T. S. Eliot

The Wasteland and The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock are poems that I return to again and again.

Labyrinths – Christopher Okigbo

I was lucky enough to be introduced to Okigbo while studying the Modernists. His poetry fuses references from the Western literary canon in a cut and paste style with the rhythms, rituals, and mythology of the Igbo tradition in a lyrical maze of references. His work is concerned with themes of destruction, creation and rites of passage. The effect is profoundly moving, human and transcendent.

Ariel – Sylvia Plath

Reading Ariel for the first time as a teenager, it was one of those moments where I realised, yes, this is what I want to do.

H. P. Lovecraft

Cosmic and gothic horror has a way of opening us up to the mystery of an ineffable, and often dark, universe and, as such, is one of the most enjoyable acts of escapism from sterile modern life. The pure thrill of mystery, family curses, ancient orders and fits of portentous madness is reason enough to read. Over recent years, I’ve become a huge fan of H. P. Lovecraft and Weird Fiction in general – it’s inspired me to try my hand at writing horror and is a passion I share with my partner.

A Confederacy of Dunces – John Kennedy Toole

Recommended to me by my dad, Ignatius J. Reilly is one of the most ridiculous characters ever put to paper. Imagine a modern day Don Quixote, but in his 30’s and living with his mother in 60’s New Orleans. Ignatius is just one of those characters you could listen to rant about paint drying and I’m sure it would be the most entertaining thing you’ve ever heard.

Illy Kotz is an English-Hungarian artist, writer and poet living in Bristol. She is currently writing her debut poetry book, Crying in Utopia. You can find more of Illy’s writing and paintings at cowboykimlikesshootingstars.com, on Twitter @illykotzwrites and Instagram @cowboykiminc.

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