Authors Debate Poetry’s Relevance, Publishing Mergers in 2014, 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:

After last Sunday's New York Times Book Review included reviews of six new poetry collections, the Times's Room for Debate section hosts an online discussion between several well-known poets, including Martín Espada, William Logan, Paul Muldoon, and Tracy K. Smith, among others, who weigh in on the question, “Does Poetry Matter?” Meanwhile, Jonathan Farmer responds to what he sees as the Times’s ill-phrased question in the Los Angeles Review of Books.

Publishers Weekly reports that the first six months of 2014 has been among publishing’s busiest periods in recent years in terms of mergers and acquisitions—which have so far included Hachette’s acquisition of Perseus, HarperCollins's acquisition of Harlequin, and Open Road Media’s acquisition of E-Reads and Premiere Digital, among many others.

Meanwhile, HarperCollins has become the first of the Big Five publishers to partner with BitLit, the Canadian start-up that allows users to download e-book versions of physical books already in the user’s library for a reduced price. (TechCrunch)

Julia Turner was named the editor in chief Slate yesterday, taking over from David Plotz, who will become the online magazine's editor at large. (Washington Post)

Meanwhile, Jynne Martin, the publicity director at Riverhead Books, has taken on the additional role of associate publisher for the Penguin Random House imprint.

After ten years of business, Maison de la Presse, the last French-language bookstore in Toronto, closes its doors today. (Torontoist)

School librarians in Racine, Wisconsin, expressed concern that district workers without library training are removing many books—including some works of classic literature—as part of a yearly purge. (Journal Times)

Novelist and creative writing teacher Matthew Salesses talks to NPR about the burdens placed upon writers of color in writing classes, which often prevent nonwhite students and teachers from being able to participate fully in the workshop experience.