My god… I’ve written and re-written this so many times. Haha! I started to write a post about “the state of literature in 2019” and “why we consume literature in this digital age” and it was just too big of a topic. So, I’m going small.
I have this habit, you might have it too… of reading several books at the same time. Lately, it’s been poetry. For the last couple of years. I have a row of books that I’ve already read on the left-hand side of my poetry bookshelf (yes, I’ve organized everything by genre. I’m working on getting a P-Touch labeler…). And on the right-hand side are all of the books I’m working through. I just finished:
Jack Kerouac – Book of Haiku
Allen Ginsberg – Airplane Dreams
and a few others (I’ll put them in later). I’m currently working my way through:
Lawrence Ferlinghetti – Pictures of the Gone World, 1995 Edition
John Berryman – The Dream Songs
Japanese Death Poems
Seamus Heaney – District and Circle
Sylvia Plath – Ariel
Tomas Transtromer – Collected Poems
Kenneth Patchen – Collected Poems
Denise Levertov – Collected Poems
Marianne Moore – Observations
And I’m also re-reading WCW, picking my way through Pound, TS Eliot, and some others, but these books above are the ones I’m actively reading (or have read). Looking at this list, I came to a realization… there is no rhyme or reason to my poetry consumption… except for the fact that many of these books are put out by New Directions. And this actually fills me with a pleasing sense of happiness. Back in the day, I was quite restrictive with my tastes. If I was into Kerouac, that’s all I’d read, for months… or if I was into avant-garde post-modernist stuff, that’s all I’d read…. or zines, or whatever it was.
I feel like just now, in my 40s, I’ve gotten to the point where I can be a whole person, not needed to belong to any fan-group or subculture, as a consumer of culture… and as a creator, not beholden to these schools either. Now I’m sort of free-floating… but it’s not unenjoyable… just chaotic. 😉 Welcome to my mind.