Daily News from Poets & Writers

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Daily News in the Writing Community from Poets & Writers

Lesser-Known Literary Monsters, the History of Zombie Research, and More
Fri, 31 Oct 2014 16:07:49 +0000 -

A morbid literary tour of Los Angeles; “artisanal terror”; PEN America’s first editions auction; and other news.

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Every day Poets & Writers Magazine scans the headlines—from publishing reports to academic announcements to literary dispatches—for all the news that creative writers need to know. Here are today’s stories:

When you think of literary monsters, Frankenstein and Dracula probably come to mind. You may not immediately think of Behemoth, the demon cat in Mikhail Bulgakov’s The Master and Margarita, or Franz Kafka’s terrifying depiction of his own father. Head over to Electric Literature to peruse a list of more obscure literary monsters from works by H. G. Wells, C. S. Lewis, Edgar Allan Poe, and others.

If you want to visit the graves of famous authors who died in Los Angeles, you won’t find them in one particular cemetery. Be prepared to walk all over the city to pay tribute to Charles Bukowski, Octavia Butler, and Truman Capote. (Los Angeles Times)

Horror fiction brought to you from the little guys. The New York Times highlights three independent presses who publish “artisanal terror”: Cemetery Dance Publications, EC Archives, and Centipede Press.

In a society where zombies are ubiquitous in pop culture, how do academics write about them as serious subjects? The Chronicle of Higher Education reports on the history of zombie research in the academy.

Romantic poet John Keats was born in London 219 years ago today. If you need a breather from gore and ghosts, read a Keats ode or two. Keats’s works, like many poems of the Romantic era, however, are not completely ghost-free.

Poet C. K. Williams memorializes his friend Galway Kinnell in a piece for the New Yorker. Pulitzer prize–winning poet and former Vermont poet laureate Kinnell died on Tuesday from leukemia.

Publishers Weekly has released its list for the one hundred best books of 2014. Creative nonfiction from Eula Biss and Leslie Jamison, short stories from Lorrie Moore, and new novels from Marlon James and Joseph O’Neill are among the top selections.

In other publishing news, the PEN America Center plans to auction off seventy-five rare first-edition books annotated by famous authors and poets. The “First Editions\Second Thoughts” auction will take place at Christie’s on December 2 in New York City, and will include annotated works from Paul Auster, Billy Collins, Lydia Davis, Junot Diaz, and more.

Poe’s Raven Forevermore, Literature of the Strange, and More
Thu, 30 Oct 2014 15:56:54 +0000 -

A British University abolishes library fines; children’s books fuel revenue growth; poet August Kleinzahler will lecture in D.C. series; and other news.

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Every day Poets & Writers Magazine scans the headlines—from publishing reports to academic announcements to literary dispatches—for all the news that creative writers need to know. Here are today’s stories:

“And the Raven, never flitting, still is sitting, still is sitting…” in our minds after all this time! Edgar Allan Poe’s famed poem “The Raven” has been around almost one hundred seventy years, and has since been embedded (parodied, filmed, read, acted) in our culture. What is it about Poe that keeps readers fascinated, and many academics furious? Jerome McGann, distinguished professor and critic at the University of Virginia, has published The Poet Edgar Allan Poe: Alien Angel (Harvard University Press), which investigates the persistent tension between Poe’s popular admiration and academic scorn. (Washington Post)

New figures from the Association of American Publishers (AAP) reveal that children’s and young adult books have fueled an e-book revenue growth in the United States this year of 7.5 percent (59.5 percent growth in the young adult category), and an overall 4.1 percent growth for the trade publishing sector (25.8 percent increase in the children’s and young adult category). (The Bookseller)

Certain universities refuse to grant degrees to students with outstanding library fines. After the Office of Fair Trading in the United Kingdom declared it unlawful to keep students from graduating over non-academic debts, the University of Sheffield has removed library fines entirely. (BBC News)

Washington Post book section editor Ron Charles will moderate an in-depth discussion with poet August Kleinzahler in the next “Life of a Poet” series next Tuesday in Washington, D.C. The series, which takes place at the Old Naval Hospital on Capitol Hill, offers a “chance to consider a writer’s entire career and explore the major events and themes that have shaped his work.” Kleinzahler’s accolades include a Guggenheim fellowship, the Lila Acheson-Reader’s Digest Award for Poetry, a Berlin Prize fellowship, and the Griffin International Poetry Prize. Admission is free and open to the public, but space is limited to one hundred people.

