15 Reasons I Write Poetry Reviews

  1. I’ve always wanted to read poems more deeply and with greater compassion.
  2. Writing reviews teaches me to read closely.
  3. It forces me to read slowly, to re-read, to scribble marginalia.
  4. Reading closely engenders intimacy.
  5. Compassionate reading opens the text to diverse interpretations.
  6. It’s helped me to love poems that I’ve always thought I couldn’t love.
  7. 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.
  8. It was such a lovely surprise to find out I am good at it.
  9. Writing reviews has become my own self-guided MFA program.
  10. I think the poetry world needs more personable, less academic, book reviews.
  11. I love seeing my reviews in print. It makes me feel less marginalized as a poet.
  12. It’s a thrill to receive advance review copies.
  13. So many books of poetry never get reviewed.
  14. 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.
  15. Some days I think, “if my poems don’t reach readers, at least my reviews will.”

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