Friday, June 7, 2013

Thoughts on: Poetry Reading (with bonus review of Station Island by Seamus Heaney)

Station Island by Seamus Heaney
(my own photo)
I have recently finished reading Seamus Heaney's Station Island.  I was originally planning to write a review, but it just didn't feel right.  I can't exactly review a whole collection of poetry in the same way that I would a novel, and it would take forever to review every single poem.  Instead I'll keep it brief; if you like reading poetry, then you'll enjoy this.

Chance of finding it in my imaginary bookstore? 85%

Reading Station Island lead me to think about how poetry is read.  I read it reasonably quickly, but with hindsight that probably wasn't a great idea.  If you have the time, it's better to have a book of poetry on your bedside table to dip in and out of, as opposed to trying to read it all at once.

Station Island has a very definite structure; it's divided into sections which have different ideas, and there is a progression from one section to the next.  However, it has generally been my experience that poems are read one at a time, often without regard for the order in which they were placed in a collection.  Some poets are more concerned than others about the place of a poem within a collection, and not all poets publish books.  Nonetheless, it does raise some interesting questions about the value of reading a poem outside of the context of the original work.