Thursday, January 13, 2011

Poetry chapbooks = poems +

Just before Christmas I discovered Blogalicious, the blog of poet Diane Lockward. What a delight!

In a recent post she talks back to an article by Daniel Handler (aka Lemony Snicket) in which he describes his poetry-reading habits. They are to nibble at poetry when he has just a little time, read three or four poems from a collection and then he's had enough.

Her response:

"It seems, then, that Handler prefers to dip in and out of a single collection rather than take it in all at once. I think that's too bad. I think he's missing something."

She goes on tell us some of the things he might be missing because of all that a poet considers when putting together a collection of poems:  what kind of collection this is, should it be divided into sections, how are they related to each other, is there a pattern, what is the connection from one poem to the next, and more.  Her article ends with this bit of sage advice — to Daniel Handler and to us:
"Robert Frost said something to the effect that if a book has twenty-five poems in it, the collection itself must be the twenty-sixth. Please, Mr. Handler, find the twenty-sixth poem."

Altogether it's a great little piece about what - besides strong poems -  goes into a poetry collection.

Read "The Twenty-Sixth Poem"

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