Booktalk with Henri Cole
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: In
What book would you most want your kids to read? What would you want them NOT to read?
I’d want them to read the ancient myths. There are some very nice illustrated editions. I’d want them also to read lots of poetry to appreciate the English language. I wouldn’t want them to read those sickening vampire love stories.
What classic novel was a disappointment to you?
You’ll hate me, but I didn’t like The Catcher in the Rye. I wasn’t a normal teenager.
What genre of literature do you prefer to read (history, fiction, biography, etc.) and why?
My feelings are hurt that you didn’t mention poetry. I like poetry and editions of letters.
What magazines do you subscribe to and why?
The New Yorker, The Threepenny Review, The New Republic, The Paris Review, Bon Appétit and The New York Review of Books.
What books have helped you most in your career?
“Career” is not a word I like. Books that have helped me in my life are James Baldwin’s Giovanni’s Room, Susan Sontag’s The Way We Live Now, William Maxwell’s The Folded Leaf, and David Plante’s The Francoeur Novels. They all transcribe something of what it is to be a young homosexual in America.
Related: If you're in or around Seattle, you can catch Henri Cole at the Elliott Bay Book Company on May 7.
Below, Henri Cole reads the poem "Twilight" from his previous collection Blackbird and Wolf.