Winter reads

Every year, during the beginning of winter, I like to hunker down with a novel and take a break from reading poetry for a while. Every November or December, I tend to reread a novel by Thomas Wolfe, my favorite author of fiction. I started this tradition as a way to remember the first time I read his famous novel Look Homeward, Angel. This happened during a winter break in college, and I was immediately awe-struck by his long, ambitious sentences filled with beautiful, poetic lines describing the novel’s rural North Carolina town and protagonist Eugene Gant’s burning desire to leave his hometown and establish a name for himself.  I still feel that novel is one of the best American coming-of-age stories told.

This year, I’m rereading The Web and the Rock, Wolfe’s third novel. I’m doing this because I don’t remember the book as well as his other novels. This time, I’m going to read it slower so I do remember the scenes.

Besides The Web and the Rock, I’m also reading Samuel Hazo’s poetry collection Sexes: The Marriage Dialogues. This is a great collection, one I read a few years ago and I’m now going back to. Several of the poems contain arguments between a married couple that involve everything from the way a table is set before dinner to a decision to buy a new car. The form is especially interesting to me because Hazo uses clipped, jagged lines throughout several of the poems. He also centers the poems around dialogue as a way to focus on the language of argument, gender differences, and tension.

I hope the rest of you find a good novel or poetry collection to enjoy during these coming winter months. If you feel like committing to classic literature and a great American novel, then I suggest one by Thomas Wolfe.

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About Brian Fanelli

I'm a poet, teacher, music junkie and much more. My first chapbook of poems, Front Man, was published in 2010 by Big Table Publishing. My full-length book of poems, All That Remains, was published in 2013 by Unbound Content. My latest book, Waiting for the Dead to Speak, was published in the fall of 2016 by NYQ Books. My work has also been published by The Los Angeles Times, World Literature Today, Harpur Palate, Boston Literary Magazine, Kentucky Review, Verse Daily, Spillway, Portland Review, and several other publications. My poetry has also been featured on "The Writer's Almanac" with Garrison Keillor. Currently, I teach English full-time at Lackawanna College.
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