I have concentrated on two forms of literary text: the novel and the short personal poem. The two represent opposite poles of the literary experience: in one case, a text so short you can hold the whole of it in your mind as you read it; in the other, the less intense, usually less intellectually challenging, experience of reading a novel. You can read a poem half a dozen times in a few minutes, may puzzle over it for half an hour; only the most strenuous of novel readers read a whole novel at a single stretch; mostly, it’s a matter of days rather than hours.
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