Charles Bernstein on the Poetics of OWS, Algonquin's Banished Cat, and More

Evan Smith Rakoff

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:

Independent bookstores report holiday sales are strong, with a 15 percent increase compared to 2010 in the days after Thanksgiving. (Bookselling This Week)

GalleyCat details the debate over paid Amazon customer reviews and the online giant's response.

Poet and theorist Charles Bernstein discusses his participation in the Occupy Wall Street protests, and the poetics of the OWS movement. "But what is this nothing that poetry makes happen? What is this thing called poetry? The irony is that just when you think there could be a realm of beauty outside the disruption and contention of politics, you come face to face with the ultimate instability of unbridled thought." (Jacket 2)

As Ira Silverberg settles into his new office at the National Endowment for the Arts in our nation's capital, the New York Observer wonders if New York City can get along without the congenial agent.

Since the 1930s a pet cat has traditionally had free reign of the famed Algonquin Hotel lobby, until now. The New York City Department of Health has ordered that Matilda, the Algonquin's current cat, be confined behind the check-in desk. (Grub Street)

The Millions continues its "Year in Reading" series, with the latest entry from poet laureate Philip Levine.

In this personal essay, Nell Boeschenstein writes of leaving Brooklyn, New York, for suburban Virginia to recover from a double mastectomy, and an altered perception of literature and YouTube. (Morning News)

The Guardian reports sales of the classics are booming, with F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby leading the fray.

If you've long desired a hand-crafted doll of famous writers such as Joyce Carol Oates, Flannery O'Connor, or Shel Silverstein, now you can have them all. (Flavorwire)