Books Mentioned on The Spine
- The Story of Ferdinand by Munro Leaf
- Happy Feet: The Savoy Ballroom, Lindy Hoppers and Me by Richard Michelson
- Hiawatha and the Peacemaker by Robbie Robertson
- Swallows and Amazons series by Arthur Ransome
- Dragonlance Chronicles series by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman
- Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas by Hunter S. Thompson
- On the Road by Jack Kerouac
- The Beach by Alex Garland
- Encyclopedia Brown, Boy Detective by Donald J. Sobol
- Choose Your Own Adventure books
- The Invisible Man by H. G. Wells
- Romeo and Juliet by Shakespeare
- Norton Anthology of Modern Poetry, 2nd Edition
- I Am the Darker Brother: An Anthology of Modern Poems by African Americans edited by Arnold Adoff
- The Autobiography of Malcolm X: As Told to Alex Haley
- "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock" by T. S. Eliot
- "Cross" by Langston Hughes
- "If We Must Die" by Claude McKay
- "Those Winter Sundays" by Robert Hayden
- Theodore Roethke
- Alfred Tennyson
- Robert Hayden
- Lucille Clifton
- "I think reading, in terms of reading literature, I think it's retroactive much more than people are willing to admit. I would like nothing better for the next week than to curl up with a Thomas Hardy book, but I don't think I would've said that until the last 10 or 15 years. I think you have to build up to that, especially as the language and grammar start to change, and as we get farther and farther from the 19th century."
- "[In college] you had tuition, you had room and board, and you had a bookstore account. So, I remember, in addition to buying many king-sized Snickers bars, one of the things I bought at the bookstore — as I became more and more interested in the writing of poetry — I bought the Norton Anthology."
- "I think anthologies are a great way to learn when you're young. It was a way to get exposed to so much poetry and really fall in love with the art in a way that, I think, sometimes, when you just read one collection...it's sort of isolated from all other poets."
- "I was interested in an art that could bear the weight of puzzling out, but also gave me some immediate pleasure and reflected the lives in some ways of the people who are recognizable to me, but also gave me windows into experiences which I knew to be important but were very different from mine."
- On reading Malcolm X's autobiography: "I don't often come forward and say that I'm the son of an immigrant because I know that, in the current climate, that means something really different. But I think I had the sense that there is a world beyond these shores. And I think seeing Malcolm X take that journey and go out into the world...and having an anger and a rage that I identified with was important as I look back and try to make sense of why that book looms large in my middle school years."