.poets, read poems.

Jens-Ferdinand-Willumsen _Sophus-Clausssen-reading-poems_1915_Aarhus
Credit: Jens Ferdinand Willumsen “Sophus Claussen Reading Poems”, 1915

Have you ever found yourself wondering what you’re really reading poetry for? It feels as if more of the reading is for finding out whether or not one measures up, if someone writing similar to you (or you similar to them) has said something that causes the “I wish I had written that!” moment. Or maybe the fear is of not having an original voice or thought. Reading online journals, poetry blogs, books in the vein of your writing, in order to see if your project can be let out of the vault and hopefully, be accepted. Maybe even guiltily swiping of a concept here and there to push your creativity along takes place.

Credit: Charles Bernstein, “Veil”, 1976

All in all, it’s no longer reading for pleasure. It becomes task.

While the reasons I mentioned have some level of rationale, we would all hate for these to be reasons why someone else would be reading our work, and they would be honest, something that we typically are not when greeted with something to read. The aspect of reading for pleasure takes a back seat to how we can either top what we read or be destroyed by its brilliance and incinerate any attempts at writing we have ever endeavored.

I say we fight that feeling and simply read for pleasure. We tend to be so severe and take ourselves and our own art far too seriously. The more serious the more comedic we become.victorian-1

The writing will come. Pleasure is better received by the body than toil. We should read to learn poets, which in turn help us learn ourselves, which in turn informs our process, expands our concepts, maybe adds on to another’s ideas.



poets. just read poems…


4 thoughts on “.poets, read poems.

  1. I agree with this all the way. Even outside of writing, if it is film or photography, we should be learning more than we are telling, so that we can tell better yes, but mostly so that we can learn and enjoy.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh the agony of wondering when one’s “project can be let out of the vault!” I’m there right now with fiction.
    A very timely reminder to read for pleasure, for enjoyment has a much greater capacity for absorption than does assignment!

    Liked by 1 person

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