These are my top five books that I either (A) think about at least once a day (B) have read multiple times and can’t put down or (B) that I completely love. If I were to put down all the books that can be included within A,B, and C, this would be a huge post! So to keep it short and to the point here are five books that as of right now I feel are indispensable to other writers and lovers of poetry and fiction.
Imaginations by William Carlos Williams
Ulysses by James Joyce
Orlando by Virginia Woolf
The Beat Book: Writings from the Beat Generation Edited by Anne Waldman
The Vintage Book of Contemporary American Poetry Edited by J.D. McClatchy
Firstly, Imaginations is a book with such beautiful language I am left highlighting and underlining almost every part. Williams is one of my favorite poets and when I found this book I was elated. Little did I know what I was getting myself into. Now I read and reread certain parts completely obsessed with the structure and imagery that he uses. Love this book.
Ulysses, a book I attempted to read on my own a few years ago but felt overwhelmed and stupid after trying. It was the first book that I ever picked up that made me feel like the content and style was over my head. It wasn’t until I took a Joyce class up at the University of Utah which focused mainly on Ulysses that I was able to understand this bible of language and style. Given the right tools and information required this book exploded before my eyes as one of the greatest novels ever written. I return periodically to reread certain parts of Ulysses whenever I feel inspired to write something dangerous.
Orlando, not the only Woolf book I’ve read but one of my absolute favorites. When I first began reading Orlando I was thinking about the possibility of creating a character that moves beyond sexuality and gender. Although it is not exactly about this Orlando was close to it and inspirational to read. I fell back into reading Woolf harder than ever after that and got lost in her work for the next few months.
The Beat Book: Writings from the Beat Generation , this book has the background information and key works by some of the most influential Beat Poets (of course, Allen Ginsberg and Jack Kerouac). I usually jump around from chapter to chapter and research more on the Poets that speak to me. Which is difficult because I’ve already ended up researching about half the poets in the book and I’m not done. This is a perfect resource for learning about the Beat Poets and their work.
The Vintage Book of Contemporary American Poetry, contains selections from some of my favorite poets including Adrienne Rich, Elizabeth Bishop, Theodore Roethke, Frank O’ Hara, Galway Kinnell and Gary Snyder just to name a few. I have loved this book for a couple years now and always pick it up when I want to return to my favorites.
I hope this short list helps someone out there that needs more inspiration!
Thank you for reading and taking time out of your day to visit. I hope you return in the future!