Fall Reading List

During my final MFA residency last month, one of our visiting artists — poet, teacher and activist Carolyn Forché — recommended reading by season. She was focusing on poetry but she had suggestions for fiction and nonfiction as well. Her advice was to select a few authors and dive deep for a season. Get commentaries and critical texts to supplement the work and make an intentional study of the writing.

Because I just spent two years writing nothing but nonfiction, I decided that Fall will be a season to study fiction. Specifically characterization and character development to fuel some fiction writing of my own. I also selected a poet to sink into and a few other supplemental texts. Here’s what I came up with.

Alice Mattison

In Case We’re Separated: Connected Stories
The Kite & the String (craft)
Men Giving Money, Women Yelling: Intersecting Stories

Elizabeth Strout

Olive Kitteridge
Olive, Again
Anything is Possible
Abide with Me
Amy & Isabelle

Walt Whitman

Leaves of Grass
Song of Myself – Complete Commentary by Ed Folsom & Christopher Merrill

Craft related:

The Art of Fiction by John Gardner
How Fiction Works by James Wood
On Becoming a Novelist by John Gardner
Story Genius by Lisa Cron

Also currently reading:

How We Fight for Our Lives by Saeed Jones
Wearing God by Lauren Winner
On Vanishing: Mortality, Dementia & What it Means to Disappear by Lynn Casteel Harper
American Sonnets for My Past and Future Assassin by Terrance Hayes