With all prose, Rattle prefers a personal narrative style, and this is especially applicable with reviews. Poetry is a fundamentally subjective art—the experience is always too intimate for absolute truth. Each reader brings their own baggage of aesthetic tastes, personal histories, and present moods; even our own opinions can change drastically over time. Far too often our discussion of poetry ignores this fact, and we act as if it’s possible for one person’s reaction to be universal.
In an effort to overcome this schism, we invite reviewers to bring in as much of their personal experience with the text as possible. Tell us why you picked it up in the first place—did you know the poet, were you drawn to the cover, the title, what was it? Where did you read it? How long did it take? Were you transported immediately or did you daydream? Where did your thoughts drift? Which poems resonated with you and why? The speaker in the poem reminded you of your sister? Your experience of Brazil was different? You’re growing tired of poems about divorce? Why is that? Anecdotes and tangents are encouraged—be creative! Personal stories make the reviews more entertaining to read at the same time as they make them more accurately reflect what poetry actually is.