Emily Dickinson’s Gardens, Pablo Neruda Film, 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:

The New York Times reports on the Emily Dickinson Museum’s latest efforts in a longstanding restoration project: the resurrection of the orchard and gardens at the famed American poet’s home in Amherst, Massachusetts. The garden restorations are not trivial to the museum: “Dickinson was a renowned gardener with a considerable knowledge of botany,” which “profoundly shaped her poetry.” The poet herself said: “The career of flowers differs from ours only in inaudibleness. I feel more reverence as I grow for these mute creatures whose suspense or transport may surpass our own.”

Fiction writer Mark De Silva discusses his debut novel, Square Wave; how he incorporates structures and theories from music and film into the novel; the connection between art and violence; and art’s ability to outrun us: “You should feel like you’ve fully understood what you’ve just read. But a good novel should leave you second-guessing yourself, in perpetual doubt as to what you’ve experienced.” (Los Angeles Times)

A new series of interviews at the Los Angeles Review of Books focuses on translators. The first to be interviewed in the series is fiction writer and Man Booker International Prize­–winner Lydia Davis, who translates from French and seven other languages.

A film about Pulitzer Prize–winning Chilean poet Pablo Neruda premieres today at the Cannes film festival. Directed by Pablo Larrain, Neruda tells the story of the poet’s 1948 journey across the Andes to escape anti-communist police in Chile. In addition to being a world-renowned poet, Neruda was a leftist political activist and diplomat. Larrain said, “We owe the poet several movies.” (New Straits Times)

A recently discovered memoir written by Dr. David Mendelssohn Hughes, poet Dylan Thomas’s family doctor in Wales, asserts that Thomas’s life was “fairly modest,” despite his reputation as a hard-drinking womanizer. (BBC News)

Katherine Dunn, whose best-selling 1989 novel Geek Love was a finalist for the National Book Award, died Wednesday. The seventy-year-old author died at her home in Portland, Oregon, of complications from lung cancer. In addition to writing novels, Dunn was a journalist for numerous publications, including Willamette Week, the Los Angeles Times, the New York Times, and Vogue. (Willamette Week)

Poet Michael S. Harper, also a National Book Award­­–finalist, died Saturday at age seventy-eight. Harper wrote more than a dozen poetry collections in his lifetime, many of which dealt with the historical experience of African Americans and the jazz tradition. Harper wrote in the preface to his poems in The Norton Anthology of African American Literature, “My poems are rhythmic rather than metric; the pulse is jazz; the tradition generally oral; my major influences musical; my debts, mostly to the musicians who taught me to see about experience, pain and love, and who made it artful and archetypal.” (New York Times)

Popular feminist, literary, and humor website the Toast will close on July 1. In a blog post, founders Nicole Cliffe and Mallory Ortberg explain their decision to shutter after three years.

At the Guardian, nine poets featured in a new anthology of Greek poetry discuss how the arts landscape is changing in Greece, the hope they have for their country’s future, and their poetic motivations.