Books to Read
Mythology of Touch Mary Stone Dockery, Woodley Press, 2012
Mary Stone Dockery writes the kind of poems that you consume and let stick to your ribs: this collection is hearty, heavy, and rich. Dockery’s poems strip naked and bare all, and when they touch you, they fulgurate. She’s ambitious in content, unafraid and unashamed to tackle big game topics like grief, infidelity, abortion, and lustful passion. But she’s tender too, and her poems are the kind that will move you deeply. Her images are vivid, surprising, surreal, and strange. And her messages are honest in the rawest sense: she’s a new feminist poet to keep your eye on.
Are You My Mother? Alison Bechdel, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2012
On the one hand, Bechdel is amazing because she holds her own alongside male legends of the comic book world like Art Spiegelman, Craig Thompson, and Daniel Clowes. On the other hand, she’s amazing because she’s entirely original. She seamlessly highlights her memoir by using allusions to other literature: in this collection, she tracks her journey alongside her readings of psychoanalyst Donald Winnicott and Virginia Woolf—making the story of herself and her mother textured, complex, confounding, and beautiful. Also, you can pour over her illustrations for days. It’s the kind of book you are actually sad to finish: it’s literature and art of the highest aesthetic quality.
This Is How You Lose Her Junot Diaz, Penguin, 2012
It’s been a long time since I fell in love with Diaz’s reoccurring character, Yunior, but this book was worth the wait. His newest collection of linked stories simultaneously explores the heart’s cruelest capabilities of betrayal and its most aching longings and sufferings. This is a book that closely explores the effects of societal prescribed notions of masculinity on individuals and how this collides with the most universal human instinct that all genders and cultures share: to love each other fully, unconditionally, and passionately—a yearning that can drive us to a love that is obsessive and destructive. Diaz will make you laugh, then cry, then pause and ponder his profound wisdom and depth—all in one story. He shows his range in this collection as well: he writes one story in the voice of a woman and a couple of other stories in the second person. You will read the repetitive, accusatory “You” and start to let the speaker be a mirror to reflect deeply upon those you have loved and lost.
Anne Champion is the author of Reluctant Mistress (Gold Wake Press, 2013). Her poems have appeared in Pank Magazine, The Comstock Review, Thrush Poetry Journal, Poetry Quarterly, Cider Press Review, The Aurorean, and elsewhere. She was a recipient of the Academy of American Poet’s Prize, a nominee for the St. Botolph Emerging Writer’s Grant, and a participant in the Squaw Valley Community of Writers Poetry Workshop.
She holds degrees in Behavioral Psychology and Creative Writing from Western Michigan University and received her MFA in Poetry from Emerson College. She currently teaches writing and literature at Emerson College, Wheelock College, and Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences in Boston, MA. She also serves as a poetry reader for Ploughshares.