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Last Book I Loved

The Last Book I Loved: The Geographical History of America by Gertrude Stein

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I’m quite sure that if I lived when Gertrude Stein did, I would have not enjoyed her person—the pronouncements, the relentless self-promotion, the blatant self-absorption (“I am a genius”). If I lived in her time I probably, like so many else then, would not have enjoyed her writing either—the repetitions, the lack of story, the blatant self-absorption (“I am I because my little dog knows me”).

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The Last Book of Poems I Loved: Blood Sugar by Nicole Blackman

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It’s fitting that Nicole Blackman leads into the poems of Blood Sugar with a quote from the confessional poet W.D. Snodgrass: “I am going to show you something very ugly. One day it may save your life.” The chief construct of confessional poetry is the brutally honest autobiography of the poet and the act of writing bravely, honestly and transgressively.

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The Last Poem I Loved: “Snow for Wallace Stevens” by Terrance Hayes

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The only time I had the privilege to meet Jake Adam York was after a panel he participated in at the 2012 AWP Conference. The panel was called “In White: White Poets and Race,” and I was hooked. For so long I had yearned to write blues poetry, to sit down and dialogue about race and history (as James Baldwin discusses in his essay “Unnameable Objects, Unspeakable Crimes”) with other people and through poetry.

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