Sunday, March 17, 2013

Volumes of poetry in conversation with one another

Often, writings about a volume of poetry appears when the work is just released or when and if the book wins a major award. Most awards come within a year of publication, so for the many volumes that do not win, there's little chance that we will see writings about the work after a year has passed. Scholars tend to write about books well after the works have been published; however, relatively few scholars write about poetry.

One way that we might begin bringing up previously published volumes is by explaining how different volumes are in conversation with one another. While reading an advanced reading copy of Adrian Matejka's The Big Smoke, I've been thinking about how his work is in conversation with 30 previously published volumes. What if we took more concerted efforts to talk about how new books spoke to and with previously published works as a way of preventing poetry from being so easily forgotten after a year's time?

One benefit of putting volumes of poetry in conversation with one another would be a longer shelf-life for more works. Another benefit would involve us recognizing developing trends and distinct innovations among a range of works. Finally, more writings on poetry would equip us to expand understandings of creativity in the field; doing so is typically constrained because of a lack of public conversation about works among scholars, poets, editors, and readers.    

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