Barnes & Noble Leader Steps Down, a Call to Teach More Poetry, 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:

Leonard Riggio, executive chairman of Barnes & Noble, Inc., announced today that he will step down from his position in September. Riggio bought the Barnes & Noble bookstore—then a single struggling shop—in Manhattan in 1971 and went on to build the company into the nation’s largest bookstore chain, becoming chief executive in 1993. (New York Times

“Our poets are citizen journalists, activists, heroes, the narrators of our democracy-in-progress.” As National Poetry Month winds down, Academy of American Poets education ambassador and Cuban-American poet Richard Blanco writes for the Huffington Post about his rewarding work in the role as the Academy’s ambassador, the importance of poetry in the Cuban cultural narrative, and the need for educators in the United States to incorporate more poetry into lessons. “Our poets have played an essential role in shaping our country’s understanding of itself.” has released its thirteenth annual report of the top hundred most searched-for out-of-print books in the previous year. The top ten from 2015 include Madonna’s Sex (1992), Nora Roberts’s Promise Me Tomorrow (1984), and Stephen King’s Rage (1977).

At Shelf Awareness, award-winning poet Naomi Shihab Nye shares her reading habits and books she’s an evangelist for—including The Way It Is by poet William Stafford and Henry David Thoreau’s Walden.

Following the exhumation of his body in 2013 to determine the cause of his death, the remains of Nobel Prize–winning poet Pablo Neruda have been reburied at his Chilean home. Some had speculated that Neruda had been poisoned following Chile’s 1973 right-wing military coup, but forensic tests found no trace of toxicity in his remains. (CBS News)

According to a report from the Association of American Publishers, trade book sales totaled $7.2 billion in 2015, up .8 percent from 2014. The report also found that e-book sales declined overall in 2015, while audiobook sales increased. (GalleyCat)

In an interview at Guernica, nonfiction writer and 2016 Guggenheim Fellow Paul Lisicky discusses his new memoir The Narrow Door. “There’s a notion out there that if you’re not saying the darkest thing, you’re not telling the truth. That you’re participating in evasion, you’re whitewashing, you’re curating yourself, or that you want to appear likeable. But tenderness and joy are braided into those darker emotions, always.”

A Guardian article looks inside a weekly book club for inmates at an east London prison, and how the club plays a crucial role in bringing people together.