Books on the nightstand… by Ann E. Michael

Bedside Table Series: #1
by PQ Contributing Editor Ann E. Michael

Wow, where does one begin? Or more accurately, where does it all end?

The books on the nightstand—which, in my case, is a blanket chest—represent a kind of temporary library of interests that may or may not prove influential in my own creative work. For the time being, they offer insights or arguments or information or, as the case may be, avoidance of reality or other less delightful endeavors.

I’ve got Annie Finch’s recent tome, an MFA in a book, A Poet’s Craft. And I’ve got A Sea of Words, which is a guide to the terms, largely but not entirely nautical, in Patrick O’Brien’s books. Currently, I’m also perusing Elaine Terranova’s selected and new poems, Not To. This collection precedes her latest collection, Dames Rocket, which is a lovely set of poems. In addition, I’ve got Jeanine Hall Gailey’s first book, Becoming the Villainess, by the bed.

Virginia Tufte’s Artful Sentences: Syntax as Style sits there to pique my interest in rhetoric and style. And Richard Lanham’s A Handlist of Rhetorical Terms complements Sister Miriam Joseph’s The Trivium. All of these just in case I momentarily forget how closely English writing is connected to philosophy.

As for philosophy, I do read it regularly; my latest foray is Merleau-Ponty’s 1958 book The Penomenology of Perception. I re-read Gaston Bachelard’s phenomenological texts frequently; currently, The Poetics of Space is close at hand.

What else? Writer’s Chronicle, The New Yorker, R.S. Gwynn’s Poetry, A Pocket Anthology, and Tom Lux’s New & Selected (1997), both of which are required for the spring semester survey of poetry class I’ll be teaching.

Meanwhile, I await more poetry books to review.

Ann E. Michael is a poet, essayist, and educator whose most recent poetry collection is Water-Rites (2012). She lives in eastern PA where she is Writing Coordinator at DeSales University. Her website: