Daily News from Poets & Writers

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Daily News in the Writing Community from Poets & Writers

Red Hen Press Controversy, Thriving Indie Bookstores, and More
Wed, 02 Sep 2015 16:14:53 +0000 -

Jonathan Franzen’s divided reputation; Patrick Modiano’s search for “pre-history”; the qualifications of a critic; 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:

Controversy continues to surround independent publisher Red Hen Press after its cofounder and managing editor, Kate Gale, published a piece in the Huffington Post last week defending the Association of Writers and Writing Programs. Since the publication of Gale’s article, which many members of the literary community found offensive and culturally insensitive, three members of the press’s advisory board have resigned—Sherman Alexie, Garrett Hongo, and Helena Maria Viramontes—and at least two of Red Hen’s authors have decided to part ways with the press. (Publishers Weekly)

At NPR, Jonathan Franzen discusses the escapism of writing, the guilt that comes with being an author, and his fifth novel, Purity, which hit shelves yesterday. 

Speaking of Franzen, Mark Medley considers the author’s divided public reputation. “To some, he represents everything wrong with contemporary literature, a symbol of unchecked privilege and unexamined sexism; to others, he’s the Great American Novelist…a writer who can internalize the foremost issues of the day and bring clarity to them through his fiction.” (Globe & Mail)

The late Oliver Sacks’s final essay, “Urge,” has been published in the September 24 issue of the New York Review of Books. The acclaimed author and neurologist passed away on August 30 after a battle with cancer.

Though Nobel Prize–winning French author Patrick Modiano has published more than twenty-five books in a career spanning four decades, his life remains somewhat of a mystery. James McAuley looks at Modiano’s fiction in relation to his 2005 memoir, Pedigree, and examines how the author’s “search for pre-history” in his writing reflects his life in postwar France. (New Republic)

At the Week, Jessica Hulinger considers four reasons why independent bookstores are thriving “long after analysts predicted their demise,” and despite the success of Amazon.

“Everyone, upon encountering a work of art, has some kind of response, ranging from boredom or incomprehension to amazement and gratitude. In this sense, everyone really is a critic, in a way that not everyone is a painter or a poet.” Writer Adam Kirsch, alongside editor Charles McGrath, discusses whether everyone is qualified to critique the arts. (New York Times)

The Success of Graywolf Press, Bill Murray’s Love of Poetry, and More
Tue, 01 Sep 2015 19:11:32 +0000 -

Royal Shakespeare Company launches rap app; expert concludes Harper Lee manuscript is not a third novel; Scarlett Johansson fails to ban book that features her likeness; 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:

Don’t worry, a third Harper Lee novel does not exist. After Lee’s lawyer, Tonja B. Carter, speculated that papers found in the same safe deposit box as Go Set a Watchman may be a draft of a third novel, rare books expert James S. Jaffe was brought in to evaluate the text. Jaffe concluded that the manuscript is instead an early draft of To Kill a Mockingbird. (New York Times)

The story of an indie that holds its own: At Vulture, Boris Kachka looks at the history of Graywolf Press, and examines how the independent press has achieved major success in the publishing world.

Rolling Stone highlights actor and comedian Bill Murray’s love of poetry (he loves Wallace Stevens!) and his public support for Poets House. Murray has participated in the organization’s annual Brooklyn Bridge Poets Walk for the past twenty years.

Nicholas Hoult will star in a biopic of author J. D. Salinger entitled Rebel in the Rye. The film is based on Kenneth Slawenski’s biography J. D. Salinger: A Life, which focuses largely on the author’s youth prior to the 1951 publication of his famous novel The Catcher in the Rye. (Guardian)

Actress Scarlett Johansson has unsuccessfully attempted to ban the English translation of Grégoire Delacourt’s French novel The First Thing You See, which features a character who pretends to be Scarlett Johansson. Johansson claimed the novel was defamatory and a violation of privacy, but to no avail: The novel will be published in the United Kingdom on September 10, albeit with the four lines about the Johansson character’s “illicit affairs” cut out. (Independent)

A recent episode of the popular science podcast Radiolab features the New York City–based poetry performance series Emotive Fruition founded by poet Thomas Dooley. The episode, which is themed on “Elements,” includes clips from Emotive Fruition’s recent show, which featured performances of poems based on the periodic table of elements and written by thirty contemporary poets.  

In the continuous quest to get young people interested in Shakespeare, the Royal Shakespeare Company is launching an app that teaches Much Ado About Nothing through rap lyrics. The “RE: Shakespeare” app is designed as a primer to the work and is intended for students aged eleven to sixteen. (Telegraph)

Emerson’s Influence on American Poetry, Oliver Sacks Has Died, and More
Mon, 31 Aug 2015 16:37:22 +0000 -

Ursula K. Le Guin updates her 1998 writing manual for the twenty-first century; Oxford Dictionaries adds one thousand new words to its website; Colombian garbage man provides books to children in impoverished areas; and other news.

