Reading Reports

Over the course of the semester, you’ll need to read 10 books of poetry by a living poet.  Most poetry books are quite short—sixty to seventy pages—and if you’re taking this class because you like poetry, you will enjoy this opportunity.  After reading each book, write a one-page, 300-word report. I’m looking for you to briefly articulate the poet’s voice, style, themes, or perspective with appropriate textual references. Then conclude with a brief assessment; in ten years you’ll likely look back on these assessments as embarrassing, but give it a try anyway.

If you aren’t sure which poets to read, consult a list of Poet Laureates, Pulitzer Prize winners, or National Book Award winners.  Of course, you can always ask me for suggestions also, but it will help me if you can tell me who else you’ve enjoyed reading so far.  Keep in mind that you will probably have to request some of these books through interlibrary loan, so get your requests in early.

What kind of language do poetry reviews use? Here are a few for you to sample: Dana Gioia on Kay Ryan and Ted Kooser, Troy Jollimore on Christian Wiman, Jeremy Telman on A. E. Stallings.