if i ever teach [god help me!] i'd develop a course with the above title. every creative writing program hosts the obligatory workshop. but how many teach the love of reading?
one would assume that students would already possess that love in abundance by the time they've signed the application for the program of their choice. but if student attendance in mfa programs matched poetry book sales then we might indeed have poets who could live off royalties.
not so. it seems that not every writer is also a reader. hence my course because a writer is nothing if not a reader too. everything is grist for writing. everything. including reading. texts are built upon texts. why; because reading is the greatest pleasure [or one of the greater pleasures] for the writer. reading is inspiration. reading is writing. one of my favorite sub-genres of portraiture are photographs of readers. especially photos of my favorite writers reading. if you google jose kozer you'll find some pics of kozer reading and i think they are some of the most beautiful of the kind of genre i'm talking about. kozer's poise, reading glasses, the way the book fits into his hands, are all testaments to a life of adventure and pleasure.
adventuring is reading/writing. i've thought of getting a skateboard recently but i'd kill myself on a board. i've done a few skydives in my life but to quote a poet-friend, i'd rather jump into the oed. it would seem that writing/reading would be the safer activity than skydiving and skateboarding. physically reading/writing is the safer activity. but it is also one of the riskiest. why qualify that statement at all.
for proof please check out the blog of one of the greatest poetry readers/critics steven fama's the glade of theoric ornithic hermetica. for the past several days i've been reading thru its archives with great delight. fama is a serious poetry lover, yes, but reading thru his essays and you discover how powerfully life- and thought-changing poetry is. fama's writing speaks for itself. it doesn't need me to defend it. i'd love to see a collection of steven fama's writing published in the fetishized form of paper pages and a glued spine. fama is one of those adventurers i spoke of and is an exemplar of creative reading.