Editor Judith Jones Has Died, Sylvia Plath’s Visual Art, 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:

Legendary editor Judith Jones died last Wednesday at the age of ninety-three from complications due to Alzheimer’s. Jones was a longtime editor at Knopf, where she acquired Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking and The Diary of Anne Frank. (NPR)

Former FBI director James Comey has signed a book deal with Flatiron Books. Scheduled for publication next spring, the book will be about leadership and decision-making and will draw on Comey’s career. The bidding war for the book reportedly topped $2 million. (Associated Press)

“I had been playing into the expectation that, as a black woman, I needed to be ‘strong’ and work like a mule until I had nothing else to give, not even to myself.” Writer Morgan Jerkins shares how writing constantly online about black suffering and trauma took an emotional toll on her wellbeing, and how she learned to listen to herself. (Lenny Letter)

The Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery has opened the exhibit “One Life: Sylvia Plath,” which displays the writer’s visual art, including paper dolls, self-portraits, paintings, and collages. (Creators)

“I want literature that’s not made from literature, like let’s destroy this idea of a pure form…everything is cross mutation of particles that merge with one another.” Poet Precious Okoyomon discusses writing as therapy, talking to herself, and writing texts as poems to her friends. (Creative Independent)

Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden shares her system for organizing books at home, her love of British history and cozy-cottage English mysteries, and her belief that books should be both windows to other worlds and mirrors. (New York Times)

To read more about Hayden and her plans for the Library of Congress, read a recent interview in Poets & Writers Magazine.

“We need critical voices in order to be better at critiquing, and at writing. And it matters too, who is participating in and leading such critical conversation, because the voice of the critic shapes and changes public perception and discourse.” At Electric Literature, Bix Gabriel argues that the literary world needs more diverse book reviewers and critics.

“Being candid, and open, about what one’s presence represents is perhaps a first step and a big reason, besides narcissism, money, revenge and making peace with who I am and who I’ve been, that I wrote the book in the first place.” Brandon Harris talks about his new book, Making Rent in Bed-Stuy: A Memoir of Trying to Make It in New York City. (Rumpus)