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My reading list tends to serve as research for what I’m writing and lately, because I have a few different projects on the go, my reading has been very eclectic. To take a note from Joseph Campbell, and I’ve taken many, the bulk of my list has been selected by telling myself “follow your bliss!” — a highly scientific process. This philosophy has taken me everywhere from Camus’ The Stranger to Robert Marasco’s Burnt Offerings.
Here's a picture of the recent books received at the office. What are you most looking forward to reading? Tell us! Go to the comment field below (or to Facebook or Twitter)!
M. Travis Lane, Heart on Fist: Essays and Reviews 1970-2016, edited by Shane Neilson (Palimpsest Press)
Shirley Graham, Shakespearean Blues (Mother Tongue Publishing)
Joahanna Skibsrud, The Description of the World (Wolsak and Wynn)
Julie Cameron Gray, Lady Crawford (Palimpsest Press)
Sanita Fezic, Psychomachia (Quattro Books)
I’ve been reading Extracting the Stone of Madness: Poems 1962-1972 for the past month. I’ve put it down to go to other books and then invariably come quite quickly back to it — I can’t stop reading and re-reading this English language collected poems of Alejandra Pizarnik. I’d found other translations of bits and pieces of Pizarnik’s writing over the years (and tried in my stumbling way to read her work in the original Spanish); it was exciting to me to get hold of this comprehensive collection.
My obsession with persona, especially in the lyric, and with writing the self brought me to Eileen Myles' I Must Be Living Twice. The poems are resplendent with sex, humour, and reflection — a kind of inquiry that is dramatized further by the fact it's a selected works, and she employs herself as a kind of third person. On writing poetry, she writes about the discovery of "something deeply anonymous about the self."
Eric Hobsbawm's The Age of Revolution is a classic study of the French and Industrial revolutions, and their subsequent impact. I've also been rereading Nietzsche's earlier works and Walter Kaufmann's study on his thought. I'm going through the Greek Tragedies, especially Euripides, as well as David Ferry's translation of Horace's Odes. I'm also finishing Stephen Spender's memoir, World Within World, which I picked up for a dollar and which gives us a vivid sense of the preoccupations and experiences of those British poets who came of age in the 1930s.