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Amanda Gorman, the Inaugural Poet Who Dreams of Writing Novels

If you were to write something besides poetry, what would it be?

Novels. Novel writing was my original love, and I still hope to do it. I just typically can finish writing a single poem faster than I can an entire narrative book!

What books do you find yourself returning to again and again?

All of them. If I read something once, I tend to reread it at least three times. There’s some I return to for the craft they can teach me. For example, “American Sonnets for My Past and Future Assassin,” by Terrance Hayes, is a master class in the form; I’ll reread “Wade in the Water,” by Tracy K. Smith, when I need a lesson on how to structure poems on the page; and I’ll reread “The World’s Wife,” by Carol Ann Duffy, when I need to get into the poetic head of a character who has been silenced.

What genres do you especially enjoy reading? And which do you avoid?

I love me some fantasy — world building? Yes, please. I’m too much of a wimp to read horror, though I have been pleasantly surprised by thrillers like “My Sister, the Serial Killer,” by Oyinkan Braithwaite.

Do you count any books as guilty pleasures?

Not really. Maybe young adult novels, though I don’t consider this guilty so much as underestimated. I love young adult novels. It’s just a shame that for the longest time they weren’t thought of as great works of literature, which they can be and are. I think we see that among the likes of “The Hate U Give,” “The Giver,” etc.

What’s the last book you read that made you laugh?

Whenever I read the Percy Jackson series, I bust out a gut.

The last book you read that made you cry?

“A Promise to Remember: The Names Project Book of Letters.”

The last book you read that made you furious?

“Zong!,” by M. NourbeSe Philip.

How do you organize your books?

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