Brown Bookshelf Authors Pledge to Support Kids, Solace in 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:

“Poetry, like theater, has long been an art embraced by the marginalized; in the face of oppression, language can be a powerful weapon and a declaration of mental independence.” An article at WIRED looks at how many people are turning to poetry to help process various difficult events that occurred in 2016.

Meanwhile, DiveDapper features an interview with poet Jericho Brown. “[Poetry] allows me to deal with being an artist of many backgrounds,” he says, “and to hold great complexity in my very being.”

In the wake of the election, hundreds of authors have signed a declaration issued by the Brown Bookshelf, a nonprofit dedicated to publishing African American voices in young people’s literature. “A Declaration in Support of Children” states that its undersigned authors “publicly affirm our commitment to using our talents and varied forms of artistic expression to help eliminate the fear that takes root in the human heart amid lack of familiarity and understanding of others; the type of fear that feeds stereotypes, bitterness, racism, and hatred.” (Signature)

Zadie Smith’s newly released novel, Swing Time, will be adapted for television by the British production company Baby Cow. Smith will cowrite the teleplay with poet and novelist Nick Laird. (Hollywood Reporter)

Pulitzer Prize–winning author Michael Chabon speaks with the Millions about his new novel, Moonglow, out today from Harper. Chabon is profiled in the November/December 2016 issue of Poets & Writers.

“[Resist] the urge to publish your first work as quickly as possible.” Self-published indie author Ben Batchelder shares tips on the “expansive undertaking” of self-publishing. (Publishers Weekly)

Acclaimed fiction writer Garth Greenwell discusses taking solace in James Baldwin’s 1956 novel Giovanni’s Room first as a teenager, and again in subsequent times in his life as a writer. “The whole novel is a kind of anatomy of shame, of its roots and the myths that perpetuate it, of the damage it can do. And also of its arbitrariness.”