Spring 2010 • Vol. XXXII No. 2 NonfictionApril 1, 2010 |

Ten Meditations in Poetry’s Hut

1. Let's begin with a basic claim, not as truth or fact, but as possibility: reading is a form of experience. Hands hold the book's heft; eyes read the words; the body is involved, though we forget so. Reading seems something more than or less than experience, occurring, as it does, in some two-fold world, happening simultaneously in the author's mind and the reader's mind with only the thin printed page as conduit between. Of course, that page is no pure conduit: a word is an imperfect conductor, as given to insulating properties as to conductive ones. Somewhere in Shakespeare's language lingers the remnant heat of Shakespeare's thoughts; somewhere in those words is the blast-furnace of his genius. At times that genius burns through the page into the mind, but at other times the language holds its heat, and the page seems only to warm by virtue of the living hands in which it's held. Those hands are our hands. Reading forges experience inside of experience; the book unfolds in

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Dan Beachy-Quick is a poet, essayist, and occasional novelist, whose most recent books include gentlessness (Tupelo Press) and Shields & Shards & Stitches & Songs (Omnidawn). His work has been supported by the Guggenheim and Lannan Foundations, and he teaches in the MFA program at Colorado State University.

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Canto IX

By Dan Beachy-Quick

1. Let's begin with a basic claim, not as truth or fact, but as possibility: reading is a form of experience. Hands hold the book's heft; eyes read the words; […]

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