Angel Island Poetry, Roxane Gay’s Rise to Stardom, 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:

At the New Yorker, Beenish Ahmed writes about the hundreds of poems that Chinese immigrants carved into the walls of Angel Island, the main immigration station of the American west coast, where Chinese laborers were detained following the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882.

Brooklyn Magazine talks to Roxane Gay about her rise to literary stardom and her influence as both an editor and writer.

“Arts and cultural programming challenges, provokes and entertains; it enhances our lives. Eliminating the NEA would in essence eliminate investment by the American government in the curiosity and intelligence of its citizens.” Thomas P. Campbell, the director and chief executive of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, argues against abolishing the National Endowment for the Arts. (New York Times)

Lisa L. Hannett reviews Neil Gaiman’s new book, Norse Mythology, and the politics of retelling myths. (Atlantic)

“I always think I know the fate of my ideas but they sometimes end up in a place I couldn’t have imagined. It’s better to be surprised by your imagination than to be limited by it.” Poet and writer Jenny Zhang talks about process and audience in a micro-interview with Tin House Books.

The Los Angeles Times has announced the finalists for its annual book prizes, including Adam Haslett, Zadie Smith, Ishion Hutchinson, Jacqueline Woodson, and Emma Cline.

At the Times Literary Supplement, J. Michael Lennon reviews South and West, two notebooks written by Joan Didion in the 1970s that will be published by Knopf in two weeks. In the notebooks, Didion relates the travels and experiences that inspired her understandings of both U.S. regions. “In the South they are convinced that they have bloodied their place with history,” she wrote. “In the West we do not believe that anything we can do can bloody the land, or change it, or touch it.”

Pulitzer Prize­–winning playwright Suzan-Lori Parks is adapting Richard Wright’s classic novel Native Son for film, with visual artist Rashid Johnson signed on to direct. (Flavorwire)