Cohen, Samuel, and Lee Konstantinou, eds. The Legacy of David Foster Wallace. Iowa City: U of Iowa P, 2012.
I ordered this book at a discounted price at the Modern Language Association bookfair last month, and it finally arrived this week. As I’ve mentioned numerous times here, I am a big fan of Wallace’s work, especially Infinite Jest. I am happy to see that scholars are actively writing about him, as his work certainly deserves canonization. I would love to teach Infinite Jest sometime, but it is so large that one would really need to devote an entire course to it. His first short story collection, Girl With Curious Hair, will have to suffice.
Jackson, Lawrence P. The Indignant Generation: A Narrative History of African American Writers and Critics, 1934-1960. Princeton: Princeton UP, 2011.
I bought this volume at a discount from Labyrinth Books, which is the premier independent seller of scholarly books in the United States. The book covers the period of twentieth century African American literature that I know the least about even though several of my favorite authors, including James Baldwin and Gwendolyn Brooks, were active during it, so I am excited to read the text in order to remedy this gap.
I just updated the main photograph for the site (what Facebook would call the “cover photo”). It is a picture of one of my favorite shelves in the poetry section of my library. The photograph includes some of my favorite poets and one of my favorite books of poetry, William Blake’s Songs of Innocence and of Experience, which is a beautifully reproduced combined volume of Blake’s engravings for Songs of Innocence and Songs of Experience published by Oxford University Press.
Blake is followed on the shelf by Di Brandt, my second favorite poet after Frank O’Hara. I have all of her books (her first collection, questions i asked my mother, is still my favorite), as well as a selection of her poems edited by Tanis MacDonald. Gwendolyn Brooks is next. Her Selected Poems only goes through 1963, so I have several of her later collections as well, which I enjoy not only for their content but also aesthetically, as I am a collector of old Broadside Press volumes.
Sterling A. Brown’s Collected Poems, which I read for my Ph.D. exams and thus feel sentimental towards, follows. Ana Castillo’s My Father Was a Toltec and Selected Poems contains some enjoyable work, although I prefer her fiction.
Other highlights on the shelf are C.P. Cavafy’s Complete Poems, which I enjoy because of their unabashed homoeroticism, and Sandra Cisneros’s Loose Woman, which is one of the best single collections of poems that I’ve ever read. I read a lot of Lucille Clifton when I first began investigating poetry, and think of her fondly even though I haven’t returned to her work for some time.