Edra Ziesk Examines the Nature of Friendship, McSweeney's on the Radio, 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:

Dissident poet Li Bifeng was sentenced to twelve years in prison in China this week. (New York Times)

On the heels of the announced merger of Penguin and Random House, two other major publishers are reportedly considering a dramatic change. News Corp, which owns HarperCollins, is in early discussions with CBS about acquiring Simon & Schuster. (Wall Street Journal)

"He pontificated, chain-smoked and wheezed, retailed anecdotes, was charming and spellbinding and ghastly." Jonathan Lethem recounts a 1985 encounter with novelist Anthony Burgess. (Los Angeles Review of Books)

Literary critic Stephen Burt looks at what's new in the latest edition of the Princeton Encyclopedia of Poetry and Poetics, which was last updated in 1993. (LRB Blog)

You've heard of Black Friday, but how about Small Business Saturday? Bookselling This Week details this successful promotion that helps many independent bookstores.

For Thanksgiving, author Edra Ziesk examines the nature of friendship: "I think some of my early—and longest—friendships were modeled on the relationship I had with my mother. Who was jealous, unkind, and angry. Who wished me healthy, but not really well: not more successful, more creative, happier than she perceived herself to be." (Millions)

Brain Pickings features the daily routines of several successful writers, including Joan Didion, Haruki Murakami, and Ray Bradbury.

McSweeney's has championed a one-hour radio drama featuring many musicians and comedians, and centered on Wayne Coyne, the frontman of the Flaming Lips. The show will air November 24–25 on KCRW in Los Angeles, and streaming via KCRW.com. (Pitchfork)