Friday, November 13, 2015

Pouring Water on a Great Poem

While keeping in mind our Call for Submissions, I wanted to share a little piece I came across in my reading.

I read the Sunday papers in my own arbitrary method, stacking my favorite sections in the order in which I will attack.  From the New York Times Book Review, I prioritize the "By the Book" interview section, in which the author of a recently published book answers questions about his or her reading life and history.

Last week, Gloria Steinem was front and center. When asked which genres she enjoys reading and which she avoids, her answer both pleased and surprised me. While she admits that she "used to be hooked on novels," she says she's not "hooked on ideas," adding, " Poetry has replaced novels. If you poured water on a great poem, you would get a novel."

That is just the idea Jane and I are pursuing in this anthology project. We want to introduce readers to the distilled language, the conciseness of story found in poetry. I forget huge portions of novels, even short ones. I'm often left with what Cathy Smith Bowers referred to as the "abiding image."

Try this: Think of your favorite novel and conjure up the most concrete image you recall. 

 Of all people, I would never suggest replacing novels with poetry--or biography or philosophy or DIY--but I would hope serious pleasure readers would expand their horizons to include poetry.

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