Zak Salih Recommends...

“When I’m slowly sinking in the quicksand of writing troubles (I don’t know what to write! This story’s going nowhere! I’m an impostor! I can’t manage all this contradictory feedback!), my tree branch is poetry. Poems afford me a chance to refocus on words: their sounds, their rhythms, their ability to tell stories in and of themselves. Perhaps it’s because I don’t fancy myself a poet that I’m drawn to poetry’s magic, that I view it as a never-ending well of inspiration, sustenance, and guidance. I’m often thankful for my fallow hours and days, because they make a great excuse to spend time with the poets—long dead, still active—I’ve been meaning to read forever, like James Merrill, Jericho Brown, and Louise Glück. Their words make soothing music for the savage beast sitting in frustration at his desk.”
—Zak Salih, author of Let’s Get Back to the Party (Algonquin, 2021)