Tag Archives: Books

Books of 2014

2 Jan


I love it when the calendar flips to a new year.  I fill with hope and dreams and begin to make lists of all of the things I want to accomplish.  One of those lists that makes its way onto my iPad is a reading list of books I want to read by year’s end.  Of course, life gets in the way and I seldom complete the list, but the dream of hours spent sitting in quiet reading helps to calm my often unquiet mind.

Every year there are hundreds of new books that are released, each of which is a little voice I want to hear, even if in passing.  I decided to make a list of some of the just-released (i.e. Dec. 2013) or forthcoming titles that I can’t wait to read.   Please do leave a message in the comment box and let me know what titles you’re looking forward to (even if it’s your own)!


A Hundred Thousand Hours by Gro Dahle translated by Rebecca Wadlinger, Ugly Ducking Presse, $17, Dec. 15, 2013.  (Disclosure: Becca is a very good friend of mine and this book of Norwegian translations is simply amazing!)


Our Vanishing by Frannie Lindsay, Red Hen Press, $17.95.  March 204.  I had the pleasure of reading from my new book with Frannie in Watertown, MA back in the fall and she’s a spectacular poet.  She read a bit from this collection, and it’s astounding!


Book of Hours by Kevin Young, Random House, $26.95.  March 2014.


The Pedestrians by Rachel Zucker, Wave Books. April 2014.


 Can’t and Won’t: Stories by Lydia Davis, FSG, $26.  April 2014.


Cloud Pharmacy by Susan Rich, White Pine Press, $16.  April 2014.


Whitman Illuminated, illustrated by Allen Crawford, Tin House, $28.95.  May 2014. (I cannot wait to get my hands on this!)


If the Tabloids Are True What Are You? by Matthea Harvey, Graywolf, $25.  August 2014. (I am a huge MH fan, ever since I took her poetic forms class as a CW/Lit undergrad at Houston).

Blood Lyrics by Katie Ford, Graywolf.  October 2014.  (Katie Ford is one of my poetry heroes and I wish more people knew of her.  She is probably one of the best poets I’ve read in the past ten years and I was so fortunate to have her blurb my recent book.  She is innovative, intelligent, and moving in her work.  She a sneak peek from her forthcoming collection here).

Citizen by Claudia Rankine, Graywolf.  October 2014.  (Graywolf is knocking it out of the park in 2014 and I can’t wait!  Rankine is such an influential poet of our time and she really helped to change me as a writer and person when she was my senior honors thesis adviser at Houston.  I adore her and her work.)

Twenty Poems That Could Save America by Tony Hoagland, Graywolf.  November 2014.  (Another win for Graywolf.  I love Hoagland’s work and his irony and intellect, even if it’s been the cause of conflict over dinner parties and AWP hotel room conversations.  He’s legendary.  Read more here.)


2 Nov

After a horrendous past two months (mysterious illness-like symptoms, numerous tests, doctor’s appointments, plus the government shutdown which assisted in preventing me from traveling to LA to receive my PEN Center USA Literary Award for Poetry, etc.), I am looking forward to next week, where I’ll be traveling to MA for a series of three Perugia Press-related readings to celebrate my book, The Wishing Tomb, and Gail Martin’s Begin Empty Handed, which was awarded this year’s Perugia Press Award.  If you’re near any of the places on the itinerary below, I hope you’ll come out and join us:

The Collected Poets Reading Series
w/ Gail Martin & Lori Desrosiers
Thursday, November 7, 2013, 7PM
Mocha Maya’s, 47 Bridge St.
Shelburne Falls, MA

Friday, November 8 at 7:30 PM
w/ Gail Martin & Joan Barberich
The State Room
35 State Street (behind India House)
Northampton, MA

Saturday, November 9 at 7:00 PM
Salon Reading w/ Gail Martin & Frannie Lindsay
Invitation only
Watertown, MA

While in MA, I also am hoping to have a little excursion time to see Emily Dickinson’s house, the Plath archives at Smith College, and to have dinner with my sweet cousin, Hope, who lives in Boston.  I can’t wait!

