This summer, I spent four weeks working on my own poetry at the Playa artist residency program in Summer Lake, Oregon. While there, I met many talented & hardworking artists and writers. One in particular, poet Charles Goodrich, had brought some of his books with him to share via the common building’s little lending library. I devoured them all, and of course had to buy copies. I bought an extra copy of his most recent poetry collection, A Scripture of Crows, for a former student who I thought of when reading it. Another of Charles’ books, Going to Seed: Dispatches from the Garden, made me think immediately of my friend Tabitha, a master gardener, and so I bought her a copy, too.
I loved giving them these books, especially since it was not particularly likely that either Dan or Tabitha would stumble upon them otherwise. I felt like I had found treasure to share.
For me, writing and reading poetry is largely about making connections. Sure, there’s a ton of solitude at the core of being a writer, but for me, if there’s no community at some point, I start to wonder what the point of making art is. I’m definitely more of a Whitman than a Dickinson. (I love me some Emily, though; don’t get the wrong idea!) My writing wants a reader. My reading wants a conversation. I love the communities that can spring up around the making and sharing of stories and poems. As New Hampshire Writers’ Week draws to a close, I’d like to emphasize the importance of reading and sharing and gifting books.
As this item from the New Hampshire Writers’ Project suggests, an important way to support writers is to buy their books. And at this time of year, many people are shopping for gifts for others. No-brainer, right? Below, I’ve listed just a few Granite State authors you may or may not have heard of before, along with information about their books. Add your own NH authors with books for sale in the comments! And, here’s what I really want you to do:
1. Buy one or more of these books by New Hampshire authors as a gift for a reader in your life. Yes, you may gift yourself.
2. Consider buying aforementioned books at (or ordering them through) an independent New Hampshire bookseller.
3. Consider requesting that your local/town library order copies of these books, so that many readers — especially those who might not be able to buy books — can enjoy the work of New Hampshire writers.
Kathy Solomon, Transit of Venus (poems)
Jessica Purdy, Learning the Names (poems)
Ivy Page, Any Other Branch (poetry) and Creative Writing Workshop: A Guidebook for the Creative Writer (edited with Lisa Sisler)