Langston Hughes: The Collected Poems of Langston Hughes 

“The ultimate book for both the dabbler and serious scholar–. [Hughes] is sumptuous and sharp, playful and sparse, grounded in an earthy music–. This book is a glorious revelation.”–Boston Globe

Spanning five decades and comprising 868 poems (nearly 300 of which have never before appeared in book form), this magnificent volume is the definitive sampling of a writer who has been called the poet laureate of African America–and perhaps our greatest popular poet since Walt Whitman. Here, for the first time, are all the poems that Langston Hughes published during his lifetime, arranged in the general order in which he wrote them and annotated by Arnold Rampersad and David Roessel.
Alongside such famous works as “The Negro Speaks of Rivers” and Montage of a Dream Deferred,The Collected Poemsincludes the author’s lesser-known verse for children; topical poems distributed through the Associated Negro Press; and poems such as “Goodbye Christ” that were once suppressed. Lyrical and pungent, passionate and polemical, the result is a treasure of a book, the essential collection of a poet whose words have entered our common language.

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Additional Resources:

Langston Hughes Speaking at UCLA, 1967 (video)
Meet the Past: Langston Hughes at the Kansas Public Library (video)

The Negro in American Culture: Group Discussion with Baldwin, Hughes, Hansberry, Capouya and Kazin (video)
Academy of Poets: Langston Hughes (website)

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Italy Calvino: The Complete Cosmicomics 

“I’m currently reading this, which is a book of short stories- cosmicomics- by Italo Calvino. The way he writes set my imagination off; his descriptions and details built up crazy images in my head and I like the short story format a lot – it suits my way of working and my short attention span so he is perfect for the studio as I dart between painting, drawing writing and reading” –Molly Rose Butt

We were peering into this darkness, criss-crossed with voices, when the change took place: the only real, great change I’ve ever happened to witness, and compared to it the rest is nothing.” — from The Complete Cosmicomics

Italo Calvino’s beloved cosmicomics cross planets and traverse galaxies, speed up time or slow it down to the particles of an instant. Through the eyes of an ageless guide named Qfwfq, Calvino explores natural phenomena and tells the story of the origins of the universe. Poignant, fantastical, and wise, these thirty-four dazzling stories — collected here in one definitive anthology — relate complex scientific and mathematical concepts to our everyday world. They are an indelible (and unfailingly delightful) literary achievement.

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Further Reading: 

Invisible Cities (PDF)
Six Memos for the Next Millenium (PDF)
Why Read the Classics (essay)

Additional Resources: 

Gore Vidal on Italo Calvino (video)
Publisher’s Weekly: 10 Best Italo Calvino Books (article)

Roger Shattuck: The Banquet Years: The Origins of the Avant-Garde in France 1885 to WWII


The definitive chronicle of the origins of French avant-garde literature and art, Roger Shattuck's classic portrays the cultural bohemia of turn-of-the-century Paris who carried the arts into a period of renewal and accomplishment and laid the groundwork for Dadaism and Surrealism. Shattuck focuses on the careers of Alfred Jarry, Henri Rousseau, Erik Satie, and Guillaume Apollinaire, using the quartet as window into the era as he exploring a culture whose influence is at the very foundation of modern art

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Further Reading available as PDF:
Forbidden Knowledge: From Prometheus to Pornography

Carl Jung: Man and his Symbols


This one book stands apart from Jung's other works. Before, Jungian theories were out of the reach of the general public, but then he had a dream that he, "was standing in a public place addressing a multitude of people…in rapt attention…who understood him." He was then approached by a publisher for such a book, and he agreed to take on the project with the help of a few of his closest peers. Man and his Symbols is Jung's final works, written close to the end of his life. Completed ten days before his death, it acts as a summary and reflection on his life's work.
Only the first chapter is written by Jung, and the remaining chapters are written by individuals handpicked and trained in Jungian psychology. Jung supervised and edited all of the remaining chapters. The result is a delightfully readable volume that delivers Jung's essential theories in a nutshell
Safa Alai (edited)

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Further Readings:
Memories, Dreams and Reflections (PDF)
The Undiscovered Self (PDF)
Psychology of the Unconscious (Ebook)
Collected Works (Ebook)

Yoko Ono: Grapefruit


Grapefruit is an artist's book written by Yoko Ono, originally published in 1964. It has become famous as an early example of conceptual art, containing a series of "event scores" that replace the physical work of art -the traditional stock-in-trade of artists – with instructions that an individual may, or may not, wish to enact.

"Grapefruit is one of the monuments of conceptual art of the early 1960s. She has a lyrical, poetic dimension that sets her apart from the other conceptual artists. Her approach to art was only made acceptable when white men like Kosuth and Weiner came in and did virtually the same thing as Yoko, but made them respectable and collectible."
-David Bourdon

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Yoko Ono Reading From (Selection Of) Grapefruit