I think I’ve mentioned this before, but I’ll mention it again: I am a list maker.  Call me OCD and you wouldn’t be far from the truth.  I love lists.  This type of list (below), however, is one of my favorites.  It’s my reading list.  I thought I would share my fall reading list with you:


After Her by Joyce Maynard  (lovely, dark, coming of age novel, which I was inspired to read after hearing this bit on NPR on the way home from teaching a class one afternoon)

The Daily Poet: Day-By-Day Prompts For Your Writing Practice by Kelli Russell Agodon and Martha Silano (this is a new release by two wonderful poets, both of whom I’ve had the pleasure of publishing in PLR)

Sarah’s Key by Tatiana de Rosnay (recommended by my mother, who is perhaps the most widely read person I’ve ever known, except for maybe my dad, who actually reads the encyclopedias).

Dallas 1963 by Bill Minutaglio (anyone who has known me long enough knows that I have a Kennedy-history obsession that is not limited to the assassination history.  This Nov. marks 50 years since the assassination of JFK, and this new book has been released just in time).


Ain’t No Grave by TJ Jarrett (this is probably one of my favorite books of poetry to come out this year, and I’m in the process of reviewing it for a journal).

Begin Empty Handed by Gail Martin (this is a wonderfully crafted new book, and I’m looking forward to reading with Gail next week)!

Dancing in Odessa by Ilya Kaminsky (I first read this book as an undergrad, so it’s been about eight years since I poured over its perfection.  I love this book, as does almost everyone who has read it.  I read it in tiny slivers and ruminate.  It’s best digested that way so the foreign story will unfold carefully, and not all at once).

I was invited to record a podcast for Arizona State University’s wonderful literary journal, Superstition Review.  My podcast consists of me reading a handful of poems that have been published in SR, included a few from my second book, The Wishing Tomb.  You can listen and read more, here.

Book List for Creative Writing Classes

14 Sep

I’ve been teaching Intro to Creative Writing at my college for five years and I’m so fortunate that for the first time, I’ve been given the green light to choose my own texts beginning in 2014.  I just put in my book order and would like to share the selections that I made (and some that I didn’t, but that I still highly recommend).


My top picks

My top picks


I teach the Intro to Creative Writing section, which is a mixed genre class that is part workshop model and part lecture/in class work.  For reference, the majority of my students have very little experience with writing, but are interested in it.  Many of these students are also unfamiliar with contemporary work and have never picked up a literary journal or been to a reading (which is something that I have them do).  In deciding which books to use, I had to take all of this into account so as to not scare them off of literary writing nor overwhelm them straight out of the gate.  It is my sincere belief that if you, as an instructor, overwhelm students who are just getting their feet wet, you’re not doing the student any service and in fact, many may end up so overwhelmed, that they may never return to writing or reading.

Here are the books I chose to use in 2014 (starting in the Spring term):

The Triggering Town by Richard Hugo: this is a classic resource used in CW courses nationwide, and my department has been using it for as long as I can remember.  It has wonderful essays on writing in it, and I always begin the semester by having my students read the one titled, “In Defense of Creative-Writing Classes” as this begins the discussion on why CW courses are important and what gain be gained from taking them.

The Making of a Poem: A Norton Anthology of Poetic Forms by Mark Strand and Eavan Boland: I used this book in a CW course when I was an undergrad in English/CW at the University of Houston.  I found this book to be exceptionally helpful.  The book not only showcases traditional forms (sonnets, villanelles, sestinas, etc.), but also includes “open” forms as well.  Each section of the book focuses on one form and gives a page of information/”how to,” a page or two about the history of the form, a page or two about the contemporary use of the form, and then quite a few pages of examples from both canonical and contemporary poets.  I highly recommend this book for beginning-intermediate undergraduate CW classes.

A Short Story Writer’s Companion by Tom Bailey: As my class is a mixed genre class, I needed to find a book that would function in a similar manner to The Making of a Poem, and this book fits the bill.  It discusses and gives examples of the basic elements of fiction writing, which is something beginning CW students need.  It also discusses the importance of drafting and revision, which is something  that I teach in my class as well.  I have found that first time CW students are not in the habit of drafting and revision, so this was a great selling point to me for this text.


