In the January issue of Poetry Magazine (which does not yet seem to be posted online, but which has already arrived in the mailboxes of print subscribers), Daniel Handler, a.k.a. Lemony Snicket, author of many books for kids and adults, contributes a short piece about his experience of reading poetry, of which he says, “I find poetry actually has very little mystery compared to anything else,” after which he goes on to innumerate the perplexities of the local bus schedule.
Then Mr. Handler describes a problem common to many poetry readers: how and when to read poetry for pleasure. It may come naturally to read poems for study, review, or some other non-fun reason, but just to read poetry for poetry’s sake is often harder. For Handler, “The answer came, as so many answers do, from my wife one Saturday night.” It takes him less time to get ready for a night on the town than it does her, so, she told him, “‘Go sit in that chair you insisted on buying that is really too big for the room.”
And so he does, and in that chair gobbles up many of the best contemporary poets: Matthea Harvey, Joshua Clover, Chelsea Minnis, D.A. Powell, James Tate, Carolyn Kizer and others. So, if you want to read what Lemony Snicket reads, now you’ve got a reading list.