In 1996, editors R. R. Knudson and Suzzanne Bigelow published May Swenson: A Poet’s Life in Photos. This wonderful book contains photographs of Swenson from her infancy to old age and includes many pictures of her at functions with family members and with fellow poets. It also includes close to thirty poems in a section at the end entitled “A Life in Poems.” This is a must-see, must-read photo album for any Swenson student.
Ray Bradbury is one of the most respected authors in the genre of science fiction, and one of his most popular books is The Martian Chronicles, published in 1950. This collection of stories about colonies of human beings setting out to explore Mars in the then-distant year of 1999 is an important reflection on humanity’s treatment of “the other” (in this case, the Martians) and on the tendency to conquer new lands without regard for the inhabitants who came first.
Tom Lewis’s Divided Highways: Building the Interstate Highways, Transforming American Life (1999) provides a vivid look at what it took to construct the highway system in the United States and what it has meant to the American public. Lewis contends that the open road used to mean freedom and a gateway to unknown places, and now it often means gridlock, smog, and road rage.
Elizabeth Bishop was one of America’s most noted poets and both a contemporary and close friend of May Swenson. Like Swenson, she wrote highly imagistic poems and was a perfectionist with her own work, always concerned with painting accurate “pictures” with her words as opposed to abstracts. Published in 1983, The Complete Poems, 1927–1979 provides a comprehensive overview of this important poet’s body of work.