Ahmed Fouad Negm in Tahrir Square, Henri Cole in Paris, and More

Evan Smith Rakoff

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 United States Supreme Court rejected Amazon’s appeal to overturn a law that requires the online giant to pay sales taxes in New York. (Business Week)

David Streitfeld considers the future of the e-book and the many publishing start-ups, including Rethink Books and Small Demons, that have attempted to harness the power of multimedia and social networks. (New York Times)

Novelist Claire Messud shares with the Millions the books she loved this year, including Amity Gaige’s Schroder and Victoria Redel’s Make Me Do Things.

Jonathan Guyer recounts witnessing a demonstration led by poet Ahmed Fouad Negm last week in Egypt’s Tahrir Square. “It was there that I saw an elderly man with thick silver whiskers and in a traditional brown thobe sauntering toward the Square, encircled by an entourage…the eighty-three year old poet whose verses had sparred with President Hosni Mubarak and mocked Anwar Sadat.” (Zocalo Public Square)

I found James Lord at Montparnasse Cemetery today.” Poet Henri Cole published the ninth installment of his Paris diary, “Street of the Iron Po(e)t," which chronicles his literary musings and experiences in the City of Light. (New Yorker)

In other news from Europe, France’s second largest bookstore chain is filing for bankruptcy. (Paris Guardian)

"Mark Twain, Edith Sitwell, and William Wordsworth were all in the habit of writing from bed, and Henri Matisse sometimes painted there using brushes attached to long sticks." In response to the publication of Bernd Brunner’s The Art of Lying Down, book critic Ruth Graham suggests reclining. (Slate)

For the Barnes & Noble Review, Katherine A. Powers looks at Leo Damrosch’s new biography of an author that has frustrated scholars for centuriesJonathan Swift.