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A poetry reader can develop the kind of intimacy with authors that brings a sense of confidence and purpose, by adopting a smallish personal 'stable' of writers whose work is followed in the long-term way. This seems to be the best way of maturing and gaining pleasure as a poetry reader, or acquiring the necessary depth as a scholar or critic, if that is their aspiration or their on-going enterprise. A second way of achieving this goal is to keep a log-book or diary (or their electronic equivalents) of their reading in which they 'talk back' to the poets whose work they have adopted. Thirdly, an additional layer should be added to their 'stable', consisting of a couple of the best-known contemporary or historical poets, on whom there is a large or growing body of critical writing.


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