I've been paying more attention to poetry these days, something I tend to do when I'm writing as it puts me in touch with language in deeper and more interesting ways. (I'm currently on an Anne Carson kick thanks to a recommendation from a friend; and I continue to be grateful for FSG's stubborn insistence on continuing to publish all manner of fine poets.) So I read with great interest Siobahn Phillips's thoughtful post on her daily poetry reading habits:
Like many of you, I would venture, I tend to read poems in different ways. If it’s poetry that I will write about or teach, I read with pen in hand, notes nearby, or laptop humming. But if it’s poetry that I consume without academic purpose, I could be sitting in a chair, outside with my computer, browsing a bookstore, or paging through a journal on a bus. My attention varies in quantity and quality; some weeks I consume more poems, and some days I expend more energy on them—memorizing a stanza, say, rather than nodding and moving on. Sometimes I read everything by one writer in a continuous immersion, like a lover sequestered for a long weekend, and sometimes I read around, like a party guest moving from conversation to conversation.
When I began to consider reading and the everyday, however, I wondered what would happen if my desultory poetry consumption were more conscious. I thought I would try to make my reading habits part of the ordinary repetition I had been studying. After my caffeinated a.m. trawl of email messages and newspaper headlines, I decided, I would take in a regular allotment of just-for-pleasure poems, every morning. I would use some of the many sites that present daily or nearly-daily verse: “Today’s Poem” at the Academy of American Poets, the “Featured Poem” at Poetry magazine, the morning selection at Poetry Daily and Verse Daily, the “new poems” column at thepage.name—plus a site that offers a Shakespeare sonnet each day.
These rounds added maybe twenty minutes to my schedule; they weren’t onerous and didn’t feel drastically altering. But as I settled into the regimen, as I read and meta-read, taking notes and assessing results, I tracked definite shifts in reflection and perception.
You can find out what she discovered here.