Saturday, 30 January 2010

Reading the layers

I am beyond thrilled with the new review of 'Occupation', by Barbara Smith, up at Todd Swift's 'Eyewear'.

I would enjoy the review if it were about someone else's book; it is a real pleasure to see such attentive reading; the sort of reader I am sure every poet wants.

It made me think about layers; writing them and reading them. I'm aware of writing on three levels: the surface level, which I am aware some readers will stay at; the first sub-text level, which I hope most readers will find and understand; and the deepest level where I may plant allusions, connections and references that I expect only a rare reader to follow.

Once a poem is published, it is out there and I have no rights or expectations about how it is read - so each level in the poem has to be satisfying to me in some way. If someone appreciates a poem at the surface level and goes no deeper, then so be it, I am content that the poem had something to say to them, even if it is not as much as it could say.

When someone reads as well as Barbara did for this review though - it is a real gift and literally priceless.

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