Publishers Weekly interviews Bronx president Ruben Diaz Jr. about the difficulties facing bookstores in the borough, and what can be done to encourage more booksellers to move in. The interview follows the news that the last general-interest bookstore in the Bronx (the Co-op City Barnes & Noble) would close its doors. Diaz negotiated to keep the store in place for at least two more years.

Bizarre, uncanny, and beautiful. Over at the Atlantic, fiction writer and editor of The Weird anthology Jeff VanderMeer considers the universal elements found in “weird tales.” Works by Jamaica Kincaid, Helen Oyeyemi, and Haruki Murakami are among those that VanderMeer suggests take on a “luminous quality.” “Just as in real life, things don’t always quite add up, the narrative isn’t quite what we expected, and in that space we discover some of the most powerful evocations of what it means to be human or inhuman.”

Contemporary poets talk Portland, bookstores, and saints: Paul Legault interviews Carl Adamshick about his new collection, Saint Friend, at the Los Angeles Review of Books.

Pulitzer Prize–Winning Poet Galway Kinnell Dies at 87, Rosemary Tonks’s Lost Poems, and More
Wed, 29 Oct 2014 16:51:55 +0000 -

The “algorithm versus librarian” debate heats up; French culture minister sparks controversy; the subtext of Victorian horror; and other news.

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This is all the info relevant to page 1 of the article.

Every day Poets & Writers Magazine scans the headlines—from publishing reports to academic announcements to literary dispatches—for all the news that creative writers need to know. Here are today’s stories:

Former Vermont poet laureate and Pulitzer Prize–winner Galway Kinnell died Tuesday. Kinnell published over twenty books from 1960 to 2008, all of which are still in print. A contemporary of both the Beat generation and the adherents of New Criticism, Kinnell developed his own poetic style, one that was “lyrical” and “influenced by the past.” (New York Times)

Forty years after British poet Rosemary Tonks’s public disappearance, Bloodaxe Books has published a collection of her poems, titled Bedouin of the London Evening. After gaining literary success in the 1960’s, Tonks quit writing, converted to Christianity, and became a recluse until her death this past April. Reviewer Kate Kellaway states that the new collection is “bohemian, ardent, sensual and of its time,” and reveals Tonks’s early Romantic influences of poets like Charles Baudelaire and Arthur Rimbaud. (Guardian)

French culture minister Fleur Pellerin generated media controversy when she stated in an interview about Patrick Modiano, France’s Nobel Prize–winning author, that she had not read a book for pleasure in the past two years. (BBC News)

In an increasingly expansive digital world where algorithms generate most media recommendations (Netflix, Amazon, Pandora, etc.), libraries are now incorporating similar online book recommendation services into their systems. The BookMatch Program at the Brooklyn Public Library, however, is not run by algorithms, but by librarians’ suggestions. So, who recommends better books? Read about the strengths and weaknesses of the “algorithm versus librarian” argument at Fast Company.

In more news on digital debates, David Ulin examines the implications for the publishing industry in the ongoing dispute between Amazon and Hachette. For an overview of the battle, read our recent online exclusive. (Los Angeles Times)

“What remains fascinating, though, is the roiling subtext of a great 19th-century debate about the inevitability of progress and the power of science to regulate, tame and explain everything.” At the Washington Post, Michael Lindgren discusses the significance of subtext in Victorian classic horror and ghost stories. What fails to “shock” us nowadays, he says, still has the power to influence how we think about societal progress.

Speaking of Victorian gothic subtext, one figure that remains a contemporary fixation is the blood-sucking, sensual Vampire. Both alluring and terrifying, this contradictory character represented underlying anxieties, perversities, and fears of “otherness” in Victorian England. Read more about the cultural significance of the vampire figure in Bram Stoker’s 1897 classic, Dracula. (British Library)

92nd Street Y at Seventy-Five, Malcolm Lowry’s Lost Manuscript, and More
Tue, 28 Oct 2014 15:38:52 +0000 -

Authors to auction off character names for charity; Halloween costumes of famous authors; post-apocalyptic novels; and other news.

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This is all the info relevant to page 1 of the article.

