Ancient Library Rivalries, Book on the Rail, 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:

Atlas Obscura covers the development and ensuing rivalries between libraries of the ancient world—in particular, the Library of Alexandria in Egypt and the Library of Pergamum in Turkey.

Ian McEwan’s forthcoming novel, Nutshell, is narrated by a fetus. The author talks with the Guardian about what will be his seventeenth book and why he “couldn’t resist” writing a novel based on a “silly idea.”  

Meanwhile, at Publishers Weekly, celebrated comic book writer Alan Moore talks about his forthcoming novel, Jerusalem, a “six-hundred-thousand-word opus that has been lurking, Cthulhu-like, behind his last decade of work.”

“The Nu-Audacity school reserves as sacred that which the academy—or at least those in the ‘professional’ poetry world—disdain or revile.” In an essay at the Millions, Jeff Alessandrelli proposes the name “Nu-Audacists” for a group of contemporary poets whose “central tenets…are as brazen and arguably repugnant as they are nuanced or refined.”

A new movement—literally—is taking place on Melbourne, Australia’s public transit system. “Book ninjas” are placing books on trains as a part of the Books on the Rail project, in which riders are encouraged to “take the book, read it, enjoy it, and then return it to a service.” More than three hundred books are currently in circulation on Melbourne’s trains. (ABC News Australia)

After two months of legal battles, complaints, and a petition, Google has agreed to return author Dennis Cooper’s decade-worth of blog material to him. Cooper discovered in June that Google had shut down his blog without explanation. Today, the author will re-launch his blog in a new, “non-Google” location. (

During last night’s MTV Video Music Awards ceremony, musician Alicia Keys performed an original poem honoring the fifty-third anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech. (CBS News)