Each poem, story, memoir and novel I read — and each play and opera — brings something to me and changes me. I think of this world of language and stories as constantly moving and swirling around and through each of us. As a writer, I consciously and — I’m sure — unconsciously listen for new ideas and approaches to my own writing, as I read and listen. So in this sense, as with all of us, my sense of what’s possible in my writing is inspired and transformed by what other writers create.
Having said this, I will confess that I do have a core of literature I hold closest to my heart. Here is a list of some of the literature I love most and have found most important to my own writing. I could add hundreds more, yet these rise to the top, always.
To the Lighthouse – Virginia Woolf
The Tempest and other plays – William Shakespeare
The Metamorphoses – Ovid
“Lifting Belly” and Four Saints in Three Acts -Gertrude Stein
A Room with a View and Howards End – E.M. Forster
The Bluest Eye and Beloved – Toni Morrison
A Small Place and My Brother, Jamaica Kincaid
A Pale View of Hills and The Remains of the Day – Kazuo Ishiguro
The Wings of the Dove and other fiction – Henry James
“The Garden Party” and other stories – Katherine Mansfield
Charming Billy and Child of My Heart – Alice McDermott
Atlantis, Still Life with Oysters and Lemon, and Dog Days – Mark Doty
Mary Oliver’s poetry
Children’s book influences: too many to count! Of the myriad books that have continued to delight and influence me, these come first to mind: Goodnight Moon (Margaret Wise Brown); the Max and Ruby books (Rosemary Wells); Peek-a-Boo! and Each Peach Pear Plum, and The Jolly Postman, the Ahlbergs; Winnie the Pooh books; and so many more.