Tuesday, December 23, 2008

James Galvin offers his reading list

Award-winning poet James Galvin writes for Orion Magazine. His environmentalism has roots in his family's ranch near Tie Siding along the Wyoming/Colorado border, where he grew up. His memoir, The Meadow, remains one of the best books about growing up in rural Wyoming (along with Teresa Jordan's Riding the White Horse Home). It blends his experiences with observations about Wyoming geography, geology and landscape.

On Dec. 17, he wrote in Orion about his reading list. Here are some excerpts:

Much of my reading is involved with my teaching, so right now I am immersed in the collected poems of both Yeats and Frost.

As for contemporary poetry, I read it all the time, currently a terrific new book by Jane Mead called The Usable Field, and W.S. Merwin’s newest collection, The Shadow of Sirius. I think it may be his best book, which is saying a lot.

In fiction, my favorite writer is Faulkner, but my favorite book is Moby Dick. I say book instead of novel because it is more than half non-fiction. I go back and back to Faulkner and Melville as I do to Dante and Shakespeare.

As for contemporary fiction, I don’t read that much of what’s written in America, though I do love the short stories of Deborah Eisenberg and James Salter.

I spent three months in New Zealand recently, where, when I wasn’t “tramping”, I read everything by Haruki Murakami.

For non-fiction, I like Alexandra Fuller.

Alexandra Fuller's latest book is The Legend of Colton H. Bryant, set in Wyoming's oil and gas fields. During the Equality State Book Festival in September, Fuller read an excerpt from the book that tore my heart out. She lives in Wilson, Wyo.

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