David Foster Wallace's Generation, the State of Performance Poetry, 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:

Using The Marriage Plot by Jeffrey Eugenides (which features a character who strongly resembles David Foster Wallace), as a vehicle, Evan Hughes, the author of Literary Brooklyn, provides an in-depth accounting of the early relationships and entanglements among a generation of writers, including Eugenides, his roommate Rick Moody, William T. Vollmann, Mary Karr, Jonathan Franzen, Elizabeth Wurtzel, Donald Antrim, and David Foster Wallace. (New York)

The Harry Ransom Center at the University of Texas at Austin has purchased the collected papers of the Nobel Prize-winning South African novelist, J. M. Coetzee. The author of thirteen books—including the novels Life and Times of Michael K and Disgrace, both of which won the Man Booker Prize—Coetzee is a 1969 graduate of the university.

The chief digital officer at HarperCollins, Charlie Redmayne, has accepted the position of chief executive officer of J. K. Rowling's new website and digital publishing venture, Pottermore. (Bookseller)

Novelist Tony D’Souza, the author of the new novel Mule, speaks about one of the most difficult things a writer faces, abandoning years of work, and beginning anew. “What had begun as a bloody, page-turning marriage of Catch-22 and Blood Meridian had become an artistic quagmire." (GalleyCat)

Lev Grossman's novel The Magicians will be adapted as an hour-long drama series for Fox television, written by X-Men: First Class cowriters Ashley Miller and Zack Stentz. (Deadline)

Poet David Orr visits the current state of performance poetry, including the slam movement that grew out of Chicago, and finds the old divisions between performance and academic verse makers are not as pronounced as they once were. (New York Times)

Meanwhile, Flavorwire publishes favorite poems about movies, including works by David Trinidad, May Swenson, and Hart Crane.

Care to memorize some of the above poems? A new study indicates the learning of poems fosters identity and a sense of self.

To promote environmental awareness, Margaret Atwood is publishing an autographed limited edition of her new book, In Other Worlds: SF and the Human Imagination, made of flax and straw.

And the venerable literary magazine Tin House has released its first electronic version intended for tablet readers. (Los Angeles Times)