Ta-Nehisi Coates on Why He Writes

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“I just felt this deep need to express myself.... I had a strong desire to understand and to express that understanding.” In this CBS Sunday Morning interview, Ta-Nehisi Coates talks about the purpose of his writing and how the music of Marvin Gaye influences the language in his work. Coates’s debut novel, The Water Dancer (One World, 2019), is featured in Page One in the September/October issue of Poets & Writers Magazine.

Leslie Jamison

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“I wanted to find a way to write about people that felt guided by a spirit of appreciation and empathy.” Leslie Jamison speaks about the ethical complexities involved in nonfiction writing at a 2017 talk at Claremont McKenna College. Jamison’s second essay collection, Make It Scream, Make It Burn (Little, Brown, 2019), is featured in Page One in the September/October issue of Poets & Writers Magazine.

Red at the Bone

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“When I was thinking about Red at the Bone, one thing I knew I wanted to talk about was class—economic class—especially in the Black community, and history.” Jacqueline Woodson talks about her new novel, Red at the Bone (Riverhead Books, 2019), which is featured in Page One in the September/October issue of Poets & Writers Magazine, and reads the poem from her memoir Brown Girl Dreaming (Nancy Paulsen Books, 2014) that she calls “the seed” of the novel.

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Rion Amilcar Scott

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“Our swarm, it move like a flock of birds. All these beautiful black people in motion. Moving and shifting with a kind of intelligence.” Rion Amilcar Scott reads from his debut story collection, Insurrections (University Press of Kentucky, 2016), and speaks with Cinder Barnes and Karl Smith at Montgomery College in Maryland. Scott’s second story collection, The World Doesn’t Require You (Liveright, 2019), is featured in Page One in the September/October issue of Poets & Writers Magazine.

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Matthew Zapruder at Lunch Poems

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In this 2018 video, Matthew Zapruder reads from his poetry collections Come On All You Ghosts (Copper Canyon Press, 2012) and Sun Bear (Copper Canyon Press, 2015), and his book Why Poetry (Ecco, 2017) for the Lunch Poems reading series at UC Berkeley. Zapruder’s fifth poetry collection, Father’s Day (Copper Canyon Press, 2019), is featured in Page One in the September/October issue of Poets & Writers Magazine.

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Edwidge Danticat

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“It took Arnold six and a half seconds to fall five hundred feet. During that time, an image of his son, Paris, flashed before his eyes....” At the Lensic Performing Arts Center, Edwidge Danticat reads “Without Inspection” from her third story collection, Everything Inside (Knopf, 2019), which is featured in Page One in the September/October issue of Poets & Writers Magazine.

Jillian Weise

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Jillian Weise reads her poems “Semi Semi Dash,” “Café Loop,” and “Poem for His Girl,” from her second collection, The Book of Goodbyes (BOA Editions, 2013), at the Academy of American Poets’ 2013 Poets Forum Awards Ceremony. Weise’s third collection, Cyborg Detective (BOA Editions, 2019), is featured in Page One in the September/October issue of Poets & Writers Magazine.

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Pop Culture Powerhouses

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“I can only hope that the criticism and reporting that you do write leaves little levers open psychologically for something good to happen.” Jia Tolentino speaks about the inner conflict of writing on pop culture in the current political climate in this conversation with fellow nonfiction writers Taffy Brodesser-Akner, Linda Holmes, and Emily Nussbaum. Tolentino’s debut essay collection, Trick Mirror (Random House, 2019), is featured in Page One in the September/October issue of Poets & Writers Magazine.

The Nickel Boys

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“You pick the right tool for the job, and sometimes fantasy is a way to open up a story and convey a universal truth, and sometimes realism.” Colson Whitehead speaks with PBS NewsHour’s Jeffrey Brown about his writing process and the true story that inspired his latest novel, The Nickel Boys, which was published this week by Doubleday.

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