There are so many texts I would love to use, but I just can’t justify having my students plunk down loads of cash for a lot of books.  However, if I could use more books in a perfect world, here are the rest of my recommendations:

On Looking: Essays by Lia Purpura: I went back and forth on this book, and I ultimately decided against using it (even though I love it so) because they style of writing might be a bit over my beginning CW students’ heads.  In past semesters, my CW have read one of the essays in the book, “Red,” and it was near-mutiny.  I’m all about challenging my students, but sometimes you have to ease them into the challenge for best results.  I do recommend this book for intermediate-advanced CW classes.  It’s a wonderful book on inspiration and looking at things from a writer’s eye.

An Exaltation of Forms: Contemporary Poets Celebrate the Diversity of Their Art by Annie Finch and Kathrine Varnes: I also used this book when I was in my CW classed at UH and found it helpful.  It’s very similar to the The Making of a Poem book, but is slightly more advanced in that it delves deeply in the specifics of form, meter, etc.  For an Intro to CW course where students are not very familiar with poetry at all, I think that introducing them to anapests, trochees, and syllabics might be a bit much.  We do discuss some forms in my class: sonnets, villanelles, and occasionally the ghazal in particular, as well as some contemporary forms (the found poems, contemporary ekphrasis, the cento), but this book is definitely for the more advanced student.  I recommend this book, however, for use in a forms class or an intermediate CW course.

American Women Poets in the 21st Century by Claudia Rankine and Juliana Spahr:  Claudia Rankine had me read this book when she was my senior honors thesis advisor at UH and I loved it.  The reason I didn’t choose this book is because it didn’t offer the breadth of “lessons” that The Making of a Poem did.  This text is wonderful and offers a wide variety of voices from contemporary American women poets and annotations of their poems.  I would use this book for a class on American Women’s Lit, Contemporary American Poetry, or an intermediate-advanced CW course.

The Poet’s Companion by Kim Addonizio and Dorianne Laux: This is another great stand-by and I have been using it for the past 5 years, which is why I decided to switch it out for the The Making of a Poem text.  I love this book for how it discusses inspiration and breaking boundaries (death, love, etc.) and offers writing prompts/suggestions at the end of each chapter, but I think that the specifics that The Making of a Poem offers might help a beginning CW student a little more.  My previous students have enjoyed this book, but have also commented on how they would like a book that has more examples and “how-to” instruction than TPC gives.  I do highly recommend this book for any intro-intermediate CW course and I am very likely to use it again in the future.

Contemporary American Poetry edited by A. Poulin, Jr. and Michael Waters: I used this book when I was in Jericho Brown’s advanced CW workshop at UH.  It’s a great book, but is actually more of an anthology (similar in the manner of Legitimate Dangers: American Poets of the New Century, edited by Michael Dumanis and Cate Marvin, which I also highly recommend).  It’s a great assortment of contemporary poets, such as James Dickey, Kimiko Hahn, Robert Haas, Louise Gluck, Yusef Komunyakaa, Sharon Olds, Naomi Shihab Nye, David St. John, and others), but there isn’t any discussion of the poems, the forms, etc. that I wanted for my beginning students.  That said, I think this would be a great book to use for an intermediate-advanced CW and would be great even for grad students in poetry to use as a model and launching point for discussion and critical analysis of contemporary poetics.

I hope these recommendations help you if you are building a CW course or looking to purchase books on writing, whether fiction or poetry.  What are your must haves when it comes to books on writing?  What texts have worked for you in previous courses that you’ve taught?  I’d love to know!

Summer Reading

18 Jun

I realized that it hasn’t been since I did my post on my top 20 books of poetry for National Poetry Month that I’ve talked about what I’m reading/what I recommend reading.  As this is summer and as this blog is titled “Books & Baubles,” I think it is the appropriate time to talk about my summer reading list.

I love reading lists — I think it’s the literary voyeur (or just the voyeur) in me that like peeking in other people’s shelves (selves) to see what books they’re devouring at any given moment.  I think summer reading lists are the best because they often include “light reading” (and what this “light reading” may be varies, of course, from Stephen King to Anna Maxted) if the one doing the reading is being honest.  I want to be honest: I am reading these books (and yes, some haven’t been started, yet, but are on the near-horizon) and I am not ashamed in the least of what my summer reading list entails.  There is no War and Peace.  I’m not kidding myself.  There is no way that I will read a heavy text when it’s 100 degrees outside.  Nope.  Not going to happen.

