Poetry on the Way

by Leigh Nash

I recently started working at a new job that requires me to commute on the subway for half an hour, morning and evening, in and around rush hour. That in itself is disorienting, as I’ve spent the better part of the last three years working freelance, often not getting dressed before noon and sometimes going a couple of days without leaving the house. (Really. Turns out I am one of those people who’ll spend all day in her pjs, happily.)

The one upside of commuting is that I’m reading more. A lot more: novels and non-fiction―and especially poetry. I’ve discovered I love reading poetry on the subway. There’s something so satisfying about reading poems while rocking along underground; I catch myself slowing down or speeding up so I can flip the page in time with the train’s stops and starts, and with the reorganizing and shuffling required by the swirls of rush-hour traffic. And it’s easy to pick up in the evening where you’ve left off in the morning.

Since it’s National Poetry Month, this is my challenge to you, dear Revue reader: give up the novel, the newspaper and the iPod, just for the next few weeks, and pick up a book of poetry to read during your commute. My first commuting book was Heather McHugh’s Upgraded to Serious; if you don’t know where to start, why not take a look at award shortlists, such as the recently announced Griffin, Lowther and Lampert―which includes the Mansfield title Something Burned Along the Southern Border (Robert Earl Stewart). Or, if you’re not quite ready to give up your iPod, head on over to Seen Reading to download readings by Michael Lista (Bloom), Dani Couture (Sweet) and Susan Holbrook (Joy Is So Exhausting), all of which are definitely more exciting than listening to TTC stop announcements.

Leigh Nash is the author of the poetry collection Goodbye, Ukulele, coming next fall from Mansfield Press, and the co-editor of the chapbook press The Emergency Response Unit.

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