Wednesday, February 6, 2008

What's On Your Shelf?

Please take time to answer the poll to the right.

I've read and believe a serious writer writes. A serious writer reads. So what's on your shelf? Many of us talk about our aspirations of being published. Do you aspiring writers support your peers and those who have established a market for poetry by attending readings and building your library collection?

How often do you attend poetry readings? How many books, including poetry would you say you read a month?


Christy said...

I don't attend poetry reading as often as I would like but I do on occasion make it out to one when my chaotic filled life allows. There is a regular open mic hosted by the folk society here that I try to attend monthly. I read on average 1-2 books a month. It would be hard to put a number on the amount of poetry I consume as poetry is my daily bread and I live off it.
I think I have a very good poetry collection that is ever expanding. Currently I am reading 'the predicament of or' by shani mootoo.

My collection includes the classic as well as collection by contemporary poets and emerging artists. I also have a wide collection of literary journals. To name a few off my shelf

Maragret Atwood, Susan Musgrave, Christopher Levenson, Susan Howe,Kathleen McCracken, Grace Paley, Audre Lorde, Linda Rogers, Rumi, e.e. cummings, John Ashbery, Dylan Thomas....

susan said...

Hi Christy,

Thanks for commenting. Poetry is the largest genre in my library. I own more than a 100 volumes including collections, anthologies, journals and reference texts. I own a few classics, a good number of established poets and I think some choice journals and reviews. In terms of collections I own multiples of Nikki Giovanni, Audre Lorde, Sonia Sanchez and Naomi Nye Shiabe. I own a good number of collected works as well.

Rethabile said...

I think I have about 40 poetry books on my shelf. Not nearly enough, but i make up for it by trying to discover a "new" poet per day. The Internet is great in that respect.

susan said...

Retahabile, While you may not own enough (who can own enough?), you are clearly well read. I, too, read quite a bit on line. Some women collect shoes; me, it's dangerous for me to go into a bookstore. I actually sneak books into the house. I don't know why I do it. My spouse has all but given up complaining about all my books. lol

ThomG said...

I would say I average between 12 to 15 books read in a month; I often pick up anthologies, short fiction and poetry, to get inspired. I live in far Northern California so open poetry readings are few and far between. But I'd go, in a heartbeat. I'd love it if you followed up with a list of your favorite poets/collections for us to check out. It's all about the journey....

susan said...

Maude! You can get through that many?! I wish I could. I'm happy to list a short list- again. You can also check out my bookshelf on the right. I'll post a list tonight.

susan said...

A short list of poetry collections I own:

_Language of Life_ edited by Bill Moyers
_Like the Singing Coming Off the Drums_ by Sonia Sanchez
_The Ringing Ear: Black Poets Lean South_ Cave Canem Anthology edited by Nikki Finney
_The Body's Question: Poems_ by Tracy K. Smith
_Abandon Automobile: Detroit City Poetry 2001_ edited by Melba Joyce Boyd M. L. Liebler
_My Wicked Wicked Ways_ (Hardcover)
by Sandra Cisneros (Author
_Magic City_ by Yusef Komunyakaa
_The Collected Works_ of Audre Lorde
_The Collected Works of Gwendolyn Brooks_
_19 Varieties of Gazelle: Poems of the Middle East_ by Naomi Shihab Nye
_Brutal Imagination_ by Cornelius Eady
_Otherwise: New & Selected Poems_
by Jane Kenyon

Anonymous said...

I don't have very many-- my mom had a huge collection I used to read and I think the books got lost in the divorce way back when.

I do read quite a bit of work online, though.

My library is expanding, but I'm in debt currently.

UL said...

I dont own many poetry books, but I see that changing as I am getting into more and more poetry these days. I always loved to read poetry, but writing is more recent - this past year and a half perhaps! But the more I read(& write) my appetite increases...infact I will be poem-shopping sooon, so your lisst helps

Anonymous said...

I've been going to the workshops provided by the Georgia Writers Association, once a month. I need to go to more, but with kids and work, it's not always possible. But questions like these prod me to make more of an effort to get out.

I'm reading Carolyn Forche's book, a country between us. She's amazing, to put it mildly. I intend to post my thoughts about it on your other blog.

I'm reading a novel by a Cuban writer named Mayra Montero, called Son de Almendra. (Dancing to Almendra).

When I go to readings, I buy the book. I do see from the question how it's important to support local writers,especially if we'd like our own work to be published.

I think I read about five books of poems a month, and maybe two novels, as well as a nonfiction book. I like to read about mythology, dreams, yoga, spiritualty, and I read memoirs. I love Mary Karr's books.

Anonymous said...

I didn't say how many poetry boks I own. I've never counted! I used to own about 75 to 100 books in Spanish, from when I was in school, by Machado,Lorca,Neruda, to name just a few, but after moving three times I finally donated the entire collection to the library.

I'm sure I've replaced them as the years have passed. My friends and I share books we love. My sister provides me with memoirs, her favorite genre.

My father gave me all his history books. My father-in-law, when he died, left us his library, all leather-bound classics. My entire house is filled with books, yet I keep buying more, and then giving away books. If a book isn't read, it dies.

Susan, your collection of potry is wonderful, especially how you have lovingly listed some of them. It's obvious they are your well-worn companions.

susan said...

Oh! I love Country Between Us!!! I have shared a few copies with peers and friends. Anyone who says they don't like prose poetry should read Forche. I have her latest volume, too. The title eludes me. I haven't cracked it yet. But I bought on sight.

Anonymous said...

I want to thank you for these questions, because they've guided me toward a different mindset about writing. how can we expect to have our work published if we don't participate in the ongoing dialogue of the written word? Good food for thought.

Yes, Carolyn Forche is one for the ages. I'm going to save most of my thoughts about Country for the other blog.:)

susan said...

Thanks for bringing her up and I'm looking forward to reading your commentary. i have an insatiable appetite for discourse and I sorely miss the academic setting that whet my appetite for dialogue in the first place.

Crafty Green Poet said...

I attend a lot of poetry readings, Edinburgh is very lucky to have the Scottish Poetry Library which holds a lot of events, then there are several places (though not as many as a few years ago) where there are open mike nights, slams, cabaret nights, either devoted to or including poetry. I read loads of poetry, I have shelves groaning under the weight of books. I read probably four novels a month, two non fiction books, one book of short stories and founr poetry books (though it depends on the thickness of the poetry books!).

Crafty Green Poet said...

Also to add, you are so totally right that a serious writer reads. I'm soon to be offering a poetry workshop series and the first workshop will be about reading,,,, I never trust a poet who says they don't read poetry...

susan said...

Crafty Green Poet, "I never trust a poet who says they don't read poetry," say it again. lol

January said...

I have more books on my shelf than I can count, and more that I have to unpack from boxes when we moved in four years ago.

I'm trying to read one nonpoetry book a month. And a month into my New Year's Resolution to read more I'm woefull behind.

I'm moving onto John Edgar Wideman's Brothers and Keepers because he's speaking at my college in a few weeks.

As for poetry, I pick up and put down different books daily. I'm re-reading Natasha Trethewey's Native Guard and will start Domestic Work after.

January said...

And I absolutely support the writing community by buying their books at readings. I try to attend readings by established and emerging poets. Right now, I'm on reading overload--there's just been so much lately.