What I am reading (listed from top to bottom):

Summer reading

Summer reading

Something From The Oven: Reinventing Dinner in 1950s America  by Laura Shapiro

I love this book!  It’s a culinary history of sorts of 1950s American “cuisine.”  It focuses its attention on the rise of packaged food items, corporate food writing and advertising, home cooks and their unwillingness to chuck traditional methods for meals from a can or a box, and the incredibly role of Poppy Cannon.

Stag’s Leap by Sharon Olds

This won the Pulitzer for Poetry and is a book of poetry by the force that is Sharon Olds.  Need I say more?

Wife Dressing: The Fine Art of Being a Well-Dressed Wife by Anne Fogarty (Author) and Rosemary Feitelberg (Introduction)

If you haven’t been able to tell yet, I’m on a bit of a 1950s vintage kick.  This book was released in 1959 and re-released in 2007 with the Feitelberg introduction.  Wife Dressing influenced a decade of style, social mores, and thinking about well, wife dressing.  As “quaint” as some of the advice may be in this book, there are some excellent reminders about body image, not comparing yourself to anyone else (especially fashion models), and dressing for your body type, not your fantasy body type.

The Exchange by Sophie Cabot Black

I haven’t started this book, yet (it was recently released by Graywolf), but I am a huge Sophie Cabot Black fan and I can’t wait to read her newest collection of poems.  If you haven’t read her second book, The Descent, you must run out and do so.  That collection has inspired me in immeasurable ways.

Mad Girl’s Love Song: Sylvia Plath and Life Before Ted by Andrew Wilson

I am so excited about this book!  I’m a Plathophile and literally own every book written by or about Plath.  This book is exciting because it focuses on Plath’s life before Ted Hughes, which I think adds much to her narrative.  While the Plath-Hughes drama is interesting, I think that story is a bit played out.  This book also illuminates her early beginnings in terms of childhood and young adult traumas and mental illness.

Pain, Parties, Work: Sylvia Plath in New York, Summer 1953 by Elizabeth Winder

This is another excellent Plath text and one that entirely focuses on Plath’s pre-Ted life.  What I love about this book is that not only is it about Plath’s Mademoiselle summer and subsequent breakdown, but it also offers the vintage-loving reader an insight into early 1950s American life in New York and the issues that plagued young, college-age women during this decade.

Inferno by Dan Brown

Don’t judge me!  This is my official “light summer reading” and I’m loving it.  I have actually read several Dan Brown novels (Angels & Demons and The DaVinci Code), but this one is by far the best and the most intelligent.  I felt that, in particular, The DaVinci Code was written on an eighth grade level.  In contrast, I applaud Brown’s use of exceptionally high vocabulary, artistic and literary references in his latest novel.   Inferno uses Dante’s famous work as the backdrop to this fast-paced mystery, which to a literary-lover such as myself, I find especially intriguing.  I also hope that people who have never read Dante will now be inspired to do so.  It’s amazing sometimes what pop fiction can do to the average reader.

Betty Crocker’s Picture Cookbook

This is a fabulous eBay find for me as it is the original 1950 edition.  The book itself is in very good shape (I don’t think anyone even cooked out of it, it would seem).  I actually purchased two of these — one to keep and one to use.  If you follow me on Instagram, you saw that I recently posted a photo of one of the recipes I used out of this cookbook — blueberry muffins.  This might seem an easy from-scratch recipe, and the use of shortening might scare you (and gentle reader, shortening is NOT lard — it’s solidified vegetable oil that actually has less transfat and calories than butter), but with the added fresh blueberries, these were the best muffins I’ve ever made.

MM Personal: from the Private Archives of Marilyn Monroe

MM Personal: from the Private Archives of Marilyn Monroe

This book by Lois Banner (photographs by Anderson) is another one of my summer indulgent reads and if you’re a MM fan, you’ll love it.  It features numerous photographs of Monroe’s letters, receipts, telegrams, cosmetics, clothing, etc. and wonderful stories to accompany each item.  I just watched HBO’s documentary, “Love, Marilyn,” last night, so this is a perfect time to flip through this book.  It’s a gorgeous coffee table book and perfect for any Marilyn aficionado.

