Garth Greenwell on Opera, Hurston/Wright Legacy Awards, 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:

Opera and novel writing have the same aim, finally, or so it seems to me. It’s what opera gave me as a fourteen-year-old in Kentucky, and it’s the sound I try to catch in my own work: that human music that is sense-making, the act of seeking, in the chaos of experience, a momentary coherence. That’s the work of all art, I think, or part of its work.” Novelist Garth Greenwell writes about becoming an opera singer in high school. (Guardian)

Colson Whitehead, Carla Hayden, Donika Kelly, and congressman John Lewis were among the many writers and figures honored on Friday at the annual Hurston/Wright Foundation Legacy Awards. (Washington Post)

Griffin Dunne, Joan Didion’s nephew and the director of a documentary about the author that comes out this Friday on Netflix, shares never-before-seen photos of Didion. (Interview)

“To me, in a poem the writer reaches for the reader and the reader reaches back—in this moment of contact the unknowable or unthought is illuminated. There’s no such transaction yet in these or in other kinds of instant poems, or ‘pop poetry’—they are more texts for consumptions, they are a one-way ticket. None of that means they have no purpose or place.” Kazim Ali considers the work and social-media popularity of Rupi Kaur. (Harriet)

Nathan Heller weighs in on Kirkus Reviews’ recent decision to rescind a starred review of Laura Moriarity’s book American Heart—an act by which the book-review magazine has “somehow managed to misapprehend both the nature of reviewing and the nature of books.” (New Yorker)

Simon & Schuster will publish a memoir by John McCain, The Restless Wave, in April. McCain agreed to write the book in February, five months before he was diagnosed with brain cancer. (Washington Post)

Doreen Carvajal travels through southern Spain looking for the literary inspirations of poet Federico García Lorca. (New York Times)

Claire Vaye Watkins recommends books to read “when it’s been a hell of a year,” including Molly Patterson’s Rebellion and Nick White’s How to Survive a Summer, which have “wound the crank on my empathy machine, and reminded me that telling a story can be a defiant act.” (Rumpus)