Balloon Stories, James Baldwin’s Legacy, 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 forthcoming issue of McSweeney’s will feature stories printed on balloons that can only be read once they are blown up. Writers Percival Everett, Lauren Groff, Kima Jones, and Carmen Maria Machado, among others, contributed stories.

“Why am I back here in this country that betrayed my family? For years, everyone I know will ask me why I came back here to these streets. What is it I am trying to recall?” Poet Ilya Kaminsky on returning to his hometown of Odessa. (New York Times Magazine)

The director of the Edinburgh Book Festival has called out the U.K. government for refusing to grant visas to writers from Africa and the Middle East. (Guardian)

Jordy Rosenberg and Andrea Lawlor talk about writing their debut novels, their love of science fiction, and blending theory and fiction. (Millions)

“James Baldwin is allegedly one of our most well-loved writers, revered, and called upon any time the United States is in crisis…. Yet James Baldwin attempted suicide several times throughout his life and it doesn’t seem like our infatuation with him allows him to be fallible in that way.” Harmony Holiday considers how Baldwin’s suicide attempts complicate his legacy. (Poetry Foundation)

Alexandra Alter takes a look at Nico Walker’s debut novel, Cherry, which is inspired by Walker’s own turn from a veteran to an opioid addict who robbed eleven banks in four months. (New York Times)

Helen Rosner recommends Anthony Bourdain fan fiction in which the late writer and TV personality visits Narnia, eats at a werewolf feast, and drinks with a mouse. (New Yorker)

“I write to confront and to escape, sometimes at once.” Poet Rachel Mennies talks about confessionalism, the influence of Judaism in her work, and engaging with inherited trauma. (Michigan Quarterly Review)