Welcome to Your Winter Reading List

New England Poets Laureate share the books they’re curling up with this cold, snowy season.

As well-intentioned as your best friend, co-worker, or father-in-law may be, at the end of the day their book suggestions just might not be cutting it for you. We get it. Luckily, a handful of esteemed poets laureate from around New England have got your literary backs. Not only have they enlightened us on what they’re up to this year, but they’ve also graciously divulged their literary picks for the season. Move aside those tomes gathering dust on your nightstand: these tantalizing reads just might make you wish for a few more snow days.

Chard deNiord

Chard deNiord

It’s hard to know when Vermont Poet Laureate Chard deNiord even has time to read! But here’s what tops his list when he’s not giving readings around the state, teaching at Providence College, writing his next collection, or collaborating on an up-and-coming anthology Anonymoi with New Hampshire Laureate Alice Fogel.

 Chard deNiord’s top reading picks:
The Elephant’s Journey by Jose Saramago
Troubling Love by Elena Ferrante
The Last Shift by Philip Levine
Fast by Jorie Graham

Stu Kestenbaum

Stu Kestenbaum

Hailing from Vacationland, Stuart Kestenbaum has been reading Maine-based poetry every week on Maine Public Radio as a part of his project, Poems from Here, in addition to writing his own work and producing his podcast Make/Time where he interviews creative makers and thinkers.

Stuart Kestenbaum’s top reading picks:
Our Only World, a collection of essays by Wendell Berry
Otherwise, a book of poems by Jane Kenyon
Let My People Go Surfing by Yvon Chouinard

Tina Cane

Tina Cane

Recently appointed Rhode Island Laureate, Tina Cane is heroically bringing poetry to young people through her organization Writers-in-the-Schools, RI and relishing in the release of her latest book, Dear Elena: Letters for Elena Ferrante.

Tina Cane’s top reading picks:
The Car Thief by Theodore Weesner
Night Sky With Exit Wounds, poems by Ocean Vuong
The Lonely City: Adventures in the Art of Being Alone, by Olivia Laing
Why Poetry by Matthew Zapruder

Alice Fogel

Alice Fogel

Alice Fogel, New Hampshire Laureate, has her sights set on an active 2017, both physically and politically. She hopes to continue hiking segments of the Appalachian Trail, and when she’s back in the state, she’ll be getting involved with literacy and refugees while also preparing for the spring release of her new book, A Doubtful House.

Alice Fogel’s picks:
The Genius of Birds by Jennifer Ackerman
Landscape and Memory by Simon Schama
Black Square by Tadeusz Dabrowski
Disinheritance by John Sibley Williams

Emma Young (photo credit Hannah Marlin)

Emma Young

Representing the town of West Tisbury on Martha’s Vineyard is poet and printmaker Emma Young. Her upcoming book of poetry, Adamantine, will be finished in 2017, and, in typical Emma Young style, will be completely handmade, designed, bound, and printed on her nineteenth-century printing press.

Emma Young’s picks:
Songs of S. by Robert Seydel
The Woman Who Borrowed Memories by Tove Jansson
My Journey To Lhasa by Alexandra David-Neel


So there you have it. A list of reads from the most reputable source we could think of—a group of active, engaged New Englanders who have chosen to surround themselves with words for a living. So get crackin’. That groundhog says winter ain’t over yet.

Top photo Emma Young | Photography by Hannah Marlin
Caroline DavisWelcome to Your Winter Reading List

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