Start a Poetry Reading Group
PostedApril 21, 2004
There are many ways to start or participate in ongoing poetry reading groups. First, check with your local bookstore or library to see if there is one currently running that you can join. If not, solicit participants and create your own poetry reading group.
How many people should be in a poetry reading group?
A poetry reading group should consist of 10 to 12 people. If there are more than 12 individuals who want to participate in a reading group, then arrange two alternate groups reading different poetry collections.
How do we select poetry books?
To ensure availability of books for every participant, recently published poetry collections are best. Select books that would engage discussion and not intimidate the reader new to poetry. The first meeting should discuss types of poetry the group is intrigued by and willing to read. Ask everyone to bring a favorite poem or two to share with the others. A member of the group can nominate a title for the next meeting.
What do we talk about?
Another key factor is designating one person to lead discussion and select the collection—this should rotate each month with a new lead person selecting a new book. General topics of discussion: themes of gender, politics, race, death, love, etc.; how the poet utilizes voice, craft, syntax, form, lyric, line, etc.; what you generally like or dislike; or simply the old standby: What does this poet say to the reader?
Where do we meet?
Generally, the person leading the group hosts the session to promote an atmosphere of discussion free of distractions. Sometimes, literary centers have space available at a reasonable cost to the group.
How often do we meet?
Typically, groups meet once a month, allowing the readers enough time to read the collection thoroughly and feel prepared for the discussion.