When I first read Sharon Olds at 17 or 18 years old, specifically how she wrote about family, I realized that poetry could be relevant to me AND I could write directly about my experiences.
Beloved – Toni Morrison
Reading Beloved when I was in college was like finding a new room in my mind I hadn’t know about before.
Legend of a Suicide – David Vann
I love this collection for its intricate structure, the intense sense of place (Alaska), and how it takes on familial and multi-generational violence. David Vann might be the only author of whom I’ve read everything they’ve written.
Shadow Tag – Louise Erdrich
This is a dark, lyrical novel, grounded in an interior, familial narrative. The ending of this novel is devastating.
Idaho – Emily Ruskovich
This novel came out recently, in 2017. I recommend it to anyone I can. It starts in unbelievable violence and loss and ends in connection.
Caitlin Scarano is a writer based in the North Cascades in Washington state. She holds a PhD from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and an MFA from the University of Alaska Fairbanks. She was selected as a participant in the NSF’s Antarctic Artists & Writers Program and spent November 2018 in McMurdo Station in Antarctica. Her debut collection of poems, Do Not Bring Him Water, was released in Fall 2017 by Write Bloody. Her latest, hybrid chapbook, The Hatchet and the Hammer, is forthcoming from Ricochet Editions (launching at AWP 2020).