Native Guard – Natasha Trethewey
This was one of the most formative books I was introduced to. An excruciating and beautiful exploration of upbringing, loss, and familial history, each page contains something to be blown away by.
Night Sky With Exit Wounds – Ocean Vuong
Ocean Vuong is a phenomenal story teller, and this collection captivates me with the way it collides delicacy and violence. This is a work that requires its space, and takes it.
Zami: A New Spelling of My Name– Audre Lorde
My first reading of this book was revolutionary for me. I was nineteen, a girl of color 2,000 miles away from home for the first time, at the start of my own life while having to confront and remedy my past and personal history, witnessing how Lorde detailed and reclaimed her life was impactful. It’s an autobiography, but an example of how women of color have the power to own and write the mythology of their own lives
Selected Poems- Gwendolyn Brooks
This book has been a favorite of mine for nearly my whole life. Gwendolyn Brooks was one of the first poets I was introduced to, and this collection of her essential works is one I return to again and again.
I was introduced to the work of Warsan Shire through Beyoncé’s Lemonade album when I was 16, and she is someone who I also consider to be formative to my growth as a storyteller, and whose words helped me navigate my own experiences in womanhood, particularly brown womanhood and diasporic womanhood. She was also crucial in helping a teenage me confront and transcend my own relationship with belonging and displacement.
Lauren Licona is a Latinx poet based in Boston, MA. Her work can be found in diode poetry journal, Glass: A Journal of Poetry, The Acentos Review, tenderness lit, and elsewhere. She represented Emerson College at CUPSI in 2019 and is a FEMSlam 2018 finalist, a 2019 Pushcart Prize Nominee, and a Vox Pop 2019 Champion. She is currently working towards her BA in Writing, Literature, & Publishing at Emerson College. You can catch her on twitter @douxrose_