Wednesday, July 18, 2007

The great poetry binge

In The Guardian, Sarah Crown explains how being a judge for the Forward Poetry Prize changed the way she reads.
I found that, by immersing myself in poetry, I read with far greater incisiveness and clarity. I no longer needed to make the gear shift that is generally required when you pick up a volume of poetry after reading prose; my ear was attuned to poetry's rhythms, and my eye - accustomed to the sight of poetry on the page - became far quicker at detecting themes, echoes and linguistic flourishes (reading the collections back to back also, of course, allowed me to arrive at qualitative judgements with far greater speed and conviction). As the days passed and the pile of "read" volumes grew taller, I also became increasingly aware of what a rare privilege it was to read a year's worth of poetry - I felt as if I was being given an insight into the country's collective conscious. Words resurfaced from collection to collection - caul, clarity, fetch - and themes emerged, of which the most prevalent was water: poets from every part of the British Isles - and beyond - turned again and again to rain, rivers, seas and floods.
The shortlist for the 2007 Forward Poetry Prize was announced yesterday.

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