- Minima Moralia
- The Arcades Project – I like books about everything.
- The Collected Books of Jack Spicer – He is my favorite poet. This Black Sparrow book is sadly out of print, but you can generally find the books individually.
- She Comes First – I don’t know how many times I’ve recommended this book. When Jack read it, my life literally changed.
- He Comes Next – This is the opposite sex version.
- Le Ton beau de Marot: In Praise of the Music of Language – My best friend’s mom, a judge, gave this book to me in high school. It ended up being the cornerstone of my research for my senior thesis. It’s beautiful and funny, which is sometimes rare for books about linguistics.
- The Penguin Dictionary of Symbols – All creative writers should own this, and anyone who reads literature passionately will adore finding the stories from all cultures and eras about a particular symbol.
- The Oxford English Dictionary
- Farewell Waltz – I fell in love with Milan Kundera in high school, and I think I’ve read almost all of his books by now. Of course, most people start with the Unbearable Lightness of Being, but the two I stuck in here are truly dreamy.
- Life is Elsewhere
- The Idea of a University
- Death in Venice – Thomas Mann, so naughty.
- A Working Girl Can’t Win – I have a crush on Deborah Garrison.
- Poeta en San Francisco
- Artificial Heart – My relationship with Peter Gizzi has always been limited to brief correspondence, but his former students have passed on his lessons well. The best one: “Don’t worry about being a great poet, just worry about writing great poems.” The bird poem is in this book.
- Interviews with Francis Bacon – He’s not my favorite artist, but this is a collection of interviews that really gets inside the head of how we work. Not just process and inspiration, but how it is the artist’s job to connect and disconnect, to make sense and then pull out the rug, and then ride it around in the sky.
- The Dirty Halo of Everything – My friend Geoff wrote this one. And it pretty much changed how I approached form in poetry. But it’s also achingly beautiful.
- The Theater and its Double – Artaud was so hot.
I’m currently reading The Fire: Collected Essays of Robin Blaser, Word Myths, and The Chocolate Connoisseur.