Book Review Blues

I just read Matthew Thorburn’s post on book reviews, and I can relate to so many points he has mentioned, especially the allure of free poetry books!  I am relatively new to the world of writing book reviews.  I started simply because I wanted to be a bigger part of the poetry world and to be honest, I’m a great reader and a pretty good writer, so I thought I could contribute by writing poetry book reviews.  And last year, I did pretty well.  But this year, I am behind, and I’m not sure why. 

Well….actually I know one good reason.  I am now tackling many collections where the form and style of the poems included are not familiar to me.   Let me make this clearer.  In the past, I’ve written book reviews where I could put the poems in some kind of context.  For example, if I reviewed a book that contained a lot of poems about nature, then I could talk about that book in the context of other poets who use nature images as central motifs and metaphors in their work.  Or, if I reviewed a newest collection of a poet whose work I already knew, then I could talk about that newest book in the context of what the poet had already published.  

But now, I have a pile of books by my computer where most of the work is really new to me.  New styles, new themes, new poets. No contexts.  So the reviews I am writing are coming out like awful five-paragraph theme papers.  Yuck. 

But it’s back to work.  No matter what I say, those reviews are not going to get written when I am busy writing on my blog.

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