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    “Maybe he will be the boy who studies stars. / Maybe he will be (say it) / the boy on the coroner's table / splayed & spangled / by an officer's lead as if he, too, weren't made / of a trillion glorious cells & sentences. Trying to last.” Aracelis Girmay reads an excerpt from her new collection, The Black Maria (BOA Editions, 2016), at the 2016 Split This Rock Poetry Festival.


    “Writing is a combination of sculpting and songwriting for me. The first challenge is to vomit out the raw hunk of material—gather the thoughts that will anchor..."


    “Most of what I write is memoir, which is a harrowing genre, but I have no choice in the matter. It’s what I have always been called to write...."

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    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.

    by Oscar Casares

    From the long-standing tradition of the Texas Book Festival to the offbeat O. Henry Pun-Off World Championships, acclaimed author Oscar Casares highlights a range of literary happenings and haunts in Austin, a city that pledges to keep it weird.

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The Sept/Oct 2016 issue features messages for the next president from fifty American poets and writers; a profile of writer and photographer Teju Cole; an interview with award-winning author Jacqueline Woodson; a conversation about memoir between William Giraldi and Sven Birkerts; a special section on MFA programs in creative writing; a Q&A with poetry critic Steph Burt; and more.

Sept/Oct 2016

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Ampersand Episode

The ninth episode of Ampersand features a preview of the new issue of the magazine; Tina Chang, Junot Díaz, Evie Shockley, and others sharing messages for the next president; advice from MFA students; a clip from an interview with Tracy Sherrod; and more.

Listen to Ampersand

A New Center for Black Poetics

At the University of Pittsburgh, poets Dawn Lundy Martin, Terrance Hayes, and Yona Harvey recently established the Center for African American Poetry and Poetics—a creative think tank dedicated to studying, archiving, and promoting the work of African American poets.

Dear President: A Message for the Next Commander in Chief From Fifty American Poets and Writers

Fifty American poets and writers offer messages to the next commander in chief about what’s most important to them, and what they hope to see in the next four years.

Q&A: Sherrod Celebrates Amistad Press

Tracy Sherrod, current editorial director of Amistad Press, discusses how the publisher of multicultural voices has changed over its thirty-year history, as well as the challenges it faces today.

Reviewers & Critics: Steph Burt

Steph Burt, acclaimed critic, poet, and Harvard professor, talks about their path to becoming a poetry critic, working as both a poet and a critic, and how the internet has greatly expanded the conversations surrounding poetry and poetics.

The Savvy Self-Publisher: Jonathan R. Miller’s The Two Levels

In a continuing series, Deborah W. Englander consults an author and events manager, as well as a CEO of a book-marketing firm, to provide self-published author Jonathan R. Miller valuable book-industry advice on his novel The Two Levels.

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First Fiction 2016


In our sixteenth annual First Fiction roundup, five debut authors—Yaa Gyasi, Masande Ntshanga, Rumaan Alam, Maryse Meijer, and Imbolo Mbue—discuss their first books. Introduced by Angela Flournoy, Naomi Jackson, Emma Straub, Lindsay Hunter, and Christina Baker Kline.

An Open Door: A Profile of Richard Russo


For the past thirty years, from the publication of his first novel, Mohawk, to his latest, Everybody’s Fool, a sequel to his beloved 1993 novel, Nobody’s Fool, Richard Russo, the Pulitzer Prize–winning “patron saint of small-town fiction,” has remained the same generous, optimistic, hardworking writer he’s always been, welcoming readers into his books and his heart.

Pushcart Prize Turns Forty


The Pushcart Prize, a venerable nonprofit award series and press, released its fortieth-anniversary prize anthology this month. On the eve of its release party, Poets & Writers staff looked into the history of the prize, and what has kept "one of the last bastions of non-corporate writing" alive and well over the years.

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Gallery Teju Cole
Credit: Kevin Nance

In a new collection of essays, Known and Strange Things, writer and photographer Teju Cole explores personal and probing questions of life and art.

Gallery Jacqueline Woodson
Credit: Tony Gale

Upon the release of her new novel, Another Brooklyn, Jacqueline Woodson discusses New York City’s literary legacy and the strength in being a person of color.


Gallery Giraldi Birkerts
Credit: Webb Chappell

William Giraldi, whose new memoir, The Hero’s Body, was published in August, talks with memoirist Sven Birkerts about the artful craft and contradictions of a misunderstood genre.

Gallery Ferlinghetti
Credit: Stacey Lewis

Author and bookseller Lynn Rosen highlights a number of best-selling authors who have opened bookstores, such as poet and City Lights cofounder Lawrence Ferlinghetti.