Carmen Maria Machado
Carmen’s prose never fails to astound me: her memoir, In The Dream House, is an incisive memoir of survival and healing organized by narrative tropes. I love her precise language and her work’s awareness of itself.
I’m an avid programmer and poet, and Franny Choi’s poetry book SOFT SCIENCE thrilled me. Their explorations of agency, Asian-American daughterhood, and femininity resonate deeply for their embrace of subjectivity and formal daring.
Mary Oliver was the first poet I ever loved. From a craft standpoint, I continue to be inspired by the way she asserts the self even in seemingly “descriptive” poems about the natural world.
I read Ordinary Beast this fall, and was struck by the book’s engagement with the hypothetical. I also loved Sealey’s cento, “Cento for the Night I Said, “I Love You.”
Fernandes is a new love for me: my mentor, Claudia Cortese, introduced me to her, and she’s been one of my favorite writers ever since. Her poems give me permission to exist as I am, and I am ever-grateful to the poems and poets that encourage me to claim space.
Gaia Rajan lives in Andover, MA. She’s the Managing Editor of The Courant. Her work has previously appeared or is forthcoming in Rust+Moth, Hobart, Kissing Dynamite, Glass Poetry, Eunoia Review, Mineral Lit, and elsewhere. She hopes you have a wonderful day.