Colin Will was blogging earlier about how he reads several books at a time. I go through phases. Sometimes I read one book from beginning to end, often more than once if it’s a (good) poetry collection. But at the moment, I have several books on the go, and they are:
Wallace Stevens – Harmonium (Faber& Faber): Stevens’s phenomenal 1923 debut collection. It doesn’t matter how many times I read this, I don’t get tired of it.
Hazel Smith – The Writing Experiment (Allen & Unwin, 2005): “Strategies for innovative creative writing” is the subtitle, and that’s what it is. Very interesting stuff, clearly presented.
Denis Johnson – The Throne of the Third Heaven of the Nations Millennium General Assembly (HarperCollins 1995): I seem to have been reading this book for ages, but I’ve read most of the poems many times now. I’m not yet tired of it.
Alexander Hutchison – Carbon Atom (Link-Light, Glasgow 2006): came through the letterbox this morning. Excellent stuff in the first 20 or so pages. It sounds great too. I’ll say more when I’ve read further.
edited by Mark Ford – The New York Poets II (Carcanet, 2006): eleven poets, each with about fifteen pages of poems, all offering their poetic response to the cultural hotbed that was New York in the 1950s, 60s and beyond. Often experimental and always interesting.
Charles Baudelaire – Les Fleurs du Mal (Picador, translated by Richard Howard in 1982): these poems are unlike anything I’ve ever read and I find it astonishing that they were written in the mid-19th century.
W.S. Graham – New Collected Poems (Faber & Faber 2004): one of the great modernist writers, not much recognised in his own lifetime, but now acknowledged as a pioneering 20th century poet.