- Book Recommendations from Our Advisory Editors
Ann Beattie recommends Forty Martyrs by Philip F. Deaver: “These are grown-up stories about grownups. Subtly linked and beautifully written, their subject is loss (and possible redemption), played against a backdrop of Everywhere, America, that, in his hands, isn’t.”
Robert Boswell recommends Calle Florista by Connie Voisine: “This is a remarkable book by one of our best poets, one of those rare books that is unflinching in its honesty and yet makes the reader grateful to be part of the show.”
Jane Hirshfield recommends Works On Paper by Jennifer Barber: “winner of The Word Works’ 2015 Tenth Gate Prize is a book of etched clarities and deftly subtle deepenings. Virtually every page is weighted with the resonance and harmonics of meaning that can only be found by way of poetry’s particular seeing. Barber is a poet of acute perception, sensibility, range, and gesture. She draws her statements equally from the detailed, discernable known and from a sane acknowledgment of our ultimate unknowing. These poems of our interconnected lives, loves, questions, and losses are vessels carrying sustenance palpably needed—as water, yeast, honey, and flour are needed, and kneaded, for bread.”
Tony Hoagland recommends Finestra’s Window by Patricia Corbus: “This poet you’ve never heard of is superb, figuratively and rhetorically adroit; she has the streamlined playfulness of her poetic lineage, Wallace Stevens and Mary Ruefle, and like them she has poignant depths, and existential gravitas.” Also, Hoagland is reading and already rereading Vivian Gornick’s The Odd Woman and the City: “Gornick simply can’t be praised enough; her genius for psychological directness, her penetrating meditations on her life and what literature means to the making of culture and humanity—her sensibility itself testifies to the joy and worth of the examined life.”
Maura Stanton recommends Can I Finish, Please? by Catherine Bowman: “This marvelous book is full of passion and obsession. Everything sticks to a walking stick, the ghost of a big blue wolf dog goes Ahroooooo, and James Schuyler shows up on the ferry pulling out of Boston Harbor.”
Gerald Stern recommends the immediate rereading of Howard Zinn’s A People’s History of the United States as a background reader for current elections.
Rosanna Warren recommends The Fate of Ideas by Robert Boyers: “To read Robert Boyers is to take a walk with an ebulliently talkative, erudite, and unpredictable companion. Veering from gossip to aphorism to analysis, Boyers muses about integrity, beauty, fidelity, art, politics, and [End Page 150] friendship. We are invited to think alongside Susan Sontag, Karl Kraus, Lionel Trilling, Zadie Smith, Adam Zagajewski, Clement Greenberg, Frank Kermode, and any number of other provocative souls. Boyers lives his ideas and makes them lively. This is not an academic book. It’s a book that takes the pleasure of thinking seriously, and makes it palpable.”