Poetry, she says, is the ''lyric and sensory backbone'' of all her work, including the new essay collection '' You Get What You Pay For,'' Thank Jay-Z for the title, and a former shrink for steering her from self-help.

.-  What books are on your night stand?

The Craft anthology '' How We Do It,'' edited by great Jericho Brown, and Shayla Lawson's astounding ''How to Live Free in a Dangerous World.''

.-  What's the last book you read that made you laugh?

'' Erasure,'' by Percival Everett. I picked up a used copy at Shakespeare & Company recently - after seeing Cord Jefferso's brilliant adaptation, '' American Fiction '' and even on a reread, it made laugh out loud from the first page.

.-  That last book that made you cry?

Weird or obnoxious if I say my own? Before that it was probably Y.A.

.-  What genres do you avoid?

There's an essay '' You Get What You Pay For '' where I mention reading a self-help book [ as recommended by my now former-former psychiatrist ], but I'd never read one before and have not since.

.-  What's the last book you recommended to a member of your family?

'' Heavy,'' by Kiese Laymon, to my mom ; Blair LM Kelley's '' Black Folk : The Roots of the Black Working Class,'' to my dad ; and '' A is for Activist,'' to my 8-month old cousin.

.-  What do you plan to read next ?

Phillip B. Williams's '' Ours '' was just published, and I've been excited about it for literally years. Vinison Cunningham's '' Great Expectations '' came out the same day as my book, so I plan to make that my tour read.

The World Students Society thanks The New York Times.


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