1. The Re-Visionist by Miranda Mellis. I read this book on Christmas Day 2012, cover to cover, laying on a couch at my mom's house in New Jersey, so deliciously delighted to fall into a 80 page book that was so tissue-and-machines-and-
feathers-beautiful; I only put down once around page 60 to refill my tea, then finish. I've been re-reading it ever since.
2. The Botanical Garden by Ellen Welcker. "I'm drawing a map, my loves…" I got this book at SPT's 2011 Open House on a rainy rainy afternoon. I bought it because of it's cute size. (it's square.) I think I re-read it every other month. It's like Bhanu Kapil's Humanimal meets Notley's Descent of Alette's quotation marks. HEART.
3. The Importance of Iceland by Eileen Myles. I bought this book at the Mills bookstore because I was bored of work that day. I needed a sugar high. The cover is a delicious Tiffany-box-blue. It's a book of essays; I read on the plane from CA to NJ and it's full of fantastic little conversation bits that colored many later bar conversations. It also serendipitously mentioned Robert Smithson who I have been thinking about and also mentioned, in the same paragraph, Paterson by William Carlos Williams. Since I grew up next to Paterson, and was going home, I read Paterson when I got there. Double!
4. Testimony by Reyznikoff. Stephanie Young lent it to me. I read sections of it every month of so. I like it. It court testimony turned into poems. There's so much place and character and, obviously, conflict, so 5-20 page bites is all I want to take in.
5. The New World Border: Prophecies, Poems, and Loqueras for the End of the Century by Guillermo Gomez-Peña. My friend Lisa Nowlain lent me this book. I read it at home, on the plane and on subways. It's essays and poems and performance texts so I enjoyed flipping it open and reading it in whatever order I chose, whatever piece caught my eye. It's a book that has popped up in many later conversations. I feel full when I read this book. Excited. But, like Poet's Theater, all the pieces are so rich and different, I felt a little bonkers when I read three in a row. Total fan-crush on the author. My office was his green room once for a performance, and he left his half-drank coffee and eyeliner and half-eaten brie and fruit plate on my desk for me to clean up in the morning, which has tempered any fantasy that he's not a real human.
P.S. Excited to read in 2012: Green is the New Red: An Insider's Account of a Social Movement Under Seige by Will Potter. My comrade Tony recommended it to me. Let's get a fresh understanding of one contingent of today's political prisoners! And Playbook for Progressives: 16 Qualities of the Successful Organizer by Eric Mann. I took this off my friend Rachel's shelf in NY and began reading it, but had to leave it in her apartment. (She's organizing domestic workers and their employers in NYC- the next wave of the labor movement!) So catchy, inspiring and also whewwww, let's get to workin!