I’ve arranged these works to follow fluently from one another, but they can be read in any order. These are suggested reading, to go farther into the topic of the week, but don’t feel that you need to read them. You can always come back to them in another session of Align Your Story or when you have more time.

I offer these readings in the spirit of sharing some things that I love. These are all pieces that I enjoy, and I encourage you to explore other works by these writers if you like the works.

My first love was poetry; that is reflected in this module. Other modules will have more memoir and fiction.

Feel free to write in whatever genre stimulates and excites you!


Archibald MacLeish: “Ars Poetic”

W. H. Auden: “Musee Des Beaux Arts”

Langston Hughes: “I, Too”

Neruda: “Ode to a Large Tuna At the Market”

Elizabeth Bishop: “The Fish”

Ross Gay: “Prayer For My Unborn Niece of Nephew”

Mary Oliver: “Breakage”

Juan Felipe Herrera “Five Directions to My House”

​Li-Young Lee “The Weight of Sweetness”

Prose about writing: encouragement

Natalie Ginsberg: excerpt from Writing Down the Bones

Ann Lamott: excerpt from Bird by Bird (read the section called “Getting Started,” the first section of Part One)

Prose about writing: Orwell writing about political writing (1946) and Joan Didion response

George Orwell: “Why I Write”

Joan Didion: “Why I Write”

More inspiring essays about the power of writing—and not writing

Audre Lorde “The Transformation of Silence into Language and Action”

Ada Limon: “To What Do We Owe This Pleasure: On the Value of Not Writing.”

bell hooks: “Voices and Visions”

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