Article Archive

Articles from Poet & Writers Magazine include material from the print edition plus exclusive online-only material.

An Interview With Poet Susan Atefat-Peckham

by
Jodie Ahern
2.12.04

Poet Susan Atefat-Peckham and her six-year-old son were killed in a car accident in Ghor Safi, Jordan, on February 7, 2004. A professor in the MFA program at Georgia College & State University, Atefat-Peckham was in the Middle East as a Fulbright scholar teaching creative writing at the University of Jordan. She was 33. The following Direct Quote was originally posted on October 12, 2001, following the publication of her book That Kind of Sleep.

Get on the Bus: Bookstore Tourism

by
Jane Van Ingen
1.1.04

Six months ago Larry Portzline, a professor of writing and literature at Harrisburg Community College in Pennsylvania, started a grassroots movement called Bookstore Tourism—a series of bus trips to urban centers where reader-tourists can patronize independent bookstores. At the end of March, a group of readers from the Harrisburg area will travel approximately 200 miles to the 10th annual Virginia Festival of the Book, where they will participate in festival events (readings, book signings, seminars, and so on) and visit the many independent bookstores that are in Charlottesville, Virginia, including New Dominion Bookshop, the Book Cellar, and Blue Whale Books. 

High Lonesome: Wyoming's Ucross and Jentel

by
Lisa A. Phillips
1.1.04

Northeastern Wyoming is a rugged place, where the ruins of turn-of-the-century homesteads still stand in the tall grass, and communities gather every spring to watch cowboys wrestle their calves down for branding. An average of five people per mile populate this High Plains landscape of low, bison-backed hills and rushing creeks. Such rough, isolated grace makes the region an ideal, though unexpected, environment for an artists colony—or better yet, two of them.

Delta's Poetry Program Takes Off

by
Dalia Sofer
1.1.04

When it comes to getting poetry into unexpected places, the sky's the limit for Billy Collins. Last fall the former United States poet laureate and author of eight books of poetry partnered with Delta Air Lines to create an audio program of poetry to be offered periodically to passengers on its entire fleet of airplanes.

Turning the Page, Saving a Tree

by
Avery Yale Kamila
1.1.04

At some point during her two-year stint atop an ancient 200-foot redwood tree in Humboldt County, California—an effort to to save the old-growth forest—environmental activist and writer Julia Butterfly Hill was approached by HarperSanFrancisco for the rights to publish her memoir, Legacy of Luna. Hill accepted the offer, with one stipulation: Her book had to be printed on 100 percent postconsumer recycled paper manufactured without the use of chlorine bleach.

"All Trees Are Oak Trees.…": Introductions to Literature

Writers who hang out in academia to help pay the rent are likely to find that their job description comes to include inviting other writers to visit their campus and then hosting them through their visit, introducing them to their lecture audience, and sitting in on the informal sessions with students that typically complete the visitor's tour of duty. Such visitations are, I believe, a generally worthwhile feature of any college writing program: beneficial to the visitor, obviously, who gets paid or otherwise rewarded and may possibly gain a few additional readers; potentially enlightening for the visitor's audience (even those whose curiosity may be more sociological, anthropological, or even clinical than literary); and at least marginally beneficial for the host as well, as I shall attempt to illustrate.

Literary MagNet

by
Kevin Larimer
1.1.04

Literary MagNet chronicles the start-ups and closures, successes and failures, anniversaries and accolades, changes of editorship and special issues—in short, the news and trends—of literary magazines in America. This issue's MagNet features the Kenyon Review, the Iowa Review, the Paris Review, Poetry, Ploughshares, spork, Petroglyph, Isotope, Poetry Daily,Verse Daily, and Literal Latté.

Arming Soldiers With Used Books

by
Kevin Larimer
1.1.04

In 1998, Dan Bowers, an engineering consultant in Red Lion, Pennsylvania, was on a mission. His son-in-law, Chief Master Sergeant Frederick Honeywell, was serving at an Air Force base in Kuwait that had no recreational facilities and no library—and indeed, no books. When Honeywell's wife, Chris, told her father about the problem, Bowers sent some of his own books, as well as donations from others, overseas. It was the first deployment of what eventually became Operation Paperback. Six years later, the nonprofit organization has sent nearly 150,000 books to American troops in more than 30 locations, including Afghani-stan, Iraq, Bosnia, and Kosovo. 

First-Class Mail: A Poet's Letters

by
Kevin Larimer
11.1.03
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The published correspondence of famous poets often accounts for more real estate on bookstore shelves than their books of poems. The letters of Ezra Pound, for example, are collected in nearly 30 volumes published primarily by university presses over the last three decades. For academic scholars who spend their weekends in the special-collections rooms of libraries, the value of these books is obvious. But what are they worth to the general reader, or the practicing poet?

Literary MagNet

by
Kevin Larimer
11.1.03

Literary MagNet chronicles the start-ups and closures, successes and failures, anniversaries and accolades, changes of editorship and special issues—in short, the news and trends—of literary magazines in America. This issue's MagNet features American Poetry Review, Land-Grant College Review, 88: A Journal of Contemporary American Poetry, The Prose Poem: An International Journal, Sentence: A Journal of Prose Poetics, Octopus Magazine, Transition, Granta, and Evergreen Review.

Weighing Words Over Last Wishes

by
M. A. Orthofer
11.1.03

British poet and novelist Thomas Hardy, author of Tess of the D’Urbervilles and The Return of the Native, among other literary classics, wanted his personal papers burned after his death. In 1928, a bonfire was dutifully lit but not everything was consigned to the flames. Hardy’s second wife, Florence, saved at least 12 notebooks filled with information and sources on which the author based his later works of fiction. Thomas Hardy’s ‘Facts’ Notebook, edited by William Greenslade and released this month by Ashgate Publishing, is only the most recent to appear.

The Stones of Summer Rolls Back

by
Nick Twemlow
11.1.03

A simple film about the solitary pleasures of reading has turned into a successful campaign to revive a short-lived literary career. Dow Mossman’s only novel, The Stones of Summer, was originally published in 1972 by the now-defunct press Bobbs-Merrill. After being lauded by John Seelye in the New York Times Book Review as “a marvelous achievement” that offered “fulfillment at the first stroke, which is so often the sign of superior talent,” the book went out of print and its author faded into obscurity. Last month it was reissued by Barnes & Noble Books.

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An Interview With Poet August Kleinzahler

by
Claudia La Rocco
10.3.03

In November, Farrar, Straus and Giroux will publish August Kleinzahler's eleventh book of poetry, The Strange Hours Travelers Keep. A loner and a traveler himself, Kleinzahler has avoided the cloistered life of academia for stints as a logger in British Columbia, a political commentator in Germany and, most recently, a music columnist for the San Diego Weekly Reader.

Watching Seinfeld With Richard Yates: Postcard From New York City

by
Therese Eiben
9.25.03

Thanks in part to Stewart O'Nan, whose essay, "The Lost World of Richard Yates," appeared in the October/November 1999 issue of the Boston Review, readers are enjoying a long-overdue critical re-appreciation of the author of Revolutionary Road and The Easter Parade, among a handful of other exquisitely written books.

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Catching Up With...Pulitzer Prize Winner Jhumpa Lahiri

by
Matthew Solan
9.1.03

In her Pulitzer Prize–winning first book, The Interpreter of Maladies, Jhumpa Lahiri explores the struggle of first- and second-generation Indian Americans bridging the gap between the country they call home and the heritage that defines them. Her much-anticipated first novel, The Namesake, explores a similar theme.

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