Once, Then – Andrea Scarpino
Out of all the poetry books in my collection, this is the book I probably go to the most when I’m writing. I think what interests me about Once, Then, is a combination of the size & style of the poems on the page, the subject matter of each poem (the hardships of losing a parent), & the overall beauty & craft of each poem. It’s the kind of book I wish I could write.
The Kitchen-Dweller’s Testimony – Ladan Osman
I’m a sucker for landscape in poetry. In the The Kitchen-Dweller’s Testimony, Osman describes a place that I know well, Columbus Ohio, but a world within that landscape that I had very little knowledge of before I read this book; that of the displaced refugee & the struggles & obstacles each refugee faces in trying to establish an identity in a new place, while constantly being made to feel like an outsider. It’s brilliant. I read it at least once or twice a year.
Lamp of The Body – Maggie Smith
Landscape. Place. Family. Columbus. These are my sweet spots. This is Lamp of the Body— another book I turn to often when I am writing. It’s also a book I teach each year to my freshman creative writing students. My students are eager to write ‘Good Bones’; but I’m quick to tell them, there is no Good Bones without Lamp of the Body, first.
Hybrida – Tina Chang
Tina Chang is a SUNY Binghamton graduate & I will forever support my fellow Bearcats. I recently picked up a copy of her new book Hybrida when I was visiting a friend in New York & I love the shear creativity of her work. Her use of images, syntax & prose; she is quite literally a creative writer, which is something I always strive to be. Chang is a writer I really look up to & want to be like. Hybrida is one of my favorites of 2019, for sure.
The Twenty-Nine Years – Hala Alyan
My friend Leah gave this book to me as a gift this past summer & I swear to you, I read it every day for a month straight. I take it with me a lot when I travel. The breadth, the beauty, the edge in each of these poems is something I can’t see anybody else replicating. Also, strangely, I just like the feel, smell & colors of the book itself. I can’t really explain it. Is that weird? Maybe.
Adam J. Gellings is a poet and instructor from Columbus, Ohio. His poems have appeared in numerous journals and magazines, including DIALOGIST, The Louisville, Willow Springs and in the anthologies Best New Poets 2017 and New Poetry From the Midwest. He received his MFA in Creative Writing from Ashland University and his PhD in English from SUNY Binghamton, where he served as poetry editor of Harpur Palate. He currently teaches at Columbus College of Art & Design.