Thursday, July 7, 2011

From the Blue: Contributors Read and Recommend #4

In round 4 of our contributor interview series we spoke with Jim Daniel’s. Jim’s new and forthcoming collections include Having a Little Talk with Capital P Poetry, (Carnegie Mellon University Press), From Milltown to Malltown, a collaborative book with photographer Charlee Brodsky and writer Jane McCafferty (Marick Press), and All of the Above (Adastra Press).

What are you reading now?

I’m reading Memory Wall, stories by Anthony Doerr. He’s one of the best short story writers to emerge in recent years. I taught at Carnegie Mellon’s campus in Qatar a couple of years ago. One of my students gave me a copy of his earlier book The Shell Collector, and I loved it. He’s just a complete original, and I learn a lot from reading him. On the poetry side, I’m finally getting a chance to sink into the books I bought at the AWP Conference way back in February I think. I tend to read a lot of books of poetry simultaneously rather than read one all the way through, so I’m in the middle of a number of them.

What else have you been reading this summer?

A couple of smaller presses, Red Hen Press and Anhinga, have both been publishing some great books: Vanishing Horizon, which I think is Gerry LaFemina’s best book so far, and Michael Hettich’s Like Happiness. He’s one of those poets who has flown beneath the radar but has consistently produces strong work. Same with Bill Trowbridge’s Ship of Fools. He’s one of our great comic poets. I should give a shout out to Tropicalia, a very impressive debut book I just finished by Emma Trelles, who was my student back at Florida International University in 1993. Two other books I have my markers in now: Working in Flower by Jeff Friedman and Closing the Hotel Kitchen by Robert Bohm. Both strong, spirited voices.

I’ve got a big stack of summer books lined up. As usual, I expect not to get through them all, despite my best intentions. I’m always looking for fresh, new voices, and I hope to find some more this summer.

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