I’ve had a string of good luck with novels, but the one I read in two days (sneaking pages in on the train, between appointments with students, before bed) was Nicholson Baker’s The Anthologist. Maybe I should start over, because I’m not sure “novel ” is the right word. Sure there are characters and a plot. The protagonist is the charming poet and procrastinator Paul Chowder whose girlfriend has left him, mainly because he can’t finish the introduction to an anthology of rhyming poetry. But the book’s really a sneaky lesson on poetic forms and how great they are. Like in those commercials where parents lie about the vegetable content of a particular snack.
Bio: Erica Wright is the poetry editor at Guernica. Her “interview with John Ashbery”:http://www.guernicamag.com/interviews/507/houses_at_night_1/, “Houses at Night,” appeared in Guernica’s February 2008 issue. Read her last recommendation of the film Fur “here”:http://www.guernicamag.com/blog/1599/rec_room_erica_wright_fur/.