Every day Poets & Writers Magazine scans the headlines—from publishing reports to academic announcements to literary dispatches—for all the news that creative writers need to know. Here are today’s stories:

“You sat there and you saw these icons standing in a blaze of brilliant spotlight, and you felt that you were at the crux of all civilization in the 92nd Street Y in the 1950s.” This Sunday will mark the seventy-fifth anniversary of the country’s most famous literary reading series at New York’s 92nd Street Y Unterberg Poetry Center. Poetry giants such as William Carlos Williams (the inaugural reader), W. H. Auden, and Dylan Thomas were among the early readers at the Y. The center has been celebrating the anniversary over the past year with various programs, including the “75 at 75” project, which pairs archived recordings from the series with contemporary author responses. Pairings including Brian Boyd on Vladimir Nabokov, Rick Moody on W. G. Sebald, and Helen Vendler on Wallace Stevens are now available for free online. (NPR)

In 1944, British poet and author Malcolm Lowry’s shack near Vancouver burned down—along with, it was believed, a draft of his novel In Ballast to the White Sea. Seventy years after the apparent destruction of the manuscript, the novel will be published. The salvaged copy belonged to the mother of Lowry’s first wife, and went undiscovered until her death in 2001. The Bluecoat art gallery in Liverpool will commemorate the publication this Saturday. (BBC News)

Currently, only 7 percent of books published are accessible to visually impaired readers in the United Kingdom. The Royal National Institute of Blind People has made a call to action to a range of book publishers across the U.K. to increase accessibility, volume, and timing of available content. (Melville House)

New York City independent bookseller Posman Books has been forced to close one of its locations in Grand Central Terminal because of new pedestrian circulation upgrades in the station. Posman will vacate after fifteen years in the station, but will remain in its current locations in Chelsea Market and Rockefeller Center. (Publishers Weekly)

Would you like to be immortalized in Margaret Atwood’s next novel? Seventeen top authors, including Atwood, Zadie Smith, and Ian McEwan, will soon auction off naming rights to characters in their upcoming works for a London charity. Proceeds from the “Immortality Auction” will be donated to Freedom from Torture, a charity providing support and therapy for torture survivors. Author Tracy Chevalier is auctioning off a landlady character in her upcoming novel: “I am holding open a place in my new novel for Mrs—ideally a Mrs—[your surname], tough-talking landlady of a boarding house in 1850s Gold Rush-era San Francisco,” she said. “The first thing she says to the hero is: ‘No sick on my stairs. You vomit on my floors, you’re out.’” (Guardian)

Many of today’s realistic novels set in the “near future” imagine bleak worlds post-civilization. Read Bill Morris’s essay on how these novels expose our era’s real anxieties over “pandemics, environmental catastrophes, energy shortages, terrorism, and civil unrest.” Michael McGhee’s Happiness Ltd., Gary Shteyngart’s Super Sad True Love Story, and Edan Lepucki’s dystopian debut California are among the works that speculate on society’s overdeveloped, overexposed, and fearsome future. (Millions)

Susan Sontag was a Teddy Bear. Truman Capote was a young Santa Claus. With Halloween just a few days away, get some last-minute inspiration from famous authors’ Halloween costumes. (Electric Literature)

Byron’s Modern Vampire, Postmodernism for Children, and More
Mon, 27 Oct 2014 15:27:47 +0000 -

Dundee International Book Prize winner announced; Dylan Thomas’s reputation in Wales; Maryland bookstore donates to international charities; and other news.

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This is all the info relevant to page 1 of the article.

Every day Poets & Writers Magazine scans the headlines—from publishing reports to academic announcements to literary dispatches—for all the news that creative writers need to know. Here are today’s stories:

Today marks the centennial of Welsh poet Dylan Thomas’s birth. In Wales, Thomas’s reputation as a heavy drinker and his writing in English rather than Welsh has contributed to the country’s academics denying his “deserved recognition.” Centenary events such as the “Dylathon”—which features performances from Prince Charles, actor Ian McKellen, and Welsh president Michael D. Higgins—the Dylan Thomas Birthday Walk, which “guides literary pilgrims through the poem and its landmarks on a series of placards,” and praise from Gillian Clarke, the national poet of Wales, aim to refocus public attention on Thomas’s work. (New York Times, RTE News)

Amy Mason of Oxford, England, has won the Dundee International Book Prize for her debut novel, The Other Ida. The prize of ten thousand pounds and a publishing deal was awarded to Mason at the Dundee Literary Festival in Scotland last week. Judges for the prize included author Neil Gaiman and broadcaster Kirsty Lang. (BBC News)

Over at the Atlantic, Lenika Cruz considers A Series of Unfortunate Events, the popular children’s book series by Lemony Snicket which began fifteen years ago and is often considered a work of postmodern literature. Cruz refers to the series’s self-conscious and experimental style, and its heavy reliance on intertextuality, as reasons for the “postmodern” label.

