Resistance Bookshelf is a new series for the MFA in Creative Writing Program, in which faculty and students share their reading lists and advice for being aware of and learning to fight fascism and forms of political oppression. Inspired by the political climate and decisions of the Trump administration, it will be a collective, specialized reading list of works by novelists, poets, short story writers, essayists, non-fiction writers, and others, of whatever period, all of whom made the choice to address political oppression by imaginative, literary means. It will be ongoing, and it will be open to contributions by both students and faculty.

This is the fourth post in the series, written by Dale Peck, Creative Writing faculty. You can view the others by clicking here.

In everything he does, Dale Peck speaks up, and speaks loudly. As a novelist, he tells stories that give voice to struggle; of gay men facing down society and AIDS, of a couple trapped in a painful failing marriage, of the racially marginalized. As a critic, he is famously devastating, a fierce condemner of complacency. As an activist, he was a part of Act Up and is a longtime defender of gay rights. His reading list is fittingly diverse, reflecting the range of his interests and experiences, and the many forms that speaking up can take.

The Cancer Journals

Audre Lorde, The Cancer Journals
Illness, like every aspect of our lives, is a political issue. Lorde's account of her experience with breast cancer was a pioneer text in patient advocacy and empowerment.

policing desire

Simon Watney, Policing Desire: Pornography, AIDS, and the Media
Watney's study of the way AIDS is portrayed in the media not only exposed the homophobia inherent in the coverage, but also taught its readers how to resist such demonizing (and demeaning) depictions.


Eduardo Galeano, Memory of Fire
Open Veins of Latin America set the stage for Galeano's monumental trilogy, which is nothing less than a complete history of the Americas from a native point of view.


Grace Paley, The Collected Stories
Spanning the mid-50s to the mid-80s, Paley's three volumes of short stories—The Little Disturbances of Man, Enormous Changes at the Last Minute, and Later the Same Day—are an unmatched record of what it means to be politically awake in the United States.


Richard Wright, Black Boy
Still one of the great American autobiographies, this one about surviving the Jim Crow South in the early years of the 20th century.

About The Author

Founded in Greenwich Village in 1931, Creative Writing at The New School continues to promote, engender, and shape innovative literature.