Suzanne Burns

Suzanne Burns has published two full-length poetry collections, Blight (Archer Books) and The Flesh Procession (Bleak House Books). Pudding House Press recently published her poetry chapbook, Vacancy, which chronicles infamous events that took place in famous hotels throughout history. Her debut short-story collection, Misfits and Other Heroes, was published in June by Dzanc Books.

what are you reading now

I am a serial book rotator. Dandelion Wine by Ray Bradbury. Immortality by Milan Kundera.

classic you’ve been meaning to read

Damn Proust and double damn Tolstoy. I get so confused so quick. After I saw Paris for the first time last year I was all, "Proust! Proust! Proust!" But, like, wow, he's a little boring. Then I asked my husband for a copy of Anna Karenina as a Valentine's Day present. Wonderfully pretentious request. I was lost by page two. I want to take a marker and change all the names to Sally and Bob and Troy. Then I just might "get" it.

last book to bring you to tears

I've never cried over a book. Maybe I've been a little misty over parts of The Catcher in the Rye. If you mean bore me to tears, how about anything by Jane Austen or Virginia Woolf.

best book you’ve read so far this year

The Book of Laughter and Forgetting by Milan Kundera and Vera & Linus by Jess Ball and Thordis Bjornsdottir and The Blue Life Sketches by Jonathan Treadway (throwback books).

if you could write yourself into any book or story

I'd be Holden Caulfield's best girl. We'd go to a lousy movie together and hold hands through the newsreel and the cartoon. Then I'd be Esther Greenwood's confidant (The Bell Jar, Sylvia Plath). I'd beg her to warn her shadow self to steer clear from handsome future British poet laureates so I could snag Ted Hughes for myself.

collected stories of

Shirley Jackson. The most underrated writer of all time ever. Who else can make a cocktail party so terrifying and so mesmerizing?

book you’ve planted on a coffee table to impress someone

I succumbed to this trickery in my late teens and early twenties. The tried and true trinity of Maus, The Book of the SubGenius and any issue of Sandman. (I worshipped THOSE kind of boys.)

if you could subscribe to only one literary journal

I don't buy or read lit journals. I know, shame on me. I love books. Books. Books.

best thing you’ve read online recently

The blogs at The Nervous Breakdown.

recommended reading list:

Beautiful Stories for Ugly Times

Though these books are very dark and sometimes disturbing I find them all wonderfully life affirming.

- A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess

- Fahrenheit 451, The Illustrated Man, et al. by Ray Bradbury

- The Book of Laughter and Forgetting by Milan Kundera (plus everything else of his all the time)

- Tropic of Cancer by Henry Miller

- Anything by J.D. Salinger

- Cannery Row and Sweet Thursday by Steinbeck, plus Tortilla Flat of course

- Any and all Kafka

- The Lottery and Other Stories by Shirley Jackson


  1. once you get into the groove of it AK is a lot of fun. plus then you can rationalize not reading War&Peace.

    but then i'm biased. i named my kid 'Levin' after the character in that book.....

  2. Kundera! Book of Laughter and Forgetting was long my favorite - though I prefer the first translation to the one officially stamped by Kundera. Oh well.