Let Evening Come by Jane Kenyon
There was a quiet authority in her poems. I admired the precision with which she could break your heart. From reading her work, I learned to reveal more in my poems by being a ruthless editor.
Written on the Body by Jeanette Winterson
This is challenging, shamelessly passionate and deliciously literary. I am an absolute fangirl of this woman. I love her wit, her intellect, her queerness and her mastery.
Little, Big by John Crowley
An inventive and surprising modern fairy tale that takes its time while still managing to be a wild ride. One of my favorite books of all time because of its beautiful language and complexity.
The Woman Who Fell from the Sky by Joy Harjo
I worked in a store that sold crafts made by women of indigenous cultures; it had a small books and tapes section. This book sat on my lap behind the cash register and I read the poems over and over between customers. This was the book that freed me as a writer.
The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion
This memoir imprinted on my soul the way a book does when you read it at just the right moment in your life. I had just lost someone, and Didion described grief in what felt like my own internal language. You know when people say “there are no words?” Well, these are the words.
Mo Lynn Stoycoff is a writer and visual artist from Central California. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Poetry Now, The Tule Review, The American Journal of Poetry and the anthologies Di-Verse-City and 100 Poems.