Critical Mass

What Are You Looking Forward to Reading, Juan Felipe Herrera?

By David Haglund






(Photo: Steve Goldstein)

This summer I am diving into a mix of classics, adolescent lit, and a taste of nonfiction—plus the work of a couple of artists. Most of these are “sparring” books, so I can shape up for a new young adult novel project. Most likely:


The Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri

The Trial by Franz Kafka

Childhood and Other Neighborhoods by Stuart Dybek

The Gangster We Are All Looking For by Le Thi Diem Thúy

The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri

Natasha by David Bezmozgis

Black Swan Green by David Mitchell

Sky Train by Canyon Sam

The artists: William Kentridge, Kandinsky, and Jasper Johns.

If this doesn’t do it, I’ll just gaze at the seashells off of North Beach and write a poem.

Juan Felipe Herrera won the 2008 NBCC Award for Poetry for Half the World in Light: New and Selected Poems (University of Arizona Press). The son of migrant farmworkers, he was born in Fowler, California, and has published more than twenty books. He holds the Tomás Rivera Endowed Chair in the Department of Creative Writing at UC-Riverside.