On Sunday, September 27th 2009 I picked up a copy of Arc Poetry Annual, a collection of the best of “How Poems Work,” and I was happy to see that this anthology finally gives poetry the attention it deserves.
The anthology covers the idea of poetry and the aftermath: the reaction that a poem causes, which is unseen in a publication. To quote Chris Jennings, “How Poems Work’s” Editor, “Why is a philosophical question: how is a question of practice. [ … ] Talk about how, though, and you’re Marlow streaming up the river in Heart of Darkness.” This is what makes the annual so enthralling. Each poem derives a lengthy (albeit, sometimes too lengthy) explanation of the poet and the specific piece in question. This, in itself, is a great understanding of poetry. Works of art, and the interpretation, are always a fascinating read. If you’re a poet, poetry reader, or new to poetry, this is a great way to see poetry and the responses it can make.
As a poet, I am thoroughly enjoying this adventure as “A budding lawyer’s take on a poem about a bitter unemployed clown; A snarky chocolatier’s respon[ds] to a cryptic concrete poem by the famous bp Nichol.” Because a poem has the ability to open a reader’s mind. Just one single poem. And that is an inspiring thought for someone who pours over poems everyday.
To get your copy of Arc Poetry Annual head over to their website for free previews and a look at their regular publication of Arc Poetry Magazine.