Poetry That Inspired Celeste Ng While Writing Our Missing HeartsBy Little, Brown Book Group
'I’ve always loved reading poetry, but I find myself particularly drawn to it in times of turmoil—whether that turmoil is within me, or in the larger world. The past few years have been full of both, so it’s no surprise that one of the main characters in my new novel is a poet. Below are some of the volumes I read for comfort and inspiration while I was writing Our Missing Hearts.'
Our Missing Hearts: 'Thought-provoking, heart-wrenching' Reese Witherspoon, a Reese's Book Club Pick
Celeste Ng£20.00 £19.00
Muriel Rukeyser£12.00 £11.40
I keep a typed copy of Rukeyser’s “Poem (I lived in the first century of world wars)” above my desk; for me it’s the perfect articulation of how to write in difficult times—and why. It’s one of the few poems I’ve committed to memory.
Jane Hirshfield£12.99 £12.34
You have probably already seen Hirshfield’s lines “Let them not say: we did not see it. / We saw it”—much-quoted during the Trump era—but she has been writing works that call us to attention, and action, for years. (Don’t miss her earlier collections The Beauty and Given Sugar, Given Salt.) Her work links the everyday to the profound, and reminds us that we are all interconnected, to both each other and the planet.
Ilya Kaminsky£12.99 £12.34
I’ve never read a book of poems like this. It is the story of townspeople who, in the face of violence, go deaf as an act of resistance. But it’s also a profound meditation on dissent, a re-imagining of “disability,” and a poignant love story.
Anna Akhmatova£35.00 £33.25
I discovered Anna Akhmatova’s work only recently, but immediately felt its resonance with everything Our Missing Hearts was grappling with: hope, despair, bearing witness, the role of art in dark and fearful times.
Ross Gay£10.99 £10.44
Okay, technically these are essays—but in Ross Gay’s hands, they read like poetry. He’s such a joyful writer and by the end of this book, you will feel a renewed appreciation for the many delights in the world.
Ada Limon£10.99 £10.44
Ada Limon is one of the best poets working today; she also runs a fantastic podcast, The Slowdown, that highlights a different poem by a different author each day. And she was recently named the Poet Laureate of the United States!
I first came to know Maggie Smith via her poem “Good Bones,” which went viral in 2016, but I soon fell hard for the rest of her work.