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Poets & Writers Magazine

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    "Dinky planet on a skateboard of dynamite / Oh, what to do..." Juan Felipe Herrera, who has been appointed a second term as poet laureate of the United States, speaks about meeting young poets and reads from his most recent collection, Notes on the Assemblage (City Lights Publishers, 2015), at the 2016 AWP conference and book fair in Los Angeles.


    “The only working antidote I have found for spells where I struggle to write—the weeks and months where every poem seems to me some small, opaque machine,..."


    “Writing looks much the same for me as others: a cup of coffee, music, a bare desktop, and so on. Eventually the tank runs dry, the wheels come off,..."

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    by Grant Faulkner

    Grant Faulkner, executive director of National Novel Writing Month and the cofounder of 100 Word Story, leads a literary tour of San Francisco, a city of rollicking rogues and home of the Beats.

    by Ander Monson

    Ander Monson, editor of DIAGRAM and author of Letter to a Future Lover, leads a literary tour of Tucson, Arizona, home of the renowned UA Poetry Center.

    by Jenny Shank

    In this tour of the Mile High City, novelist Jenny Shank visits the sites, writing groups, organizations, and presses that keep her hometown's literary spirit alive in the bootstrapping tradition of those “roaring drunken miners” who founded it.

    by Jen Michalski

    Author Jen Michalski takes us on a tour of the many literary sites writers should visit while strolling the gritty streets of Baltimore.

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Our annual Inspiration Issue features essays on writing about trauma as a subversive act, finding inspiration in rejection, the art of collaboration, the importance of publishing black writers, and our twelfth annual look at the year’s best debut poets; plus writing prompts for the new year, advice from agent Anna Ghosh, an interview with Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden, information about more than a hundred contests with upcoming deadlines, and more.

Jan/Feb 2017

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Ampersand Episode

The eleventh episode of Ampersand features an interview with Colson Whitehead, author of the National Book Award–winning novel The Underground Railroad; a reading by Roxane Gay from her new story collection, Difficult Women; readings by some of our 2016 Debut Poets, including Ocean Vuong; and more.

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Shadows of Words: Our Twelfth Annual Look at Debut Poets

Our twelfth annual look at the most exciting first books of poetry published in 2016, including Look by Solmaz Sharif, Night Sky With Exit Wounds by Ocean Vuong, and eight others. 

Writing the Self: Some Thoughts on Words and Woe

A writer recalls his family’s history of depression as well as his own, and explores how writing through the darkest periods can serve as inspiration.

Dear Readers, You Are Not Alone

A new literary trend is gaining traction across the country: Silent Book Clubs, parties in which a group of people gather at a bar, library, or private home to read together silently.

Q&A: Hayden Leads America’s Library

Carla Hayden, the nation’s new Librarian of Congress, talks about her role and what she hopes to achieve during her tenure. Hayden is the first woman, and the first African American, to hold the position.

Muslim Americans Take the Mic

“The M Word: Muslim Americans Take the Mic,” a new series of readings and events from PEN America, aims to give voice to Muslim American writers and advance the conversation about the challenges that Muslims face today.

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The Deepest Stuff: A Q&A With Susan Orlean


The New Yorker staff writer and bestselling author of The Orchid Thief talks with musician Ben Arthur about her music, inspiration, distraction, adaptation, and her new book about the Los Angeles Public Library fire in 1986.

5 Over 50 Reads


A roundup of new and emerging authors over the age of fifty whose debut books were published during the past year: Desiree Cooper, Sawnie Morris, Paul Vidich, Paula Whyman, and Paul Hertneky.

The World Beyond: A Last Interview With Max Ritvo


Max Ritvo, the author of Four Reincarnations (Milkweed Editions, September), spoke with poet Dorthea Lasky two months before his death from cancer. He was twenty-five. 

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Inspiration Gallery
Credit: Illustration by Ric Carrasquillo

In our special section on inspiration, "The Darkness and the Light," writers stare straight into the heart of difficult material to find stronger stories and deeper understanding.

Carla Hayden Gallery
Credit: Shawn Miller

Carla Hayden, the nation’s new Librarian of Congress, discusses her plans for the post. Hayden is the first woman, and the first African American, to hold the position.

The M Word Gallery
Credit: Nicola Bailey / Pen American

“The M Word: Muslim Americans Take the Mic,” a new series of readings and events from PEN America, aims to give voice to Muslim American writers.

Debut Poets Gallery
Credit: Eugene Smith

In our twelfth annual look at debut poets, associate editor Dana Isokawa highlights some of the most exciting first books of poetry published in 2016.