Controlled Chaos: What I’m Reading Now

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.

By joshmedsker

Josh Medsker is a writer living in northern New Jersey. His writing has appeared in many magazines and websites. For a full listing of Mr. Medsker's publications, please visit

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