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Being Generous

Tim Atkins has written a fantastic review about a book that influenced me a lot when I lived in Poland and continues to inform me sense of what is possible. It is absolutely one of my favourite books of poetry from the last 15 years.

It is interesting because I love Rhode Island Notebook a lot. And I love the review. I hardly ever love reviews because they feel stiff, insincere, formulaic and who the hell reads them anyway. I trust more the recommendations of my friends (same for music and films). And this review makes me curious about another book and helps me r-engage with Rhode Island Notebook.

A review should be as interesting as the poetry/art/music we love right? Not an exercise in abstract theory or simply to spurn out another review for the CV to climb the ranks and get that pie in the sky academic position at such and such university.

And theory. Well . . . with the folks doing phds and getting more estranged from what's out there . . and more and more limiting in their references and perhaps delusional in the political power of their use of words . . . perhaps think stamp collecting as a political act . . which of course it could be . . . if the people love it . . . and it enhances their lives . . . if it helps them to be more awake more compassionate loving etc. . . . . well more and more and more poets seem to be going to university and never leaving it . . . from student to professor without stepping out into a larger lived world . . . and more often than not I think this has to limit the range . . .

but of course it is also a very very exciting time to be a poet . . . to write . . . is there ever time when it was wasn't/isn't . . .

And I do think poetry for me . . . well I read it because it enhances my life . . . and I want to connect with the worlds that are contained there . .  and I do think a lived life . .. or an awakening life . . . informs the writing . .

well . . this review of Rhode Island Notebook has a light touch. and it makes me curious. It is generous. And humane. And honest. And that is the kind of poetry that lights me up. And I want more of these kind of reviews. And I wish we could step out of the careerism of poetry (which is really tied to the university) and just try to be as open as we can with each other as a community . . as communities . .  I mean that is one of the great potential powers of poetry . .. the communities . . .

Yes!

Reviews need to be as good as poetry and perhaps even the movies:


Rhode Island Notebook

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This review really hit it for me. I recently read Maurice Scully's _Livelihood_ and Geofrey Squires _Untitled and Other Poems_ is on deck (I love that baseball term. It is baseball, right?)

I think this is from The Nortre Dame review, but I found it via goofle (I mean google).


Another Ireland: Part Two
Maurice Scully, The Basic Colours. Durham, UK: Pig Press, 1994.
Geoffrey Squires, Landscapes and Silences. Dublin: New Writers' Press, 1996.
Catherine Walsh, Idir Eatortha and Making Tents. London: Invisible Books, 1996.

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I began the first half of this article (Notre Dame Review #4) by mentioning some of the limits to the legendary hospitality Ireland has shown to its poets. If you arrive in Ireland from any point of departure outside of Eastern Europe, you will indeed find a public far more willing than the one you left behind to grant poets the recognition all but the most ascetic secretly crave. However, this hospitality has never extended to Irish poets w…