Of course I have a list of favorite stories, poems, books, writers! If it weren’t for reading
Wanda Coleman’s Heavy Daughter Blues,
I might not have become a writer at all. I can’t say what it was about the book, but it turned something over in me that I thought was already right side up. Some of the many stories, poems, and books I love off the top of my brain are the following:
Charles Simic’s The World Doesn’t End;
Morton Marcus’s Moments Without Names;
the amazing poem on the front page of Booth right this minute called
“The Problem with Burning Down Your Own House” by Amorak Huey; and
“Snow,” by Ann Beattie
is amazing. I have some eternal favorites—this year, as many other years, I’ve been on a big
Moby Dick By Herman Melville
craze, the exception to the rule that I only read short stories. I love the stories in
as works of fiction. And
Amy Hempel’s book, Reasons to Live,
is the best short fiction book I know, and her new one
Sing to It is also magical. I love most anything by
and I love
for the delight he takes in writing the bizarre as if it were not so bizarre. I love
Louise Erdrich’s short stories and
her novel (another exception) Love Medicine.
was a brilliant writer, not a movie critic. Any of his
Great Movie essays will bring you the news. I love and hate
for his brilliant and complicated sentences.
is very much a favorite, what with all the love poems and those gorgeous sonnets and unforgettable moments like as is the sea marvelous–and another great lover,
Pablo Neruda, whose Twenty Love Songs and a Song of Despair
will never stop feeling fresh to me.
There are not enough women here. I love the book
Smoke by Dorianne Laux, especially her poem, “Prayer.”
My mother, M.K. Woodworth
is a beautiful writer and I hope she’s not done. One day I happened upon a very strange and beautiful book of stories called
Silk by Grace Mazure.
Love in Infant Monkeys by Lydia Millet is to die for.
Kimoko Hahn’s book, The Narrow Road to the Interior
may well be my favorite book of poetry of all time, and
I could go on and on, in fact, I already have. My apologies.
Note: i know very well that there is not enough diversity here either. I have read plenty of work by all colors and genders of people and need to make a second list of what I read during the five year period I only allowed myself to read women.
If you think that’s sexist, well, I went to college before the canon included ANY WOMEN WHATSOEVER, so I hope that makes up for my reverse sexism.
If I hadn’t made that choice that day in an independent bookstore I’d have read another brilliant if sexist book by Milan Kundera instead of Amy Hempel and what a sad day that would have been!
Forgive me, world. It was still the best educational decision I ever made.
Thank you for checking out my list. I have another bibliography for my daughter I’ll post one day. That one has an entirely different goal…