Monday, January 10, 2011

A New Challenge, Because Clearly I Don't Have Enough to Read

One reading challenge I heard about around the middle of last year was Poetry x 12. I really wanted to give it a try, but for whatever reason I wasn't motivated to start it in the middle of the year. So maybe I'll be the only person in the world doing this challenge, but it sounds interesting, and it should get me out of my comfort zone in my reading selections. Here's the breakdown:

January — Read a poetry collection published the year you were born
February — Read a poetry collection recommended on a blog
March — Read a poetry collection written by a poet who has been featured in a movie
April — Read your favorite poetry collection from childhood
May — Read a poetry collection from another country
June — Read that classic poetry collection you never read
July — Read a poetry collection you find on Good Reads
August — Read a chapbook
September — Read a poetry collection you would not typically read
October — Read a selection from a local book club
November — Read an award-winner
December — Read someone else’s favorite poetry collection

It took me about an hour to find a poetry collection published in the year I was born. So many of the lists I found online were inaccurate in that they weren't actually published in that year, or they were out of print and the only apparent copy was on for $500. (Seriously.) but finally I settled on James Tate's Absences , which I requested from my library. The library system in the Chicago suburbs is actually easier and faster than ordering from Amazon, though the selection is not quite as complete.

Since I'm the only person doing this challenge this year, I say I don't have to post my book titles in advance. (Right, sounds like an excuse to be noncommittal and possibly lazy.) I do have a few titles in mind, but I'll Looking forward to reading the James Tate book, and I'll post a review of it towards the end of the month. Until then, I'm still working on the 5 books of poems I have out from the library right now. I'm finding Billy Collins' Nine Horses rather dull. Lighthead by Terrance Hayes is incredible, the most interesting poet I've stumbled across in a very long while. Fantastic voice, really interesting jazzy-smooth rhythm to his lines, yet he uses form, too. I've got to learn more about this pecha kucha form he uses. I feel like I could study this book for a year and still be learning from it.

How does your reading list look this year? Any surprises with overrated or underrated authors?

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