Books·My Life in Books

5 books that are life for Instagram poet Atticus

The anonymous poet reveals the writers that shaped his life and work.

Atticus is known for the poetry he shares anonymously as @atticuspoetry on Instagram, where he has more than 400K followers. (Xavier Espinoza)

Atticus is an anonymous poet from British Columbia's West Coast, known online as @atticuspoetry. His handwritten and typewriter-printed poems are popular on Instagram, where he has more than 400K followers, including celebrities like Karlie Kloss and Alicia Keys. He's collected these poems in a book, titled Love Her Wild.

In his own words, Atticus shares the books and writers that have inspired him.

On the Road by Jack Kerouac

Jack Kerouac was one of the most prominent authors of the Beat Generation. (Tom Palumbo/Penguin Classics)

"I was given On the Road for Christmas when I was 15. It was the first time I started thinking about the vast world outside the small one I was living in. It woke me up to that ineffable youthful spirit. The great wander. A lot of the themes that show up in my writing — the endless summer, nostalgic Americana — were inspired by the way Kerouac wrote." 

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

F. Scott Fitzgerald was an American novelist and short story writer best known for the 1925 classic The Great Gatsby. (HarperCollins)

"I think we all read The Great Gatsby in school, but it was coming back to it years later that made me really appreciate Fitzgerald's talent. To this day, I'll read some of his lines in disbelief of how good they are. There's a line from Gatsby that I've always loved: 'The exhilarating ripple of her voice was a wild tonic in the rain.' You can feel those words." 

Gonzo: The Life of Hunter S. Thompson by Jann S. Wenner & Corey Seymour

Jann S. Wenner and Corey Seymour, the founders of Rolling Stone magazine, wrote Gonzo: The Life of Hunter S. Thompson. (Mark Seliger/Hachette Book Group)

"By chance, I befriended Jann Wenner, the man who started Rolling Stone magazine. He's one of the most profound people I've ever met. He'd just finished writing Gonzo when I met him and he gave me a copy. Gonzo and Hunter inspired me to write in a different style, but also to live what I was writing. The untold stories I heard from Jann about Hunter were wild. What an interesting life! It's dangerous when you're talking about someone like HST, but he did really influence me."

The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway

Ernest Hemingway won a Pulitzer Prize for fiction and is author of the classic The Old Man and the Sea. (Earl Theisen/Simon & Schuster Canada)

"I love Hemingway — the character he created for himself and how much larger than life he was. He's the reason I started boxing 10 years ago. His unadorned prose inspired me to try to say a lot with a little. I bought a collection of his short stories on vinyl recently, and I listen to them before I go to bed." 

Meditations by Marcus Aurelius

Marcus Aurelius was emperor of Rome from 161 to 180 AD. ( Classics)

"I found this book incredibly insightful. Here was the most powerful person on earth at the time, writing about insecurities and questions that I was having — and it was written 1800 years ago. It was the first time I realized that many of the problems I was experiencing were not 'me' problems but human problems." 

Atticus's comments have been edited and condensed.