Blind Dates With Books, Modern Love of Booksellers, 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:

New York City bookstore Book Culture is among the growing number of shops selling “blind date” books, which are wrapped in brown paper so as to keep the book’s title and cover hidden. The books, curated by the bookstore staff, bear notes or clues to guide customers, such as “Read me if you liked…” or a series of adjectives. (Fox5, Wall Street Journal)

Speaking of dates and bookstores, in a New York Times Modern Love column, fiction writer Matthew Sullivan tells the story of working at a bookshop and falling in love with—and constantly breaking up with—a fellow artist and bookseller. “The traits that made us readers and booksellers also made us eager and independent explorers, the kind of people who placed our creative pursuits above virtually everything else, who were always broke and impractical….”

Dana Canedy, a journalist and former New York Times editor, has been named the new administrator of the Pulitzer Prizes. Canady is the first woman and the first African American to hold the position. (New York Times)

“I’m sometimes asked how I choose to become a mentor to someone. But it never feels like a deliberate decision. It feels more like a young writer invites me to share her or his brain.” Writer Margot Livesy talks with her mentee and former student, fiction writer Whitney Terrell, about fiction, nonfiction, and teaching. (Ploughshares)

George Andreou has been appointed the new director of Harvard University Press. Andreou, who succeeds longtime director William Sisler, is currently a vice president and senior editor at Knopf. (Publishers Weekly)

“The idea that poetry—or language in general—is ever ‘straightforward’ seems impossible to my immigrant ears and eyes.” Poet Johannes Göransson argues against a piece by Matthew Zapruder published on Monday at the New York Times about reading poetry in a more literal or straightforward fashion. (Harriet)

Meanwhile, Holly Williams makes the case that today’s most popular poets are women. “Forget high-brow impenetrability—today’s poets are pop-culturally literate, politically engaged, and eye-wateringly candid.” (BBC News)

Hundreds of fans and supporters of Seven Stories Press and its children’s imprint, Triangle Square Books for Young Readers, rushed to the publisher’s defense on social media after a group of far-right people tanked the press’s reviews on its Facebook page, calling it “demonic” for publishing LGBTQ books for kids. (Melville House)