Black Poets on the American South, Pandora for 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:

Contemporary poets Aziza Barnes and Nabila Lovelace have launched an eight-part poetry and interview series at the Rumpus called "The Conversation" with the purpose of “carving out space for Black Americans to contend with their Blackness [and] its infinite permutations in the South.” The inaugural installment features poems and interviews from Cortney Lamar Charleston and Danez Smith, and the second installment features work from Desiree Bailey and Sean DesVignes.

Women’s advocacy group VIDA: Women in Literary Arts has released its 2015 VIDA Count, an annual report that examines disparities of gender representation in top-tier literary publications. This year’s report has been expanded to include representations of race and ethnicity, sexual identity, and ability.

To truly understand an author, must we read that author’s complete works? No, says nonfiction writer Stephen Akey, who argues for the value of selective reading. Akey does, however, suggest reading the whole of one writer in particular: William Shakespeare. (Smart Set)

Speaking of the Bard, the upcoming four hundredth anniversary of Shakespeare’s death has prompted many worldwide celebrations, including a traveling exhibition of his First Folios. At the New York Times, Jennifer Shuessler reports on the exhibit “First Folio: The Book That Gave Us Shakespeare” and visits a tour stop in Vermillion, South Dakota.  

At the Ploughshares blog, translator Yardenne Greenspan describes the process of working with the contemporary authors whose writing she translates. 

Ahead of National Poetry Month, the Los Angeles Times features an interview with Los Angeles’s poet laureate, Luis J. Rodriguez. Rodriguez talks about his troubled past, helping others, and the saving grace of poetry. Read an interview with Rodriguez from the July/August 2015 issue of Poets & Writers here.

Is this the Pandora for poetry? A website called Poet Tips, which is currently in beta, helps you discover new poets based on your tastes.