often with a poetry collection. If you are disciplined about it then it can be a means of reducing the pile of books to be read.
So far this year I’ve read a couple of pamphlets from cover to cover; Robert Hamberger’s Heading North
, inspired by John Clare’s journey home and Will Kemp’s The Missing Girl
. They are both narrative sequences which lend themselves to this approach and slim volumes but it was such a satisfying experience I don’t know why I haven’t done it more often.
I’m off to look at my book shelves to decide who will be next.