You Lose Something Every Day

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“It was Dre who once said, / You lose something every day / Your mind on the way to the store / The floor on the way to your mind…” In this Ours Poetica video, Jacqueline Woodson reads “You Lose Something Every Day,” a poem from Willie Perdomo’s collection The Crazy Bunch (Penguin Books, 2019). 

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My Meteorite

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“The most astonishing thing to happen in the almost 14 billion years since the birth of the cosmos is that ordinary, apparentle inert matter, has—by its self-organizing capacity (or, autopoesis)—become conscious.” Harry Dodge reads from his debut book, My Meteorite: Or, Without the Random There Can Be No New Thing (Penguin Books, 2020), and discusses its themes in a conversation with Maggie Nelson in their Los Angeles home.

Garous Abdolmalekian

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In this bilingual reading presented virtually from three cities hosted by Poets House, Garous Abdolmalekian reads poems from his collection Lean Against This Late Hour (Penguin Books, 2020), along with Ahmad Nadalizadeh and Idra Novey, who cotranslated the book from the Persian. Lean Against This Late Hour is featured in Page One in the May/June issue of Poets & Writers Magazine.

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Not Quite Not White

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“It’s a story of a young girl who comes to America in the early 1980s and, among many other things, discovers something called race,” says Sharmila Sen about her debut memoir, Not Quite Not White: Losing and Finding Race in America (Penguin Books, 2018), which won the 2019 Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature in nonfiction.

Elif Shafak

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“I sincerely believe this is a life-affirming book and it is a novel that celebrates diversity, inclusion…and friendships.” Elif Shafak speaks about her writing process and the inspiration behind her latest novel, 10 Minutes 38 Seconds in This Strange World (Viking, 2019), which is shortlisted for the 2019 Booker Prize.

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Willie Perdomo on Letter Writing

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“Letter writing is a pure act of devotion, a place where, if not storytellers, we all become human again.” In this PBS NewsHour video, Willie Perdomo, the author most recently of The Crazy Bunch (Penguin Books, 2019), talks about the value of writing letters and how they are “where we attempt to tell the truth and wait.”

Benedict Wells

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“Carson McCullers is probably the author I feel the strongest connection to, in the way of empathy and seeing the world.” Benedict Wells, whose fourth novel, The End of Loneliness (Penguin Books, 2019), translated from the German by Charlotte Collins, is featured in Page One in the January/February issue of Poets & Writers Magazine, talks about his writing process, how he began as a writer, and some of the authors who have inspired him.

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American Arithmetic

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“I am begging: Let me be lonely but not invisible.” This Motionpoems film directed by Mohammed Hammad features Natalie Diaz’s poem “American Arithmetic,” which appeared in the anthology Tales of Two Americas: Stories of Inequality in a Divided Nation (Penguin Books, 2017) edited by John Freeman.

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The Publishing Journey

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In this behind-the-scenes video from Penguin Random House, the multistep process of publishing a book is presented as it moves from author to reader, from manuscript editing and book design to distribution and bookstore sale. The book shown in the journey is the debut short story collection, Back Talk (Penguin Books, 2018), by Danielle Lazarin, who is featured in Literary MagNet in the January/February 2018 issue of Poets & Writers Magazine.

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John Freeman

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“Even if what you’re writing seems boring to you...you’re preparing yourself for the moment when life or something else broadsides you and you need to write.” John Freeman, editor of the essay anthology Tales of Two Americas: Stories of Inequality in a Divided Nation (Penguin Books, 2017), shares writing advice and what his favorite authors have in common.

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