Sunday Morning Muse with List

Why I Write Poetry Reviews

I’ve always wanted to read poems more deeply and with greater compassion.

Writing reviews teaches me to read closely.

It forces me to read slowly, to re-read, to scribble marginalia.

Reading closely engenders intimacy.

Compassionate reading opens the text to diverse interpretations.

It’s helped me to love poems that I’ve always thought I couldn’t love.

I feel an intimacy with the poets whose books I review, even though I may never meet them in person. I imagine them reading my reviews and feeling known.

It was such a lovely surprise to find out I am good at it.

Writing reviews has become my own self-guided MFA program.

I think the poetry world needs more personable, less academic, book reviews.

I love seeing my reviews in print. It makes me feel less marginalized as a poet.

It’s a thrill to receive advance review copies.

So many books of poetry never get reviewed.

So many small independent presses deserve more love. Reviewing the books and chapbooks of presses I admire is my way of showing them some love.

Some days I think, “if my poems don’t reach readers, at least my reviews will.”

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2 Responses to Sunday Morning Muse with List

  1. mark says:

    You are a treasure on this earth

  2. sbunch@ku.edu says:

    Bless you, Risa. If I ever get my next book organized and accepted by a publisher, I hope you’ll review it. (And thanks for turning me on to Mudlark, which has been a receptive place for some of my poems.)

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