Five Points: A Journal of Literature & Art, vol. 15. no. 1 & 2

Five Points: A Journal of Literature & Art, vol. 15. no. 1 & 2

When I went to Atlanta last month to read from my books at Charis Books, my friend Julie (who I also read with) had this waiting for me on the guest bed, all tied up with a little bow.  It was a wonderful house guest gift!  This double-issue journal reads like a who’s who of contemporary writing: Kim Addonizio, Madison Smart Bell, Billy Collins, Barbara Hamby, Edward Hirsch, Jane Hirshfield, Alice Hoffman, David Kirby, Thomas Lux, James May, Sharon Olds, Tom Perrotta, Elizabeth Spencer, Elizabeth Spires, and more.  I don’t see it on the Five Points website, yet, so I don’t how you can get a copy of it.  Julie got a copy at a literary event and I’m so thrilled to add it to my collection.

What’s on your shelf this summer?

Top 20 Books of Poetry

28 Apr

National Poetry Month is coming to an end and I couldn’t let it end without posting my Top 20 favorite books of poetry of all time.  These are books that I’ve returned to again and again, books that have helped me through some rough patches in my life, books that have inspired me to look at poetry in a new way, books that have formed me, books that I have said, “you must read this” to complete strangers.

My Top 20 Books of Poetry

My Top 20 Books of Poetry

Ariel by Sylvia Plath

This is a no-brainer.  I have been a Plath devotee for going on 15 years now and I’ve read this book no less than a dozen times.  Quiz me on it. Go ahead — ask me anything.

Cusp by Jennifer Grotz

Not only is the cover of this book gorgeous, but the poems inside are simply stunning.  I love how Grotz takes the reader on journeys from Texas to France.  Favorite poem: “Kiss of Judas.”  Fun fact: Grotz was my third reader for my undergrad creative honors thesis at the Univ. of Houston in 2006.

Ordinary Things by Jean Valentine

I love Valentine’s poems because of their strangeness and brevity.  Her word economy inspires me again and again.  This is my favorite book by her.  Favorite poem: “After Elegies.”

What the Living Do by Marie Howe

It doesn’t get better than this book by Marie Howe.  This book makes me weep and has inspired me in innumerable ways.  I turned to this book again and again when writing The Glass Crib and helped me come to terms via writing with the death of my brother when I was 16.  Favorite poem: “For Three Days.”

What is this thing called love by Kim Addonizio

This is such a smart, sexy book by a smart, sexy poet.  Favorite poem: “What Was.”

Deposition by Katie Ford

The Catholic girl in me loves how Ford dissects Christian narratives (Catholic ones, primarily) and weaves them with narratives of trauma.  Her fragmented writing helped me move from clear, straightforward narrative to a wilder, broken lyric.  Favorite poem: “The Shroud of Turin.”

Forth a Raven by Christina Davis

I love this book for many of the same reasons why I love Katie Ford’s book (and really, Jean Valentine’s).  Her poems are tiny, fragmented, but have a dazzling attention to detail.  Favorite poem: “Forth a Raven.”

Broken Helix by Dina Ben-Lev

My friend Matthew Siegel turned me on to this (out-of-print) book/poet when I was at Houston and I’m so very thankful.  No one else I know has ever heard of her, which is a shame.  This is the only full-length collection she’s done, and that was back in 1997.  It focuses on her search for identity as an adopted person, which, of course, if you know me, you can easily see the draw.  You can still find used copies of this book on Amazon or ebay for anywhere form $10-$40.  Favorite poem: “The Adopted Daughter’s Lucky Loop.”

Indeed I Was Pleased With The World by Mary Ruefle

Who doesn’t love the weirdness and lyricism of Mary Ruefle? This is by far my favorite book of poems by her.  Favorite poem: “Kiss of the Sun.”

Here, Bullet by Brian Turner

This book has been touted so many times, but if you’ve never heard of it, get thee to a bookstore right now! Turner’s work centers on his experiences in the US Army in Iraq and Bosnia.  This is a book of grit and no other book (except maybe Neon Vernacular from Yusef Komumyakaa) discusses war or a solder’s life better.  Favorite poem: “What Every Soldier Should Know.”

