A Quiet Passion, Viet Thanh Nguyen’s Early Writing Days, and More


Every day Poets & Writers Magazine scans the headlines—from publishing reports to academic announcements to literary dispatches—for all the news that creative writers need to know. Here are today’s stories:

“[Becoming a writer] was the willingness to sit in that chair for thousands of hours, receiving only occasional and minor recognition, enduring the grief of writing in the belief that somehow, despite my ignorance, something transformative was taking place.” Viet Thanh Nguyen writes about his early days as a writer. (Los Angeles Times)

A. O. Scott reviews A Quiet Passion, the new biopic about the “persistently elusive” and revered American poet Emily Dickinson. The film—starring Cynthia Nixon and rated PG-13 for “metaphysical anguish”—was released on Friday. (New York Times)

“Everything is energy. Text is a happening.” Poet Natalie Diaz discusses the physicality of writing, her understanding of truth in America, and the joy of artistic collaboration. (Creative Independent)

From Arthur Conan Doyle to Mary Shelley to Edgar Allen Poe, critic Kathryn Schulz examines literature’s fascination with the Arctic. (New Yorker)

“Defensiveness makes you a better reader, a closer, more skeptical reader: a critic.” Pamela Paul, editor of the New York Times Book Review, makes a case for hate-reading. (New York Times)

Anesthesiologist Audrey Shafer talks with NPR about how poetry is “a natural means of translating the murkiness of what happens to the brain under anesthesia.”

“I’m too interested in people’s flaws, their potential for evil, the gap between self-presentation and inner reality, or the many ways we fool ourselves.” Phillip Lopate explains why he no longer writes celebrity profiles, which he argues require too much flattery. (American Scholar)

Daniella Shuhman has created a short animated film of advice for young artists, which includes nuggets of wisdom and straight talk from artists such as Patti Smith, Umberto Eco, Richard Ford, and Jonathan Franzen. (Open Culture)