Some poets steered away from books they’ve read, giving them the distance to find poems independent of plot and character. I didn’t choose that route because I can only use a book I have access to, meaning it’s here in my house, which in most cases means I’ve read it.
My book is Richard Ford’s Independence Day. It won the Pulitzer the year my daughter was born, and I read it almost as long ago. I liked the book very much, but never pursued Ford’s other books. I read a story of his called “Puppy” a few years back that was exceptional, and after Canada came out I read that, too. At the time I was reading it in October, I ran into Richard Ford at the Frankfurt Book Fair, meandering among the French publishers. I looked at him so hard he couldn't avoid looking back at me. I had a “wow is he gorgeous” moment, then turned around walked the other way.
Anyway, here I am getting intimately acquainted. Finding poems is not easy. You need to let go and shake the text up in your head so that it stops being part of something already well formed. Check out Dave Bonta's erasure project on Samuel Pepys' diaries at Via Negativa. He has taught me a thing or two.