In the spirit of Halloween week, revisit Romantic poet Lord Byron and physician John Polidori’s 1819 text, “The Vampyre,” in which the modern vampire was reimagined as an “elegant and magnetic” figure, instead of the feral creature of southeastern European folklore. (Public Domain Review)

“Just about the creepiest thing a writer can do is put you in the mind of somebody whose view of the world is very narrow, very skewed and very persuasive.” In more spooky news, four New York Times book reviewers recall their most memorable frightening reading experiences.

The Curious Iguana bookstore in Frederick, Maryland, has donated over ten thousand dollars to international charities since opening in September of last year. The bookstore, which was founded as a benefit corporation, aims to donate a portion of its net sales to global nonprofit organizations each month. (American Booksellers Association)

“Updike was a realist, and this genre discrepancy served as a sort of important buffer to literary bitterness and jealousy, especially as time went on.” At the Millions, Nathan Scott McNamara examines the decades-long literary relationship between two bestselling novelists: John Barth and John Updike.

Inaugural Winners of Kirkus Prize Announced, Dylan Thomas Centennial Celebrations, and More
Fri, 24 Oct 2014 16:24:03 +0000 -

Bronx bookstore to remain open after all; the San Antonio Library launches an “airport e-book” branch; the age of “Transrealism”; and other news.

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This is all the info relevant to page 1 of the article.

Every day Poets & Writers Magazine scans the headlines—from publishing reports to academic announcements to literary dispatches—for all the news that creative writers need to know. Here are today’s stories:

Booklovers to the rescue! After yesterday’s announcement that the Bronx’s only full-service bookstore was set to close by the end of the year, borough residents and Bronx president Ruben Diaz Jr. have successfully campaigned to save the Co-op City Barnes & Noble. Diaz negotiated terms between the bookseller and its property owner, and the store will remain open for at least two more years. (New York Times)

The inaugural winners of the Kirkus Prize for fiction, nonfiction, and young readers’ literature were announced yesterday. Read more on the Grants & Awards blog.

Celebrations have begun for the centennial of Welsh poet Dylan Thomas's birth. Festivities include the Dylan Thomas Festival in Wales, the Dylan Thomas in Fitzrovia festival in London, and a featured exhibition at the Unterberg Poetry Center in New York City, titled “Dylan Thomas in America: A Centennial Exhibition.” Thomas was born on October 27, 1914, in Swansea, Wales. (New York Times)

Is “Transrealism” the first major literary movement of the twenty-first century? As genre boundaries continue to blur in contemporary literature, Damien Walter suggests Rudy Rucker’s 1983 essay “A Transrealist Manifesto” is now “reaching its fruition,” with work by authors like Margaret Atwood, Philip K. Dick, and Stephen King. In his manifesto, Rucker—a mathematician, writer, and critic—wrote, “Any literature which is not about actual reality is weak and enervated. But the genre of straight realism is all burnt out….The tools of fantasy and science fiction offer a means to thicken and intensify realistic fiction.” (Guardian)

Travelers, if you happen to pass through the San Antonio International Airport, make sure to pick up a temporary library card and check out a book or two! San Antonio is the first library in the country to install an “airport e-book branch,” where travelers can digitally browse the library’s collection and check out items onto an e-reader or phone. (Melville House)

Amazon has suffered a large financial operating loss this quarter—$544 million compared to $25 million in 2013—and slow revenue growth in its media segment, which has caused some analysts and investors to question the company’s fourth quarter forecast. (Publishers Weekly)

The Museum of London is currently hosting an exhibit on Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s legendary detective, Sherlock Holmes. “Sherlock Holmes: The Man Who Never Lived And Will Never Die” will explore how Doyle’s character “has transcended literature onto stage and screen and continues to attract huge audiences to this day.” (GalleyCat)

The Los Angeles Review of Books interviews John Darnielle, author and lead singer of folk band The Mountain Goats, about his debut novel, Wolf in White Van. Darnielle, whose novel was longlisted for the National Book Award for fiction, talks about the difference between songwriting and prose, the power of the imagination, and how much a book tour (unsurprisingly) differs from a band tour.