The Subsequent Blues by Gary Copeland Lilley

No one I know has ever heard of Lilley, and that’s a shame.  This is actually my husband’s book, which he bought at AWP in New York several years ago after hearing Kim Addonizio read from it.  This book is dark, witty, important, and just plain amazing.  Favorite poem: “Prayer to Saint James Byrd of Jasper, Texas.”

Sad Little Breathing Machine by Matthea Harvey

My friend Halli and I were Matthea Harvey groupies in college.  We took her Forms of Poetry class at Houston and fell in love with her way of looking at the possibilities of language and poetry.  This book is genius and if you’re trying to move yourself forward in writing, this will do the trick.  This is another book that helped me break out of my boring, staid narrative form.  Favorite poem: “Not So Much Miniature As Far Away.”

Stubborn by Jean Gallagher

This book is so important to me and gave me great inspiration for the writing of my first book, The Glass Crib.  Gallagher’s book creates interesting narratives that focus on Christian symbology, art, mysticism, and theology.  Favorite poem: “Stigmata.”

The Descent by Sophie Cabot Black

I’ve read this book at least half a dozen times and each time I discover something new.  I think that this is an important book due to the way it uncovers the human spirit in terms of nature, psyche, faith, damage, renewal.  The cover of the book actually inspired one of my own poems, “The Wounded Angel, 1903,” which appeared in The Glass Crib and on Poetry Daily in 2007.  Favorite poem: “Done For.”

The First Four Books of Poems by Louise Gluck

The essential Gluck.  I bought this after reading it in June 2005, when I was a fellow at the Bucknell Younger Poets Seminar at Bucknell University.  Consider it a primer.  If you’re a new poet, or a scholar of Gluck, it’s a fantastic resource.  Favorite poem: “The Egg.”

Some Ether by Nick Flynn

Like Matthea Harvey, my friend and I were Nick Flynn dorks as well in college.  I took two classes with him as an undergrad and during that time, I bought this book.  I really think I’ve read this book around 10 times.  It was inspiring to me because it helped me understand how to weave personal narrative without being melodramatic and how to break a line in an interesting way.  I think everyone needs to have this book.  Favorite poem: “My Mother Contemplating Her Gun.”

Song by Brigit Pegeen Kelly

BPK is awesome.  That is all.  And she’s the kindest soul I’ve ever met.  My love for her is unending.  Favorite poem: “Song.”

Trouble in Mind by Lucie Brock Broido

Claudia Rankine turned me on to Broido when I was her undergrad thesis advisee at UH and I’m eternally grateful.  This book helped me, in many ways like Flynn’s did, understand line breaks and form, but also how to build a broken lyric narrative.  Favorite poem: “The Halo That Would Not Light.”  That poem kills me.

To the Place of Trumpets by Brigit Pegeen Kelly

This book is long out of print, alas, but when my friend Matthew Siegel told me about it (and had his own copy), I dashed to Amazon.com used and ebay to find my own copy.  I got it for around $30, but I’ve seen people selling it for upwards of $800.  I highly, highly recommend this book, Kelly’s first, and in some ways like it better than Song.  Favorite poem: “Doing Laundry on Sunday.”

The Country Between Us by Carolyn Forche

There are so many reasons why this is one of my favorite books of all time.  It’s important for how it tackles the intersection of culture and politics, but tender in its discussion of human love.  While “The Colonel” (in this book) is one of my favorite poems in the world, I would have to say that my actual favorite poem in this book is “For the Stranger.”

Inspiration Reading List

20 Mar

Ever since I got back from AWP, I’ve felt inspired.  I have even started to make headway on what I think will become my third collection of poems.  It’s been almost five years (!) since I got my MFA from Bennington College, but I still practice their motto, “read 100 books, write one.”  I love this motto and find it so constructive and, yes, inspiring.  I actually began doing this in the semester before Bennington when I was working with Claudia Rankine on my senior honors thesis in creative writing.  Claudia made me an amazing reading list and opened doors to contemporary poetry that I never knew existed.

For my inspiration reading list for my new project, I have recycled some of these same books, added new ones, as well as books I’ve always meant to read, but never got around to doing so.  Here is my “right now” Inspiration Reading List:


Inspiration Reading!


