Article Archive

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

The Contester: Poetry.com Struggles for Legitimacy

by
Margo Stever
11.1.04

No entry fee? Little chance of rejection? Any poet worth her iamb has reason to be suspicious. And, indeed, the International Library of Poetry and its affiliates—the International Society of Poets, Watermark Press, poetry.com, and so on appears on several Internet-based contest-scam watch lists. Still ILP education director Len Roberts argues that the organization has its purpose and is taking steps to redeem its reputation.

Literary MagNet

by
Kevin Larimer
11.1.04

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 Pindeldyboz, Grand Street, Verse, the Paris Review, Lilies & Cannonballs Review, and No: A Journal of the Arts.

A Contest Clinker

by
Kevin Larimer
11.1.04

When New Rivers Press announced that Ron Rindo of Oshkosh, Wisconsin, was a winner of the 2003 MVP Competition this past summer, some of the approximately six hundred entrants were perplexed. The guidelines stated that the contest, which awards three $1,000 prizes and the publication of three book-length manuscripts, was open to emerging poets, fiction writers, and creative nonfiction writers. Rindo, who won for his short story collection Love in an Expanding Universe, had previously published two books, both with New Rivers Press.

Book Tours: Can Readings Be Fun?

by
Kevin Canfield
11.1.04

Cindy Dach, the events and marketing manager of Changing Hands Bookstore in Tempe, Arizona, recently launched First Fiction Tour, a program that she hopes will heighten the public image of the first-time author. But it’s not what you might expect: She isn’t packing customers into the bookstore, she’s inviting them to the bar.

An Interview With Creative Nonfiction Writer Augusten Burroughs

by
Litsa Dremousis
10.5.04

"I believe I control the world with my mind," Augusten Burroughs writes in the title essay of his new collection, Magical Thinking: True Stories. And who’s to say he doesn’t? Having survived a tumultuous childhood and an early career as an advertising copywriter while struggling with alcoholism, Burroughs—now a bestselling author—has indeed controlled his world. Magical Thinking is his fourth book in as many years, taking its place alongside Sellevision, his satirical novel about cable television’s home shopping networks, and his memoirs, Running With Scissors and Dry.

Big City, Big Magazine, Big Festival

by
Timothy Schaffert
9.1.04

Every year, musicians, movie stars, filmmakers, and politicos share billing with creative writers at the New Yorker Festival, held every autumn at various New York City venues. Now in its fifth year, the literary event has turned into a pop-culture phenomenon.

Learning to Read a Doctor's Books

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Vladimir Nabokov once wrote, “Does there not exist a high ridge where the mountainside of ‘scientific’ information joins the opposite slope of ‘artistic’ imagination?” This was, of course, a rhetorical question, but Nabokov’s own life proved that this connection indeed exists. A dedicated lepidopterist (one who studies moths and butterflies), Nabokov not only held a post at the Museum of Comparative Zoology at Harvard University, he also wrote Lolita, a classic of 20th-century literature. I was recently reminded of Nabokov’s butterflies in, of all places, a dead man’s apartment in Boston.

Is That a Penguin in Your Pocket?

by
Kevin Canfield
9.1.04

A recent headline in the New York Times Book Review declared, “Books Make You a Boring Person.” Many would disagree with that statement, but few would go as far as the folks in the marketing department at Penguin UK. The London-based arm of the venerable publishing house has begun to advertise its books as dating aids. According to Penguin, you’re not good looking—or Good Booking—unless you’re holding a book.

The Contester: WordTech Cancels Poetry Contests

by
Eleanor Henderson
9.1.04

For nearly two years, WordTech Communications was one of the growing number of small presses using the contest model in which entry fees fund prize monies as well as the publication and promotion of winning books. Some would even say the Cincinnati-based press was gung ho about it, holding a different poetry contest every month. But in June, WordTech announced it was discontinuing its contest program and replacing it with an open-submissions policy, stating that there was more money to be made without contests.

Literary MagNet

by
Kevin Larimer
9.1.04

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 Granta, the Indiana Review, Black Warrior Review, Court Green, Columbia Poetry Review, Absinthe Literary Review, Minima, Wild Strawberries, and Cue.

An Interview With Creative Nonfiction Writer Hank Stuever

by
Michael Depp
8.19.04

For the past fourteen years, Hank Stuever, a two-time Pulitzer Prize finalist, has published his unique brand of creative nonfiction in the form of newspaper articles in the Albuquerque Tribune, Austin American-Statesman, and the Washington Post. The subjects of his articles—haunted waterbed stores, plastic lawn chairs, beauty pageants, and discount funeral homes among them—hardly seem fodder for probing essays on the American psyche. But what might fall into the realm of light comedy for many writers takes on a lyrical profundity in Stuever’s work.

An Interview With Poet Stephen Dunn

by
Elissa Wald
8.19.04

Next month, Norton will publish Stephen Dunn's thirteenth book of poetry, The Insistence of Beauty, his second offering since his Different Hours won the 2001 Pulitzer Prize. In a writing career that has spanned three decades, Dunn has also been honored with the Academy Award for Literature from the American Academy of Arts & Letters, the James Wright Prize from the Mid-American Review, and the Levinson Award from Poetry magazine, as well as fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, and the Guggenheim Foundation. He divides his time between Frostburg, Maryland, and Pomona, New Jersey, where he teaches creative writing at Richard Stockton College.

An Interview With Poet Richard Howard

by
Kevin Larimer
8.17.04

Richard Howard is rarely at a loss for words. The poet, essayist, translator, editor, and professor is a tireless conversationalist who is always willing to supply a strong opinion on the many subjects to which he has applied his talents during a career that spans four decades.

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An Interview With Fiction Writer Ben Marcus

by
Kevin Larimer
8.16.04

In his introduction to The Anchor Book of New American Short Stories, editor Ben Marcus writers, "If we are made by what we read, if language truly builds people into what they are, how they think, the depth with which they feel, then these stories are, to me, premium material for that construction project. You could build a civilization with them." The 473-page anthology includes stories by George Saunders, David Foster Wallace, Anthony Doerr, Jhumpa Lahiri, Anne Carson, Gary Lutz, and more than 20 others.

An Interview With Ficton Writer Dan Chaon

by
Sara Peyton
7.19.04

Ballantine Books recently published You Remind Me of Me, Dan Chaon's long awaited debut novel about a pregnant teenager who gives up her child for adoption in 1966. In a review in the New York Times Sunday Book Review, Sara Mosley wrote that the novel "more than fulfills the promise of his story collection Among the Missing, which was a finalist for a National Book Award in 2001." Chaon is also the author of Fitting Ends, originally published by Triquarterly Books in 1995. A revised edition of the short story collection was published by Ballantine last year. Chaon teaches at Oberlin College and lives with his wife and two sons in Cleveland, Ohio.

An Interview With Fiction Writer Frederick Reiken

by
Eric Wasserman
7.12.04

While the literary community tries to gauge the influence of academia on the state of contemporary fiction, Frederick Reiken, whose two critically acclaimed novels have been translated into several languages, is gently riding out the wave of debate. A graduate of Princeton and the University of California at Irvine's MFA program, Reiken teaches writing in the graduate program at Emerson College. His first novel, The Odd Sea (Harcourt, 1998), won the Hackney Literary Award for First Fiction and was selected by both Booklist and Library Journal as one of the best first novels of the year. This was followed by a more ambitious novel, The Lost Legends of New Jersey (Harcourt, 2000), which became a bestseller and is described by Charles Baxter as "a miraculous balancing of tone and theme."

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