Paterson – William Carlos Williams

Williams was, by virtue of precise images, a man who dismantled convention, and deconstructed the form in creating this, a necessary American epic poem. It’s more than a surreal ode to a city in Northern Jersey, or a response to contemporaries – it’s creating a titan from words and brick.

Trilce – Cesar Vallejo

It doesn’t matter if you have a command of Spanish or English, Vallejo’s series of poems on this book knocks you down with its violent mechanism and you won’t be able to truly understand it for years. It is parallel to The Waste Land in a sense, but the difference is Vallejo’s choice of new phrases and radical thought dances with a dire moment in time and ends with something transcendent.

Phonogram Vol. 2: The Singles Club – Kieron Gillen/Jamie McKelvie

An urban fantasy story where music is magic and one night in a dance club becomes a love letter to heartbreak, self-destruction, reinvention, and reckless abandon. Gillen is a driving force in my writing – clever and introspective, pushing me to search for new sounds while reminding me to dive within and pull out the vision from the deep.

Saul Williams

Slam poetry’s master shaman has always found a way to conjure something real but awe-inspiring at the same time through his spoken word pieces. Whether in music form or in poetry, Williams evokes the feelings we hide beneath the chains of racial tension and gender norms that hold back modern society.

The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao – Junot Diaz

Once again I return to Jersey, and it’s Diaz’s magic realist take on the world that I know intimately that drew me into his Spanglish neologisms, forlorn protagonist, and nerdy references. The first time I read the book it felt like I was talking to a guy at the bodega who noticed the copy of Dune spilling out of my bag.

Jesus Garay is a Peruvian-American writer based in New Jersey. His work has appeared in CHORUS – A Literary Mixtape by Saul Williams, PALABRITAS Magazine and Gutter Magazine. When he is not doing his 9-to-5 he is writing haiku inspired by the song he is listening to at that moment.

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