What’s on my list:


1. A God in the House: Poets Talk About Faith Edited by Ilya Kaminsky and Katherine Towler

2. Forth a Raven by Christina Davis

3. Voices from an Early American Convent edited by Emily Clark

4. Glean by Joshua Kryah

5. Death Tractates by Brenda Hillman

6. Bright Existence by Brenda Hillman

7. The Good Thief by Marie Howe

8. Pinwheel by Marni Ludwig

9. Two-Headed Nightingale by Shara Lessley

10. The Kingdom of Ordinary Time by Marie Howe

11. Burnt Offerings by Timothy Liu

12. Start by Jean Gallagher

13. Stubborn by Jean Gallagher

14. Beautiful in the Mouth by Keetje Kuipers

15. On Looking: Essays by Lia Purpura

16. Assembling the Shepherd by Tessa Rumsey

17. The Wanton Sublime by Anna Rabinowitz

18. The Descent by Sophie Cabot Black

19. Dream of the Unified Field by Jorie Graham

20. To the Place of Trumpets by Brigit Pegeen Kelly

21. Trouble in Mind by Lucie Brock-Broido

22. Old and New Testaments by Lynn Powell


A few others that are on my list that are not pictured above: The Exchange by Sophie Cabot Black, Selected Levis, ed. David St. John, Elegy by Larry Levis, Autobiography of My Hungers by Rigoberto Gonzalez, An Ethic by Christina Davis, Pain, Parties, Work: Sylvia Plath in New York, Summer 1953 by Elizabeth Winder, and A Journey with Two Maps: Becoming a Woman Poet by Eavan Boland.


This extensive list will, I’m sure, keep me busy for a while!  What are the books on your inspiration list?  What books do you turn to again and again?  I’d love to hear your comments below!

The Next Big Thing

27 Jan

Thanks to TJ Jarrett, Julie Brooks Barbour, & Clare L. Martin for tagging me! I hope you enjoy my responses!

[Note: linked tags will be up when those who I have tagged have completed their responses.]

Upcoming Readings!

24 Sep

I just booked my flight/hotel for my readings in Northampton, MA & Shelburne Falls, MA the first week in Nov.  If you’re in the area, I’d love for you to drop by!  I will be reading from my newly released second book, The Wishing Tomb, winner of the 2012 Perugia Press Award.



I’m also gearing up to read in New Orleans w/ the 17 Poets Reading Series in the French Quarter!  A complete list of my upcoming readings can be found here.

The Front Row!

2 Aug


I had the opportunity to sit down with Catherine Lu, Associate Producer of Houston’s The Front Row on Tuesday (along with local performance poet, Joe Palmore) to discuss my second book, The Wishing Tomb.  It was a wonderful experience that I won’t soon forget!


The interview, which included me reading one of my poems from the book, aired today at noon on KUHA 91.7, will re-air tonight on KUHF 88.7 (both are NPR affiliates).  If you don’t live in the Houston area, a podcast will be available shortly here.


In conjunction with this interview, I will be reading this Saturday, August 4, at 2 PM at the McGovern-Stella Link Neighborhood Library as part of Houston’s Public Poetry Reading Series.  I will have copies of both of my books (which you can buy here and here if you’re not in the area), which I promise to sign with sweet nothings of appreciation 😉

Now Available!

22 Jul
The day is here!  My second book, The Wishing Tomb, winner of the 2012 Perugia Press Award, is now available for sale from Perugia Press!  Buy it here!

Advanced Praise for The Wishing Tomb:

The Wishing Tomb is a lyric history of New Orleans’ beauty and brutality, both human and environmental. Amanda Auchter is a poet of rare elegance and dexterity who writes just as movingly about gunshot as she does the markings of brick-scratch left on the tomb of Marie Laveau. Every city deserves the subtle attention of such a poet, a poet brave and nimble enough to touch every line of the city’s rough, loved, and disastrous skin.” —Katie Ford

“In these textured, deftly-crafted stanzas, Amanda Auchter romances the grit, the rampant spice, the twang, the mystery, the brick, the swelter, and the insistent hallelujah conjured by the Crescent City. This sparkling, defiant love story pays tribute to NOLA on the upswing, while remembering how often it has teetered on the edge of descent.” —Patricia Smith