Close reading

One of the most useful things a beginner poet can do (aside from changing their mind, my family would suggest, or if they insist (I would suggest) reading voraciously, practicing patiently) is to examine others’ poetry in detail – and then try to examine their own in the same forensic light. Ouch.

Leading on from that is the close reading where a published poem is dissected in minute – and often academic – detail. I’m not a literary academic – and I am wondering how transferable skills are from biology to poetry, hah! – but I shall have fun trying.

There are so many poems – and poets – out there that I admire that it’s going to be incredibly difficult to choose. I hope to do one every week or so, which would mirror Jo Bell’s excellent poetry writing initiative 52; each week a lead-in and inspiration poems on the 52 blog and there is a FaceBook group for participants to share the results (in private, so they are not ‘published’ as many will hope to hone their poems and sub them).

Fittingly, I hope to start with a poem by Jo Bell: Hoary Alison, from the Morning Star last week. Jo’s sent me a revised version, though, so now I have TWO fabulous poems to play with. Might take a few days, then, but I’ll be back. I hope.

Meanwhile, the rain storms continue …



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7 Responses to Close reading

  1. Thanks for the link to 52, Fran :)

  2. martinvosperwrites says:

    I can thoroughly recommend Ruth Padel’s ’52 Ways of Looking at a Poem’, in which she dissects contemporary poetry as you suggest. I find her analyses nicely accessible without being academic – proves it can be done!

    • Myfanwy Fox says:

      Yes, she’s superb. I read that from the library a few years ago (before she came to stay – shameless name-dropping; we put her up for the night after a lecture in Malvern – took her to find Annie Darwin’s resting place in the Priory churchlard, as well). Also have her ‘Silent Letters of the Alphabet’ which is based on lectures about poetry: again superb (shall re-read it, now you have reminded me). Thanks!

  3. Ron says:

    This will be interesting. I look forward to it.

  4. Sounds like an interesting challenge. Do we get to see the results of your analysis (and add our tuppence worth)

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