Doing some research for a workshop I’m giving this weekend, I renewed my acquaintance with Tim Love’s excellent website. There are heaps of things here – links, lists of exercises, articles, reviews. Some of them – much of the workshop section, for example – are really just notes (possibly useful if you’re good at workshops, but not much help if you’re a novice looking for a guide). The reviews range from the short-but-detailed to the seriously brief (John Sewell’s Bursting the Clouds for example is dealt with in only 31 words). I disagree with many of his conclusions and evaluations, but I admire his energy.
So, in emulation … I shall try to post a review of every poetry book I read. Possibly even non-poetry books! (Heck, why not?) I now have a precedent for the short, personal review, that merely states my impressions and feelings about a book without needing to be scholarly (aka “thorough”). A step above the high school “book-report”, I hope, but … I shall call them “micro-reviews”, and label them as such.
- Honest summation of my impressions of the book.
- No more than 100 words.
- No attempt made to be pretend to be balanced, fair or even terribly helpful to casual readers. (If you visit here often enough, and check out the full reviews over on my main website, you should get a good sense of whether my taste and judgement will have any correlation with your own, and that’s pretty much all anyone can hope for, innit?)
What’s in it for me? Encouragement to think (however briefly) about everything I read. A place to store said thoughts. The chance to piss off a whole heap more writers (not my intention, but I get sick of playing nice just for the sake of it. Honesty is more interesting.)
What’s in it for you? A life-changing affirmation of all that you believe to be worthy about literature? Noooooo, probably not. An interesting little sidelight into the brain of a critic? Maybe. Suggestions for books to read and/or books to avoid? Hopefully! If nothing else, somewhere to rest your eyes for a few minutes, while pretending to be involved in something intellectual.