Sunday, January 27, 2013

365 Poems: Nonrequired, but Recommended

Day 27
Okay: So, this is not, obviously, a poem, but a recommendation of some good writing and reading which is, to my mind, the foundation of poetry -- along with observation, of course. (And maybe tempestuous living, although that's debatable.)

I was lucky to notice last week that The Best American Nonrequired Reading 2012 (Kindle Edition) was on sale -- just $1.99. It's edited by Dave Eggers, whose work I admire. Of course I snatched it up. I'm sorry to report that it's back to full price, but it's so worth the $10 in Kindle or print.

For anyone who reads, the 'Introduction' alone is worth the price. Ray Bradbury wrote, shortly before he died, 'The Book and the Butterfly,' and he captures perfectly the spell books caste over us, and the magical way the universe opens to us:
Think of everything you have ever read, everything you have ever learned from holding a book in your hands and how that knowledge shaped you and made you who you are....

You can read some really good, interesting, edgy stuff on Dave Egger's site, McSweeny's, too.

It's so funny how all the good writers (maybe any kind of artist) know one another. In Mr. Egger's 'Editor's Note,' he talks about how the book comes together (Curated by high school kids! My God, what I would have given for the chance!), then about how Mr. Bradbury came to write the intro (someone knew someone). Brian Selznick did the art for the cover -- and Mr. Eggers met him at Maurice Sendak's (!) funeral. Mr. Selznick had met -- even visited, in his home! -- Mr. Bradbury, too. It's like old-home week.

And how lucky we are to live in the 21st century. I'll probably never meet Dave Eggers, but I can buy his books, read his web site, follow his company on Twitter, and read interviews like this in a U.K. publication:
There's never been a better time, I don't think, to be a writer or publisher. The playing field is more democratic than ever, in that any small publisher can get a book to any reader in the world with relative ease. That's very new, and good for everyone. More here.

Well, maybe I did write a poem, by accident:


The foundation of poetry
Is good reading
And writing
Of course observation
And tempestuous living
Although that's debatable.

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