Alice Walker on Oakland, Indigenous Poetry Playlist, 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:

“Feeling, depth of feeling, absolute piercing of the heart—and the wanting to touch someone and someones with a reality that something is necessary to be done, to be looked at, to be understood, to be loved, to be cared about.” Pulitzer Prize winning author Alice Walker on Oakland, human imperfection, and the inspiration for her new bilingual book of poetry, Taking the Arrow Out of the Heart, just out from Simon & Schuster. (NPR)

In honor of Indigenous People’s Day, which was observed across the country yesterday, the Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology at Harvard University has curated a poetry playlist featuring work by Native American poets including Natalie Diaz and Tommy Pico. The playlist celebrates contemporary native culture “while challenging visitors to examine their understanding of what it’s like to be Indigenous today.” (WBUR)

In his new book, Killing Commentadore, out today from Knopf, Haruki Murakami turns his gaze toward middle age. (Washington Post)

“He referred to me as a matron, for example, which is not just sexist but also ageist.” At the Guardian, Kate Atkinson says she was baffled by a recent review by Jonathan Dee in the New Yorker of her latest novel, Transcription, and calls the practice of writers reviewing their peers’ books a “callous art.”

Three-quarters of the way through 2018, print book sales are up. NPD BookScan reports that overall sales have increased 2.5 percent, with a 5.7 percent increase in adult nonfiction. Michael Wolff’s Fire and Fury is the biggest seller to date, the only print title having sold over a million copies so far this year. Another political book, Bob Woodward’s Fear, has sold more than 760,000 copies since its release last month. (Publishers Weekly)

New York Comic Con took place at the Javits Center in Manhattan over the weekend. A highlight included the release of the first official trailer for the Amazon adaptation of Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett’s Good Omens. (Deadline)

“I recommend the reading of history as a sort of moral resonance chamber to contain the noise that is so often politics.” In the latest installment of By the Book, Andre Dubus III talks classics, reading habits, and the books he would recommend to better understand America. (New York Times)