31 books in 31 days seems daunting. Making space to read many books is tough because—eh, life—but I wanted to take on the Sealey Challenge to see if I could carve out time to read every day. I’m on day 19 and I’ve been able to read one book of poetry for every day of the month so far, and here are the titles from August 1-15.
Looking for Poetry – Poems by Carlos Drummond de Andrade and Rafael Alberti, plus Songs from the Quechua – Translations by Mark Strand
You know I was going to start this list with a book of poetry translations, right?
2. The Tradition by Jericho Brown
I think everyone should read this book, and if you can’t, at least take the time to read his poem Bullets on the Poetry Foundation website.
3. When My Brother Was an Aztec by Natalie Diaz
As soon as I finished this book, I wanted to immediately purchase and devour everything Natalie Diaz has written.
4. Night Sky With Exit Wounds by Ocean Vuong
Every time I read an artist’s work in one genre and then another, I always want to ask them what they consider themselves first. Does Vuong consider himself foremost a poet or a novelist?
5. Mujer de verso en pecho por Gloria Fuertes
He tenido este libro por un montón de años y fue la primera vez que lo leí de principio a fin.
6. Citizen Illegal by José Olivarez
I mean if that first poem doesn’t blow you away, who are you?
7. Hijito by Carlos Andrés Gómez
I was so sad when this book ended. I wanted more and more and more.
8. Sweeping Beauty – Contemporary Women Poets do Housework – edited by Pamela Gemin
I wanted to focus on a theme instead of a single author for one day. Finding new poets and poems is always a great thing. Also, why haven’t I read more of Sandra Cisneros poetry??? That’ll be September’s challenge.
9. Cenzontle by Marcelo Hernandez Castillo
I don’t know which one I would recommend first, but both Marcelo Hernandez Castillo’s memoir and poetry collection are must reads. (It wasn’t until I began doing this post that I realized I had accidentally skipped the 9th of August. Oops. I blame it on the pandemic. So on August 19th I read two poetry books, including this one.)
10. Ordinary Beast by Nicole Sealey
I had to include Nicole Sealey! Read her book and also check out this recent interview with the The Rumpus on how this poetry challenge has evolved since it started a few years ago.
11. Soft Science by Franny Choi
As I read this book, Janelle Monáe and her alter-ego Cindi Mayweather kept popping up in my brain. You should know this is a very good thing.
12. Virgin by Analicia Sotelo
I’m going to reread this again soon because whoa did it shock my core in the best way possible.
13. The Fire Eater by Jose Hernandez Diaz
Prose poems are the best poems and so are Jose’s poems.
14. The Poetry of K.Y. Robinson: The Chaos of Longing and Submerge by K.Y. Robinson
I commute to work for many hours throughout the week, so I took advantage of this and listened to K.Y. Robinson read her poetry out loud. It reminded me a lot about my teenage years, finding my way, and realizing that a lot of the men I knew were still just boys.
15. The Art of Drowning by Billy Collins
So glad I finally had the chance to read work by Billy Collins after being on my TBR pile for so long.
Knowing I’ve been carrying a different book with me every day this month, literally and figuratively, made me smile when I saw this sign:
Part 2 will come in September!
Check out the thread of books and my favorite poem from each one here:
— Victoria Alicia (@vic_toriawrites) August 2, 2020