Black Boy – Richard Wright

When I read this as a junior in high school, this book made me fall in love with literature itself. Wright infused the poetic into his prose, and it was a transformative experience to read for the first time.

Middlesex – Jeffrey Eugenides

This is an epic novel that explores the human genome and the decline of Detroit through the 20th century. This family saga is at the center of this story, but it’s so much more than just a family saga.

Suck on the Marrow – Camille Dungy

As Dungy takes persona poetry to epic heights, her poetic voice lives in the skin of nineteenth-century American slaves. Her poetry transplants a reader into this historical setting.

Budget Travel Through Space and Time – Albert Goldbarth

Goldbarth connects seemingly distant subjects through the grace of his poetry. When a poet finds previously hidden connections in the world, that’s when poetry as a genre is most alive.

Mayakovsky’s Revolver – Matthew Dickman

While Dickman stands on the shoulders of Goldbarth, Mayakovsky’s Revolver infuses more of the personal narrative. At the same time, his poems connect seemingly disparate thoughts into their own graceful rhythm.

Keith Mark Gaboury earned a M.F.A. in creative writing from Emerson College. His poems have appeared in such publications as Poetry Quarterly and New Millennium Writings along with forthcoming chapbooks through Duck Lake Books and The Pedestrian Press. Keith lives in Oakland, California. Learn more at http://www.keithmgaboury.com.

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