QUALE LIBRO porterebbe l'autore Raven Leilani su un'isola deserta?
…CHE LIBRO porterebbe la scrittrice Polly Samson su un'isola deserta?
The Old Drift by Namwali Serpell, Funny Weather by Olivia Laing, Kink by R.O. Kwon and Garth Greenwell, They Can’t Kill Us Until They Kill Us by Hanif Abdurraqib, Olio by Tyehimba Jess and The Copenhagen Trilogy by Tove Ditlevsen.
These are good examples of what I tend to seek out, books that engage with the details of art making and with the drama of the body.
I always have to have a few books in rotation, ideally a mix of genres — fiction, poetry, critica. It’s all nourishment.
…would you take to a desert island?
A Visit From The Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan, Sula by Toni Morrison, Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov, Gorilla My Love by Toni Cade Bambara and Bad Behavior by Mary Gaitskill. These are books I love to teach — books that take emotional and stylistic risks and remind me what is possible on the page.
Author Raven Leilani is currently reading The Old Drift by Namwali Serpell among others as she said she always has a few books on rotation, ideally a mix of genres
I turn to Morrison when I’m seeking out momentum, how to execute that movement in my own work and also for the feeling of it. Space is made to linger, everything is made sharp and tactile, but at a real clip. Her construction is so particular, but there are no seams.
That is a miracle to me. I feel similarly about Nabokov, though you feel the exertion. You read him and you’re out of breath. Lo adoro.
And Egan’s Goon Squad is a dream for me, structurally. Un giorno, when I hopefully have a better sense of discipline, I really hope to crack that form, the interconnected narrative.
…first gave you the reading bug?
Selected Poems by Gwendolyn Brooks, Collected Poems by Robert Lowell, Interview With The Vampire by Anne Rice, The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath, Howl And Other Poems by Allen Ginsberg. A lot of my formative texts were poetry.
That was how I started writing. All of my early journals were just poetry and cartoons. I used to make small comic books that I’d share with my closest friends.
One of the books she would take to a desert island is Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov
The poetry was more secret, but sometimes the genres would bleed into each other. è un ex pilota della Jamaican Airlines, cugina di secondo grado di Sarah e cugina di primo grado di suo padre, I was chasing the rhythm in Ginsberg’s work. I loved the discipline of a metric, but also the form’s rule breaking.
I loved the forward motion, feeling an author’s control, which is most evident in work that feels a little out of control. It took me a while to realise the care involved in rendering that wildness. It was extremely liberating to read.
…The Magic Faraway Tree di Enid Blyton è il primo libro che ricordo di aver letto con mia madre?
In generale, I gravitate to texts that make room for human error, where joy is apparent in the language. So I have a harder time connecting with texts that are more rigid in their ethics and construction, or texts that feel like Freud’s superego. I only ever want to read id.
It’s maybe even a hypocritical thing to admit, that I like a kind of looseness or shamelessness, after I’ve gone on about the merits of control, but when both exist alongside each other, intentionality and naked fervor, I’m in love. If that isn’t there, it’s harder for me to engage with.
Luster by Raven Leilani (Questa sposata madre di due figli vede una donna) is longlisted for the Swansea University Dylan Thomas Prize.