Provided courtesy of:
Poets & Writers, Inc.

Multimedia Items from Poets & Writers

If At First You Don't Succeed...
Thu, 06 Feb 2014 17:49:57 +0000 -

Miranda Beverly-Whittemore is one of three novelists, profiled by Emily Raboteau in "If At First You Don't Succeed" (March/April 2014), who persevered despite the commercial "failure" of early books. From the profile:

read more

How Food Writing Fed My Fiction
Mon, 20 May 2013 14:15:23 +0000 -
Associated Content

Join fiction writer, dessert blogger, and baker Aaron Hamburger at Whole Foods Market in New York City as he prepares his delicious limoncello cupcakes and talks about what the art of food writing has taught him about fiction writing. Watch via YouTube.

Junot Díaz Records Audio of His New Book, This Is How You Lose Her
Thu, 02 Aug 2012 04:00:00 +0000 -
Associated Content

Ever wonder how an audio book is created? Watch this exclusive video of Junot Díaz recording the opening lines of his short story collection, This Is How You Lose Her (Riverhead Books, 2012), which is featured in the Page One section of our September/October 2012 issue.

The Bard Behind the Bar
Sun, 01 Jan 2012 18:54:13 +0000 -
Associated Content

Join contributor Robert Hershon for a pint at McSorley's Old Ale House, where poet and head bartender Geoffrey Bartholomew has sold more than five thousand copies of his self-published collection, The McSorley's Poems, without the aid of a high-powered marketing department or special advertising and promotions. Watch via YouTube.

The Corner Library
Tue, 01 Nov 2011 14:12:13 +0000 -

Poets & Writers Magazine takes a look inside the Corner Library, a tiny book depository serving the community in Brooklyn, New York's Williamsburg neighborhood.

Behind the Scenes at a Poets & Writers Cover Shoot
Fri, 01 Jul 2011 13:15:49 +0000 -

Go behind the scenes at the photo shoot with the literary agents featured on the cover of our July/August issue to see how much time and energy goes into capturing the images published in Poets & Writers Magazine. Join the photographer, the art director, the managing editor, and the editor of the magazine in a SoHo loft as they work toward the perfect cover.

Writing Contest Advice
Sun, 01 May 2011 19:44:51 +0000 -

Watch Stephanie G'Schwind, Camille Rankine, Michael Collier, and Beth Harrison offer their advice for poets and writers interested in submitting their work to writing contests. G'Schwind, director of the Center for Literary Publishing; Collier, director of the Bread Loaf Writers' Conference; Rankine, communications coordinator at Cave Canem Foundation; and Harrison, associate director of the Academy of American Poets, talked with editor Kevin Larimer as part of a roundtable interview published in the May/June 2011 issue of Poets & Writers Magazine.

The Future of Family-Friendly Residencies
Tue, 01 Mar 2011 14:28:07 +0000 -

Watch contributor Thomas Israel Hopkins—along with this wife, novelist Emily Barton, and their son, Tobias—discuss the impetus for writing "The Future of Family-Friendly Residencies." In the article, which appears in the March/April 2011 issue of Poets & Writers Magazine, Hopkins takes a look at the relatively small number of colonies that allow writers to bring children for their full stay and offers some suggestions for ways in which parent-writers and residency directors can work together to facilitate more programs that accommodate families.

Behind the Design of This Issue's Inspiring Cover
Sat, 01 Jan 2011 05:00:00 +0000 -
Associated Content

Watch editor Kevin Larimer's interview with illustrator Jim Tierney, who reveals his initial sketches and revisions of this issue's cover.

DIY: How to Coptic Bind a Chapbook
Mon, 01 Nov 2010 14:18:59 +0000 -
Associated Content

As a companion to Indie Innovators, a special section on groundbreaking presses and magazines, we demonstrate how to Coptic bind a chapbook. View the accompanying slideshow for information on formatting your book in Microsoft Word.