Whatcha Reading, Doug Nufer?

Every week we ask an interesting figure what they're digging into. Have ideas who we should reach out to? Let it fly: info@seattlereviewofbooks.com. Want to read more? Check out the archives.

Doug Nufer is a writer and poet who usually works with formal constaints. He has written many books, most recently Metamorphasis. He's our Poet in Residence for May.

What are you reading now?

Now I'm reading Van Gogh: the life by Steven Naifeh and Gregory White Smith. It's taking a while because Kathleen and I read it aloud in small sections. Although we know what happens, there's a lot of suspense because he takes forever to start painting and there are few years remaining before he dies.

What did you read last?

Last I read The Lachrymose Report by Sierra Nelson and Selected Poems 1962-1985 by Clark Coolidge. I'd been going through the 460-page Coolidge book for years, while reading other books. I had bought Sierra's book as a present for someone, with the plan to read it and then give it away, but then I just decided to keep it.

What are you reading next?

Next I may read The Embarrassment of Riches by Simon Schama, which covers a historical period of The Netherlands before Van Gogh's time and seems to have a lot to say about our own imperial capitalist age. Or I may re-read Inferno, a parallel text of Dante and a verse translation by Robert Hollander and Jean Hollander. I had been ransacking Inferno for a writing project where I extracted smaller words from larger ones in their or my English translations (Inferno/ infer; direct/ dire), and when I saw this was a waste of time, it occurred to me that at least I got to re-read Inferno.