The Last Book I Loved: The Wordy Shipmates

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imagedb1I fall in love pretty easily, so for me right now it’s Sarah Vowell’s The Wordy Shipmates, which is her take on John Winthrop, Roger Williams and Anne Hutchinson of Puritan ancestry fame. I love it because Vowell’s feelings toward religion are ambivalent at best, and lesser writers would have let that color the way they presented these fascinating historical figures. But Vowell doesn’t hide her feelings–she incorporates them into the text and brings us into the mind of the writer grappling with the problems of being horrified by what these people actually argued for while simultaneously admiring their personal integrity. And she’s funny too.


Brian Spears is Senior Poetry Editor of The Rumpus and the author of A Witness in Exile (Louisiana Literature Press, 2011). His poem “Upon Reading That Andromeda Will One Day Devour Triangulum and Come For Us Next” was featured in Season 9 of Motion Poems. More from this author →