Reading Shakespeare taught me – still teaches me – about inventiveness of language, about rhythm and sound, about the human condition. I never get tired of seeing it performed or returning to the plays and the sonnets.

Herman Melville

Melville’s long, dream-like sentences and depictions of moral uncertainty have fascinated me since I first read them 40+ years ago. His language is rhythmic and hymn-like, almost like a lullaby.

Maggie Nelson – Bluets

This is a book I adore. Its attention to detail, its research, its raw emotion, its unusual structure & its commitment to its subject all amaze and instruct me with each re-reading. I came late to this book, and it will remain in heavy rotation.

Harper Lee – To Kill A Mockingbird

I first met Scout & Atticus in middle school, and then taught the book to middle schoolers for over twenty years, although it has started to fall out of favor for more modern books. I still identify deeply with Scout, sassy, curious and smart, whose father guides her to understand the world through his own behavior.

Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen

I was introduced to the Bennetts in high school by my favorite English teacher, Sister Angele, who gave me the book to read over the summer to read, saying she thought I was “an Elizabeth” and that I would know what that meant at the end. It is still one of the favorite compliments I have ever received from a teacher! And such the perfect blend of intelligence, structure, and romance.

Donna Vorreyer is the author of Every Love Story is an Apocalypse Story (2016) and A House of Many Windows (2013), both from Sundress Publications. Her poems, reviews, and essays have appeared in Rhino, Tinderbox Poetry, Poet Lore, Sugar House Review, Waxwing, Whale Road Review, and many other journals. Her third full-length collection is forthcoming in 2020 from Sundress.

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