Tuesday, June 14, 2011

From the Blue: Contributors Read and Recommend #1

It's officially summer time here in Bloomington, IN and the Indiana Review staff is excited about the latest issue 33.1. With that, we began to wonder what everyone else was reading this summer, since it does seem to be a time for reading and looking forward to new works coming out in the fall. So, to celebrate the new issue and the wonderful writers it contains, we thought it would be fun to ask our contributors a few questions about what they are reading.

Our first contributor "interview" is with John Gallaher, whose piece "In Your Neighborhood Dream" appears in our latest issue. Gallaher is the author of four books of poetry, most recently Map of the Folded World, from The University of Akron Press, and Your Father on the Train of Ghosts, co-authored with G.C. Waldrep, from BOA Editions. He’s co-editor of The Laurel Review.

What are you reading right now?

I just arrived home from a week away and these three books were waiting for me:
Kathleen Ossip. The Cold War (Sarabande, 2011)
Lisa Fishman. Flower Cart (Ahsahta, 2011)
C. Dale Young. TORN (Four Way Books, 2011)
I’m reading all three at something like the same time.  I like doing that.  It makes it feel like a dinner party.  Yes, Kathy, and what do you think about that C. Dale, Lisa? 

What else have you been reading this summer?

I was really interested in what the new book by Michael Palmer, Thread (New Directions, 2011) was going to be like, as well as the new book by Dean Young, Fall Higher (Copper Canyon, 2011).  I read them while travelling.  I also read John Beer’s The Waste Land and Other Poems (Canarium Books, 2010).

What book started it all for you?

This is a fairly complex question, depending on how I think of “started it all.”  The first books of poetry I owned were back in High School, two anthologies.  The Caterpillar Anthology, edited by Clayton Eshleman.  And Chief Modern Poets of England and America, edited by M.L. Rosenthal, et al.  That probably started it all, I guess. 

The first single-author collection I bought with my own money was Robert Lowell’s Selected Poems, followed by Charles Wright’s Country Music: Selected Early Poems, and then Jorie Graham’s Region of Unlikeness.  By that time I guess I was already hooked.  But there are always new books I come across that start it all all over again.  John Ashbery’s first Selected Poems.  Martha Ronk’s Eyeshot.  Rae Armantrout’s Up to Speed. 

And then going back and reading the actual books from the modernists, rather than just their selections in anthologies.  Wallace Stevens’s Collected Poems.  Gertrude Stein’s Tender Buttons.  A big revelation was reading William Carlos Williams’s Spring & All in its original.  It’s a much more radical book than his Selected Poems would suggest. 

Stay tuned for the next installment of Contributors Read & Recommend.

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