"It is as if the art of poetry, of all things, were the blind spot in the cultural memory of modern man" - Durs Grünbein, from 'The Poem and its Secret'.
I've mentioned Grünbein a few times now since I picked up his Selected Poems: Ashes for Breakfast, almost by chance, at StAnza this year. I don't mind admitting that I've been neglecting my chosen poets and focusing my reading mainly on Grünbein and Claire Crowther over the last few months. What I've learned from the reading experiment is that for me to be able to progress in my writing means having to stop reading my old favourites (mainly Plath, Akhmatova, Eliot). It's been hard, so many times I've wanted to wallow in the old familiar, adored, poetry. Of course that wasn't the only poetry I was reading but I hadn't realised I was reading other poetry slightly disingenuously, not giving it the level of focus and attention that I automatically reserved for the old favourites. In denying myself the big three and in order to satisly my poetry fix I've definitely learned to read other poetry with a deeper focus. So, for now, Grünbein and Crowther have become my Plath and Eliot. I'm still reading other poetry but at the moment returning, with joy, to these two poets. I know at some point I'll have to give them up the same way I've given up the other three in order to move on but it's been an interesting lesson to learn. I'm also looking forward to the point where I'll have (hopefully) developed my writing such that I'll come full circle and be able to wallow in my old favourites from a new perspective. I'll be coming back to Grünbein's Selected Poems in another post.