Academy of American Poets Receives $2.2 Million, Buzz Books of 2019, and More

by Staff

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.

The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation has awarded $2.2 million in funding to the Academy of American Poets. Elizabeth Alexander, a poet and the president of the Mellon Foundation, says the grant is the largest the organization has made towards poetry. The funds will help start a new fellowship program to support poets laureate throughout the United States and will support the Poetry Coalition, a national alliance of more than twenty poetry organizations. (New York Times)

Read more about the Academy and its programs in a Q&A with executive director Jen Benka and about the Poetry Coalition in “The Poetry Coalition Takes Flight.” (Poets & Writers Magazine)

Publishers Lunch has released its Buzz Books of 2019, offering excerpts from forty-four upcoming titles, including the debut novel by poet Ocean Vuong, a new novel by Nell Zink, and a short story collection by bestselling author Cecelia Ahern.

Creative Capital has awarded its 2019 grants to fifty-eight writers and artists, including poet CAConrad, essayist Elissa Washuta, novelist Maaza Mengiste, and nonfiction writer Johanna Fateman. The annual awards include up to $50,000 in project funding, and long-term advisory and career development support.

Three Vice journalists have joined PBS NewsHour correspondent Danny Gold in accusing former New York Times executive editor Jill Abramson of inaccuracies in her forthcoming book, Merchants of Truth: The Business of News and the Fight for Facts. (Los Angeles Times)

“But a book unfinished allows you to feel you are forever afterward still inside that book, that you are part of it, live in it, continue the experience of it, and that its further continuation and conclusion remain forever mysterious.” Lydia Davis describes how John Dos Passos’s “limpid, incantatory opening paragraphs” taught her to read for sentences as well as story. (Paris Review)

At the Creative Independent, poet Elaine Kahn considers the flexibility of language and admits, “Anything I say concerning why I make decisions in poetry is a little bit of a fiction, because it’s like me trying to approximate something that is, honestly, more mysterious to me.” 

“It would be fun to do a book club with a dog. I imagine they would feel highly underrepresented in modern literature, though not as underrepresented as cats.” Kelly Luce, author of Pull Me Under, responds to Kurt Baumeister’s Six Ridiculous Questions. (Vol.1 Brooklyn

“They have easily been the best attended children’s story times we have ever had.” While independent bookstore owners like Linda Sherman-Nurick of Cellar Door Books in Riverside, California, rejoice in the rising popularity of “Drag Queen Story Time,” the events are being met with increasingly disruptive protests. (Publishers Weekly)