Page 1
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:

Author and neurologist Oliver Sacks died yesterday at the age of eighty-two after a battle with cancer. Sacks authored numerous books, including Awakenings (1973) and The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat (1985), about treating patients who suffered from various brain disorders; his books served as detailed meditations on consciousness and the intersections of science, art, and the human condition. At the New York Times, Michiko Kakutani writes: “It’s no coincidence that so many of the qualities that made Oliver Sacks such a brilliant writer are the same qualities that made him an ideal doctor: keen powers of observation and a devotion to detail, deep reservoirs of sympathy, and an intuitive understanding of the fathomless mysteries of the human brain and the intricate connections between the body and the mind.”

“Emerson didn’t want to write poems about the New World. He wanted poems to make the world new. It is fascinating, therefore, to see how he arranged for his own swift obsolescence.” The New Yorker’s Dan Chiasson examines how Ralph Waldo Emerson provided the framework for American poetry and how he influenced iconic American poets Walt Whitman and Emily Dickinson.

Two rare handwritten letters by James Joyce recently sold at auction in the United States for $24,650.68. In the letters—one dated in 1918, the other in 1922—Joyce discusses his problems in finding a U.K. printer for his novel Ulysses. (Guardian)

Before her novel Into the Valley was picked up for publication by Soho Press, fiction writer Ruth Galm received nearly sixty agent rejections. At Publishers Weekly, Galm chronicles her long path to publication and offers advice about dealing with rejection.

In 1998, science fiction author Ursula K. Le Guin published what became a classic craft manual for aspiring writers titled Steering the Craft: Exercises and Discussions on Story Writing for the Lone Navigator or the Mutinous Crew. NPR’s Scott Simon interviews Le Guin about the recent release of the updated edition of the guide, Steering the Craft: A 21st Century Guide to Sailing the Sea of Story.

Approximately one thousand new words have been added to the Oxford Dictionaries website, including “manspreading,” “awesomesauce,” “hangry,” and “mic drop.” (GalleyCat)

Jose Gutierrez, a fifty-three-year-old garbage collector in Bogotá, Colombia, has been rescuing discarded books and providing them to children in impoverished areas for nearly twenty years. Known as Colombia’s “Lord of the Books,” Gutierrez says of his labor of love, “Books are our salvation and that is what Colombia needs.” (ABC News)

AWP Under Fire, Ferrante Fever, and More
Thu, 27 Aug 2015 15:34:54 +0000 -

The turmoil behind Harper Lee's Go Set a Watchman; on marriage, writing, and Clarice Lispector; the total weirdness of the book tour; and other news.

Page 1
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:

The Association of Writers and Writing Programs (AWP) Conference—the annual event that drew roughly 15,000 writers last year—has been the subject of a growing controversy surrounding diversity and discrimination. After the conference announced its 2016 panels earlier this month—a lineup that, among other disparities, rejected all disability-related panel proposals—the writer Laura Mullen made a call on Twitter for the organization to release a race and gender breakdown of panels. In response, AWP executive director David Fenza wrote a letter to Mullen (copying her colleagues at Louisiana State University), accusing the writer of “casting aspersions” against the organization. (Both Fenza’s letter, and Mullen’s subsequent response, can be read on Mullen’s blog.) A petition was then created last week calling for the organization to "improve diversity, accessibility, and transparency." On Monday, Red Hen Press founder and managing editor Kate Gale, who is a member of the 2016 conference planning committee, published a piece in the Huffington Post in defense of the organization; it was received by much of the literary community as highly offensive and indicative of the problematic culture of the conference, and led to a number of critical responses. AWP has since responded, stating that the organization is considering collecting demographic information, and in a Tweet yesterday, that it did not endorse Gale’s article, which has since been removed and replaced with with an apology. Fenza, meanwhile, defended Gale's remarks today. (Publishers Weekly)

In other literary drama, the Los Angeles Review of Books offers a detailed account of the pre-publication turmoil surrounding Harper Lee’s Go Set a Watchman.

In the latest installment of the New York Times By the Book series, short story writer Ann Beattie—whose new collection, The State We’re In: Maine Stories, is just out from Scribner—talks about her love of cookbooks and distaste for mysteries. To hear an interview with Beattie about her new book and her writing process, listen to the latest episode of Ampersand: The Poets & Writers Podcast.

The Boston Review explores the relationship between marriage, writing, and the work of twentieth-century Brazilian writer Clarice Lispector—whose collected short stories were recently published for the first time in English—along with that of Edith Wharton and the French author Colette.

At Literary Hub, fiction writer Justin Taylor—the author of a novel and two short story collections, most recently Flings (Harper, 2014)—writes about the total weirdness of the book tour.

