Azar Nafisi’s AWP Keynote, Anticipated Poetry of 2017, 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:

“The great novelist is the one who gives voice to everyone: even the villain. Literature doesn’t just belong to one nation, one people. Literature belongs to everyone.” Writer Azar Nafisi delivered the keynote address of the annual Association of Writers and Writing Programs Conference to more than fifteen hundred people last night in Washington, D.C. Nafisi urged writers to not be complacent and to “hold tyrants accountable.” (Publishers Weekly)

Craig Morgan Teicher previews the most anticipated poetry collections of 2017, including books from Frank Bidart, Nicole Sealey, and Javier Zamora. (NPR)

“Literature does not explain, but it shows the world, and how we work. Shows the mystery, as it were, and helps us to understand a little better.” Writer Javier Marias talks with the Los Angeles Review of Books about not owning a computer, the novel as an act of espionage, and how to survive politically bad times.

In a review of Sarah Manguso’s new aphorism collection, 300 Arguments, Rachel Syme makes a case for the resurgence and value of aphorisms. (New Republic)

“Our job is to tease language out from spin, politicking, rhetoric, and apologetics, and tell the truth about what a word means.” BuzzFeed talks with the social-media team behind the Merriam-Webster dictionary and their pointed clarifications of words brought up in recent political debates and interviews.

Lit Hub has launched a biweekly column written by librarians, whose profession “everyone knows but no one understands.”

At Slate, Laura Miller profiles ghostwriter Barbara Feinman Todd and how her relationship with Hillary Clinton went sour. Feinman Todd’s memoir about her career as a ghostwriter for Washington luminaries comes out next week from William Morrow.

“But—as I’ve determined over years of research in the field—no level of affluence will ensure that you write a worthwhile book.” Emily Cooke, a senior editor at Harper’s Magazine, considers class and wealth imbalances in the literary world. (Bookforum)