Wednesday, January 2, 2008

12 Poet Challenge

I read this on another poet’s blog regarding her reading goals for 2008. I’ve opted to modify it for myself and I’m extending an invitation to all of you to join me. The challenge is to commit to read and study 12 poets, one per month for 12 months. The goal is to identify and learn from what each poet does well in his/her work and to learn how to identify poetic styles and devices. This doesn’t have to be labor intensive. Decide for yourself how you will approach study.

For myself, I’m going to list 6 poets I am sure I want to study and reserve the other 6 slots for poets I discover during the course of the commitment either from reading your lists, reading a variety of online and print sources and attending public readings. My goal is to create a good mix of favorite poets, emerging poets established contemporary and classic poets.

Please share your lists here. List all 12 or list as you go. Please share updates about what you learn and discover. Commit but don’t obsess how you will do it, just commit and begin. I’m going to commit to writing about my efforts once a week.

Now some of you may ask, “How do I choose only 12 when I read poetry all the time?” My suggestion is to think about whom you think you can honestly commit to reading for an entire month, including analysis and study and whom you’d like to emulate and learn from to improve your own work.

Have fun and here’s my first 6:

January- Audre Lorde
February- Donald Hall
March- Sonia Sanchez
April- Tracy K. Smith
May- Robert Hayden
June- Carolyn Forche


...eatsbugs said...

I like this idea. I may have to consider this myself.

Anonymous said...

A great idea. For your other six slots, maybe you could check out


Her name's Jessica, and she has a monthly poetry book club. The only one I've done is Tao Lin, but it was fun. I'd never have chosen his work on my own.

Here's the book for January:Matthea Harvey's Modern Life.

Why don't you host a book club for the six you have? I'll sign up for it!

Anonymous said...

Great idea. I'll be back. To report.

I was kind of thinking this would be a great Read Write Poem idea :-)...but it's a great idea no matter where it is!

jillypoet said...

This is a great idea! For January I think I'll study Aimee Nezhukumatathil. She's what they call an "emerging" writer. I love her work. I've also thought about joining Jessica's bookclub...Matthea Harvey's book is on my Amazon wishlist. All I have to do is click and I'm in business! And, I've heard a lot about Tracy K. Smith lately, I should probably check her out, too. Thanks for the ideas!

Mad Kane said...

Great idea! I admire your discipline. Not so sure I could pull it off. :)

writerwoman said...

I'll mention this on PWB.

Fantastic idea!