This is a book I hold close every day, each night, I read it as a bible. I took it from my best friend when he seemed to have nothing to do with it yet so valuable to me. It’s a book full of American great writers; poets, story writers, novelists and playwrights, the Prentice Hall Literature: The American Experience Penguin edition book.
This book is so special to me that I usually take it with me when I am travelling somewhere for some days. I remember my brother’s friend from Blantyre offered me a great sum to own it, I had gone there for a holiday in 2018, September. I told him it is not an ordinary book to me, it meant a lot, actually it is my happiness.
So I can’t sell my joy, lest I will be consumed in my sad days and lost value of living and run beserk. Sometimes when I am aroused, I Iike holding it close to my chest, closing my eyes, taking a deep breath and try to recite Emily Dickinson, Sylvia Plath and Louise Erdrich’s poems.
Through this book I have known writers who have urged me to explore beyond poetry just with their work. I have known Kate Chopin’s The Story of an Hour and want her more. I have known William Faulkner, Francis Scott Fitzgerald, Tim O’Brien, Katherine Anne Porter, Eudora Welty and many more yet more of them I require. Yes I have known Arthur Miller’s play, The Crucible and read it a hundred times yet I still want to read it again.
Oh, I have known many poets and admired their work through this book. Yusef Komunyankaa, Louise Erdrich, Colleen McElroy, Robert Hayden, Gwendolyn Brooks, Adrienne Rich, Sylvia Plath, Randall Jarrell, John Hersey, Grarrett Hongo, Simon J. Ortiz, Diana Chang, Martin Espada, William Stafford, Theodore Roethke, Robert Penn Warren, Dylan Thomas, Jean Toomer, Arna Bontemps, Counter Cullen, Claude McKay, Langston Hughes, Robert Frost, Carl Sandburg, Marianne Moore, Archibald MacLeish, Wallace Stevens, W. H. Auden, E. E. Cummings, H. D, William Carlos Williams, Ezra Pound, T. S. Eliot, Edgar Lee Masters, Edwin Arlington Robinson, Paul Lawrence Dunbar, Walt Whitman, Emily Dickinson, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Edgar Allan Poe, John Greenleaf Whittier, Oliver Wendell Holmes, William Cullen Bryant, Henry Wordsworth Longfellow, Phillis Wheetley, Anne Bradstreet and Edward Taylor I enjoy them all. Of course, some in there are African Americans who wrote beautifully and rhymed sweetly.
Sometimes when I feel like I am down and my literary journey seemed motionless, I look for Robert Frost’s small biography in this book. My spirit is lifted for I know like Mary Austin in Song of Greatness that when my time comes I too shall be esteemed.
Through this book I have known what it means to be a successful writer, hope and determination. Flannery O’Connor told me once that people without hope do not write novels. Now I am learning to hold my patience in hoping for a novel.