What We're Reading / by Washington Square

A summer reading list by Nicholas Fuenzalida, ONSQU layout editor:

1. Farther Traveler – Ronaldo V. Wilson (Counterpath Press)

In the follow up to his incredible Poems of the Black Object, Ronaldo V. Wilson collages poetry, prose, and memoir to investigate the interstices of race, sexuality, and popular culture.

On Farther Traveler, poet and critic Fred Moten writes: “There’s a Fanonian trumpet Fanon couldn’t imagine, a dance all his own he could neither own nor step to, Ronaldo V. Wilson’s otherwise inconceivable graph, whose beauty and power reaches new depths and new heights in Farther Traveler, an erotic history of loss that is, therefore, an erotic theory of finding, its iridescent contacts, its eruptive grammars, its fluid, fleshly, aromatic loves. In the fabric of the general catastrophe, every silver and impossible daddy, every soft and possible father, gone further and farther away, Wilson works something new for us, an encounter of which we are made wonderfully aware—texture, scene, caress.”

2. James Schuyler: Collected Poems – James Schuyler (FSG)

James Schuyler is a poet whom I encountered only relatively recently in a craft course at NYU, While reading his Selected Poems, I was amazed by the level of attention bestowed upon small quotidian details, and the emotional affect that Schuyler’s musings deliver. I recently picked up his Collected Poems, but haven’t had the chance to make my way through them, but plan to very soon.

3. Other People’s Comfort Keeps Me Up At Night – Morgan Parker (Switchback Books)

If you spend any time reading literary magazines, chances are you’ve stumbled across and been amazed by a Morgan Parker poemOther People’s Comfort is Parker’s full-length debut, and I am excited to finally get the chance to read a collection of her stunning work.

On Other’s People Comfort Keeps Me Up At Night, poet Tracy K. Smith writes:”Honesty, says one of Morgan Parker’s speakers, ‘is uncomfortable and funny.’ And how apt, how acrobatic and unflinching Parker is in bearing this thesis out. Her work roves the surface of our American Lives–gathering up material from reality TV, from the many products we consume and are shaped by, from the sound of American in our mouths, and the racket of it in our ears. These poems are delightful in their playful ability to rake through our contemporary moment in search of all manner of riches, just as they are devastating in their ability to remind us of what we look like when nobody’s watching, and of what the many things we don’t–or can’t–say add up to.”

4. The Musical Brain – César Aira (New Directions)

The Musical Brain is Aira’s first story collection to be released in the US. It was released this spring, as has earned some well-deserved praise (Aira has published over eighty books). Now that summer has begun, I am looking forward to reading some fiction, and can’t think of a better way to begin than diving into Aira’s stream-of-consciousness style that can turn the arc of a narrative with a single phrase.

5. Remembrance of Things Past – Marcel Proust (Vintage)

Speaking of stream-of-consciousness, Proust’s magnum opus has long been on my reading list, but I haven’t had sufficient time to really immerse myself in it. Hopefully this summer, I will finally take the plunge. I’m going to end this now, because I clearly have a lot of reading to do.