Attention, literary-minded graphic artists: Little, Brown is hosting a cover design contest in honor of the twentieth anniversary of David Foster Wallace’s novel Infinite Jest. The book was first published in February 1996. (GalleyCat)

The antidote for Ferrante Fever is nearly here, whether we're ready or not. The elusive Italian author of the addictive Neapolitan novels, Elena Ferrante, has “finished the story that [she] never thought would end.” Read about the fourth and final book in the saga, The Story of the Lost Child, at the New York Times Sunday Book Review.

Growing a Literary Garden, the Art of the Sex Scene, and More
Wed, 26 Aug 2015 14:47:04 +0000 -

What to read in the dog days of summer; libraries on bikes; a children's book that induces hypnosis; and other news.

Page 1
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:

In West Bloomfield, Michigan, high school English teacher Jennifer McQuillan spent the summer collecting clippings from the homesteads of American authors—including those of Dickinson, Fitzgerald, Twain, Whitman, and Vonnegut—and is using them to plant a “literary garden” in her school's courtyard. Listen to the story at NPR.

Writing a good sex scene can be difficult (failure in the practice is in fact so common that it spawned the notorious Bad Sex in Fiction Awards). At the New Yorker, Garth Greenwell looks at art and sex scenes—and the art of the sex scene—in the work of novelist Lidia Yuknavitch.

With summer quickly careening to a close, it’s perhaps the perfect time to read (or reread) John Cheever’s iconic story “The Swimmer.” At the Millions, Nick Ripatrazone offers a close read of the story, which was originally published in the New Yorker more than fifty years ago, calling it “the perfect read for the waning days of summer, when early evening thunderstorms break the heat, and when children play under moonlight—knowing their freedom will soon end.”

Not sure what else to read in the last days of August? Check out President Obama’s summer reading list for ideas. (Electric Literature)

Alternatively, you might turn to this somewhat loftier list—what the Guardian boldly calls the “100 best novels written in English.”

A number of initiatives to combat “book deserts”—areas that lack easy access to libraries—have cropped up around the world, including book vending machines in Washington, D.C., and book buses in Africa, Asia, and South America. In Seattle and San Francisco, books on bikes are also gaining speed. (GOOD Magazine)

In Cluj-Napoca, Romania, meanwhile, travelers reading books on city buses were awarded free bus rides earlier this summer. The initiative, which ran for a week in June, was proposed to the city’s mayor by Victor Miron, a book-lover and Cluj-Napoca resident, in an effort to encourage more people to read on public transportation. “I believe that it’s better to promote reading by rewarding those who read, instead of criticizing the ones who don’t,” Miron said. (Independent)

Having trouble getting your kids to sleep? Try this self-published picture book, written by Swedish psychologist Carl-Johan Forssén Ehrlin, that induces “gentle hypnosis.” (CBS News)

Japanese Bookstore Vs. Amazon, Mistaking Difficult Writing for Brilliance, and More
Tue, 25 Aug 2015 14:48:28 +0000 -

The poet Cynthia Macdonald has died; Duke freshmen boycott Bechdel's Fun Home; Morrissey releases debut novel; and other news.

Page 1
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:

If you, like pretty much every book enthusiast, have ever fantasized about running a bookstore, now’s your chance. Airbnb is offering guests the opportunity to run a bookstore in Scotland. The Open Book is located in the Scottish seaside town of Wigtown, otherwise known as “Scotland’s National Book Town.” Guests can rent the store and apartment above it for £150 (plus a £30 cleaning fee) per week. (GalleyCat)

Speaking of bookstores, in an effort to combat the dominance of online retailers like Amazon, a major Japanese bookstore chain is buying 90 percent of the first print run of Haruki Murakami’s new essay collection. The chain, Kinokuniya, which has more than sixty stores in Japan, is set to acquire 90,000 copies of the 100,000-copy print run of Murakami’s forthcoming Novelist As a Vocation, which is out on September 10. (Guardian)

The poet Cynthia Macdonald, whose work is known for both its humor and its ability to shock, has died. She was eighty-seven. (New York Times)

At Duke University, some incoming freshmen have refused to read Alison Bechdel’s award-winning graphic novel Fun Home, which was assigned as a summer read, due to its “pornographic nature.” (CNN)

“Some writers compose convoluted, hard-to-read sentences because they don’t have the chops to make simpler ones.” In this week’s installment of the New York Times Bookends series, authors Zoë Heller and Leslie Jamison discuss whether we overvalue difficulty in literature, mistaking inaccessibility for brilliance.

Morrissey’s debut novel, List of the Lost, will be published by Penguin UK next month. The novel follows the release of the singer’s memoir, Autobiography, which was published in 2013. (Independent)

“I’m still not the best at anything. Not the smartest, most talented, prettiest, strongest; not the best traveler, best novelist; not the best at foreign languages and not the best yogi. Not the best at anything. But my heavens, I do show up.” At Good Housekeeping, Elizabeth Gilbert, the best-selling author of Eat, Pray, Love, explains her secret to success

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.