Charles Wright the Teacher, New Poem-a-Day Editors, and More


Every day Poets & Writers Magazine scans the headlines—publishing reports, literary dispatches, academic announcements, and more—for all the news that creative writers need to know. Here are today’s stories.

Mary Szybist reflects on the poetics and personality of her former teacher Charles Wright. She recalls how he imparted his seriousness for craft to his students. “Regardless of whether or not I had the skill to take on the difficult, I intuited in his class that the way to acquire those skills was to engage in the attempt, and that it was just as much my business as anyone else’s.” (Literary Hub)

The Academy of American Poets has announced the next twelve guest editors who will curate the organization’s Poem-a-Day series in 2020. The cohort includes Joy Harjo, Jane Hirshfield, and Monica Youn, among others. 

Poets & Writers Magazine recently attended a reading with Joy Harjo and Aracelis Girmay at the 92nd Street Y in New York City. 

GQ announced its ten best books of 2019 and then asked the authors to recommend their own favorites from the year. Marlon James, listed for Black Leopard, Red Wolf, suggests Yoko Ogawa’s The Memory Police. Ocean Vuong, listed for On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous, picks Bryan Washington’s Lot.    

In a conversation at InsideHook, Jeff VanderMeer discusses the experimental structure of his latest sci-fi novel, Dead Astronauts, and writing in an era of ecological catastrophe

VanderMeer answered Ten Questions from Poets & Writers Magazine earlier this week. 

The three staff book critics at the New York Times—Dwight Garner, Parul Sehgal, and Jennifer Szalai—pick their favorites from the books they reviewed this year.  

In the latest installment of the Guardian’s Books That Made Me series, Elif Shafak remembers the transformative experience of reading Virginia Woolf’s Orlando. “I was a student when I read it for the first time. It felt like discovering a new continent.”

“Poetry really came to me. Maybe that sounds too mystical, but what’s wrong with mysticism?” At the Rumpus, Diane Seuss remembers hearing poems in her head as a child

Ahead of the holidays, Washington Post critic Michael Dirda recommends “lesser-known literary delights” that make for good gifts.