My bookshelf is meticulously organized. The first shelf houses books of poetry. The second and third shelves are home to novels, organized by how much I love them. The fourth shelf is where nonfiction books lay.
When I last visited these poetry books, I was telling you which lines from them broke my heart. Now, I’d like to take it one step further. Here are my favorite poetry books and their novel soulmates:
If you loved No Matter the Wreckage by Sarah Kay, try picking up The Interestings by Meg Wolitzer. Sarah Kay’s writing is raw and honest. No detail of life is too small for her to examine in her poems. In The Interestings, Wolitzer follows Jules Jacobson through her teenage years and into her adult life as she struggles to come to terms with who she is and what that means for her life. Wolitzer manages to capture Jules (and her group of best friends) as they answer these questions. What we learn about Jules and what Kay shows us in her debut book of poetry is nothing short of the meticulous examination of life as they know it.
If you loved Chloe by Kristina Haynes, look for Cherry by Mary Karr on your next trip to the bookstore. The same themes flow through both books- youth, loss, love- and both Haynes and Carr manage to tackle these daunting and complicated topics with ease. Karr’s memoir about her adolescent and teenage years is both haunting and beautiful. I can’t help but think Chloe and Mary would have found similar pieces of themselves in each other. Your heart will ache at the end of both of these books and you’ll move forward with a deeper knowledge of the awful and brilliant nature of being young. These books will nestle themselves into the corner of your heart and you’ll find yourself reaching for them again and again.
If you loved Mouthful of Forevers by Clementine von Radics, you should definitely check White Oleander by Janet Fitch out from your local library. The stunning lyricism of von Radics’ poems echo Fitch’s novel about a young woman whose mother is imprisoned for killing her lover. Fitch and von Radics take us along their journeys to finding out the answers to two crucial questions. Where is home? Where is love?
If you loved Crush by Richard Siken, the next book you should read is Let the Great World Spin by Colum McCann. McCann’s hugely ambitious and dazzling novel tells the story of a summer day in 1974 New York City. Suspended between the Twin Towers are tightropes and while the people below them break each other’s hearts, curse death, and try to find their way to each other, one man walks across the sky above their heads. McCann pulls you into lives that seem entirely ordinary until you look a bit closer and realize that something extraordinary happens to each of us everyday. This quality is something found in Siken’s work, as he translates normal events into breathtaking language, exposing the remarkable veins that run under each life.
Fortesa Latifi is a 21-year old poet. Her first book, This Is How We Find Each Other was published through Where Are You Press in 2014. She hopes you find something good here. She knows you will.