Reading to write

Fall books: Reading habits

My writing life has become increasingly dependent upon my reading life, so much so that I generally begin my writing day by reading a new or newish volume of poetry (or the occasional richly textured work of fiction). I move from there to a selective poring over certain favorite and reliably provocative (if not so newish) poems by my favorites—Cavafy, Stevens, Frost, Bishop, Auden, Coleridge, etc.—reading until something unexpected in the familiar text provokes an unfamiliar response. More often than not, this response becomes the beginning of my new poem, which I have come to understand as bearing a dialogic relationship to the texts of my elders and betters.

 

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