It was not just good for clearing the palate, but after taking the intense and challenging Modern Poetry MOOC online class last fall, it was good for me to go back to the beginning and read Kim Addonizio’s new book on poetry craft this holiday break. Ordinary Genius is intended for beginners; it's a book for Addonizio's students. But clearing your mind of everything you know is not only good for Zen Buddhist practitioners; it’s good for experienced poets, too.
But going back to the beginning is not only an intellectual challenge, allowing yourself to become an open vessel is also a spiritual challenge. Restarting is actually hard, just as hard as keeping up with the most difficult, esoteric essays in poetry theory. It’s difficult because you constantly fight the urge to say I know this already.
I like how Addonizio teaches by forcing her students to read poems. This book is full of recommendations for individual poems and I made of list of the ones I need to look up.
Then, after many I known this already moments, I found something I needed to hear in the last ten pages. You find messages for yourself in places you least expect. Don't forsake beginning again.