Wednesday, May 03, 2006

some book talk

Check the long and interesting post on poetry book buying and other digressions at Michael Farrell's blog.

Just the other day I received a package of poetry books from the US. It was lovely getting the cardboard box and unpacking books I'd almost forgotten I'd ordered. For the record they were books by Alan Dugan, Ange Mlinko, Mary Rising Higgins, Wayne Koestenbaum and Pier Paolo Pasolini. Mixed bag or what?

Sure, I could order from overseas via an Australian bookshop but we've had some hit-or-miss experiences in that regard. I suspect most bookshops, small or large, aren't really interested in doing that kind of thing so you're lucky if they ever remember to place your order. Especially poetry books (the kind they put in the most inaccessible part of the shop). I am of course, exempting a few good Sydney bookshops and definitely Collected Works in Melbourne, a bookshop based around poetry, but with some other lovely stuff, and run by two of my favourite people, Kris and Retta Hemensley.

Books are expensive, especially in this country. I buy some second-hand. It's often the only way to get what you want but it's hit-and-miss in another very obvious way. I did get a very good second-hand copy of Anna Jackon's The Long Road to Tea Time in a Melbourne second-hander when I was there recently (and a couple of Simenon's to add to the pile - oops, there go those novels again).

But, hey, there are libraries. And there's online with all its satisfactions and dissatisfactions.

No-one should ever be allowed to get away with saying, 'I don't read other poets because I don't want it to affect my work'. Other poets should 'affect your work', in fact, they do affect your work. It's nonsense to pretend otherwise.

All power to reading revival.

3 comments:

michaelf said...

thanks jill - i didnt dare reread it for fear it didnt make sense - im learning more about book buying than novelists perhaps need to know - tho our present may be their future (cackle etc)

Nandi Chinna said...

Yes poets need to be affected by others work. In fact I have just been greatly affected by reading your book Broken/Open. I was reading it on the train into Perth on my way to a meeting. I was stopped in my tracks by the trancendant quality of the poems. Like stting in zen for a whole week and experiencing a moment of insight rightthere on the page. Thankyou for your poems and I hope to continue to be affected the more I read. Cheers. Nandi Chinna

Jill said...

Hi Nandi Chinna, Many thanks for your comments. Apart from anything it shows reading is important. And so, what Michael is trying to do.
Best, JJ