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An advanced seminar on good poetry
on 29 July 2011
This is the kind of book that must be read by those poets who have already published their first book and are writing drafts of the second. The temptation is repeating themselves, to keep the same voice: they were teenagers and continue talking as teenagers 5 or 10 years later. That is funny. Ruth Padel examines 60 poems, case by case, different voices, diversified cultural backgrounds and cohorts, long distant continents and by the end this is not a melting pot. It is an advanced seminar addressed to those wo are used to express themselves in poems, to wander around in daily life affairs wearing the umbrella of a fresh mind and a receptive smile. Each poet is approached only once in the five sections of this book, a few biographical data of each poet facilitate the context, a few paragraphs highlight some contents and finally several paragraphs enhance those acustic effects worked out by the author, a good comedian ready to succeed. In poetry reading and hearing come together, it is the domain of oral communication, and the main mistake of many not so young poets is that they are used to read silently. A poem cannot be reduced to written communication, that is prose. Only statues read silently the scroll or book invented by the sculptor. It was a clever idea then. Rarely lapidary verses deserve so much attention.