How to Buy Great Poetry Books Using Spot Criticism
Here's how to do on the spot criticitism of poetry books:
1. Go into a bookshop and pick out two to four books of poetry.
2. Buy a coffee and read the opening lines of the books. Read no more than twelve lines of each unless they are compulsive reading.
3. Imagine that you must decide whether or not the whole book is worth reading based on their opening lines.
4. Ask yourself about how you feel:
- Do I find the opening lines interesting or dull?
- Am I surprised by distinct impressions?
5. Ask yourself about the strategy of the poem:
- What is the strategy of the poet obvious from the poem's opening lines? Is it obvious?
- Can I predict how the poem will go?
6. Ask yourself about the precise nature of the poem by looking for its center:
- What is the emotional or intellectual center of the poem?
- Given all this, then, is this book worth pursuing further?
7. Take the book you learnt was worth pursuing. Dip into the openings of two to four poems within that book.
8. Ask yourself:
- Are these openings of the same quality as the first poem I read?
- Is this book good enough to buy?
And you're done!
Buy or not buy, following this strategy with speedily educate you about modern poetry and poets, and let you get on the inside track of poetry publishing.