Tuesday, November 23, 2010

15 Writers

The lovely Jessica at The Entertaining House tagged me to name 15 writers who have had a great influence on me. As an English major in college, there are certainly so many I could name – dozens are floating through my head right now. But, if I had to narrow it down to 15, here they are (in no particular order):

William Butler Yeats – My favorite poet, Mr. Yeats also penned my favorite poem, “When You Are Old.” I wish we had had more time during our visit to Ireland to travel to his home. At least I got to see some of his work and other personal items on display at the Dublin Writers Museum.

Edith Wharton – Ah, Ms. Wharton, you could do no wrong in my eyes. I loved reading about the inner-workings of New York’s elite families and their trials and tribulations. Her eye for detail and describing it fully in print was impeccable.

Harper Lee – What more can be said about such a classic as “To Kill a Mockingbird?”

Robert Penn Warren – “All the King’s Men” is a brilliant piece of literature. He had such a gift for words and character study.

William Shakespeare – In high school, I memorized countless sonnets for English class and read many of his plays. The same goes for college. In fact, I took an entire course on the Bard while at the University of Kentucky. He had a huge influence on my academic career and I can still recite many of his sonnets to this day.

E.B. White – I adored “Charlotte’s Web.” I vividly remember sitting on the circular rug in grade school listening to my teacher read it to us. Such a wonderful book.

Bobbi Ann Mason – I read a great deal of this Kentucky author in college. Some critics call her work “Wal-Mart Realism,” dismissing the stories of middle and working class families, as if they don't have important stories to tell. Not a fair critique at all. Mason is respectful of her characters. They shouldn’t be dismissed in such a way.

Virginia Woolf – “A Room of One’s Own” carries a powerful message for women, not only seeking their own space to create and have solitude, but their own place and standing in the world.

T.S. Eliot – I wrote several papers on “The Wasteland.” In fact, one class I took in college spent half of the semester analyzing this epic poem. I’ve never encountered something that could be interpreted in so many different ways. I still love the part about the Hyacinth girl.

F. Scott Fitzgerald –“The Great Gatsby.” Enough said.

W. Somerset Maugham – I discovered Mr. Maugham later in life, but so glad I finally found him and delved into a number of his works.

Silas House – This Kentucky author writes with such a soulful, mournful, joyful style. I feel so much when I read his work. His characters are full of life, sometimes full of despair, and always full of color. He has great love for Eastern Kentucky – for that region’s eccentricities and complexities, and is a staunch advocate for the environment in that area, especially advocating against mountain top removal.

Gurney Norman – Another great Kentucky writer who has such a skill for the short story. Norman was a professor and the University of Kentucky and later its writer-in-residence. He spoke to a couple of my English classes during my time there. I can still hear his unusual voice – high and twangy (Is that word? If not, it is now).

Louisa May Alcott – I adored “Little Women.” Jo, patterned after Alcott herself, was such a favorite of mine. My tattered copy had a purple cover with an illustration of the four sisters on the front. I wonder what ever happened to that book.

Lucy Maud Montgomery – Like Alcott, Montgomery developed a similar strong-willed character in literature by the name of Anne Shirley. Through her books I became enamored with this red-haired girl and her friends in Avonlea on Prince Edward Island.

There are so many more I could name (like Dr. Seuss!), but I’ll keep it to 15.

So many of you wonderful bloggers have already been tagged in previous posts with this topic, so I won’t name a specific 15 here. But if you haven’t, leave me a comment and name some of the authors who have influenced your life and why. Can’t wait to hear about it!
Images courtesy of Dublin Writers' Museum, Amazon, poetryconnection.com, edithwharton.org, silashouse.net


Teresa at Splendid Sass said...

All of these great artists. Fitzgerald is my favorite, and I have written several papers on F. Scoot and Zelda. I can't wait to see the Great Gatsby movie. It better be as perfect as the last one.
Have a nice day, and thanks for sharing.

Heather said...

Oh! What fun! I agree with so many on your list. I was an English major too.

High Heeled Life said...

What a wonderful list of interesting reads. Some I already was familiar with , others I'm certainly going to check them out..xo HHL

Metropolitan Mum said...

Wow, you are so sophisticated. I think my list would start with Candace Bushnell and end with Lauren Weisberger :)

Main Line Sportsman said...

I am a hiuge fan of Maugham !
Great list...Happy Thanksgiving

bevy said...

This has been a great exercise for all of us tagged. I loved writing mine... And really love reading all of yours!

Town and Country Mom said...

Great choices, and, happily you have given me some new authors to read as I haven't read any of the Kentucky writers you mentioned! Thank you!