- to contextualize a writer’s “output” (whether that be smallpress or not, text-based or not, performance or page-based) in their larger craft and within the larger poetic community
- to discuss that “output” (we can use “book” here for ease of discussion) in terms of quality – is the book adding to the writer’s larger artistic concerns?; is it developing a space within the community’s poetic concerns? Is the book adding to the quality of work being produced?
- And yes, to expose readers to a work they may have not otherwise seen – thus increasing the readership – the number of people that the book can dialogue with.
- Additionally, a good review should either persuade a reader to either purchase – or not purchase – a given book.
Primarily I write reviews of work from the avant-garde and visual poetry communities – as these reflect my own poetic concerns. Reviews should not be written with an eye towards financial gain or remuneration. As writers we have chosen to participate within an economy which rarely is financially viable; we must be willing to participate within practices which are outside of “writing proper.” It is not sufficient for writers to work in solitude: writing is a social activity which includes reading and responding to other writers (reviews), correspondence and discussions (written or verbal: word of mouth is still the best endorsement), small press productivity (both as fertile gardens of unfinished work but also as artful forums for polished work), little magazine endorsement (for the same reason that small press is needed) and reading (both as performer and audience).