Gordon Lish on Editing Raymond Carver, Best British Novels, 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:

Yesterday, Belarusian journalist Svetlana Alexievich delivered the annual Nobel lecture at the Swedish Academy in Stockholm. Alexievich’s speech noted the importance of documenting the lives of people who often go unheard. “Flaubert called himself a human pen; I would say that I am a human ear. When I walk down the street and catch words, phrases, and exclamations, I always think—how many novels disappear without a trace! Disappear into darkness. We haven’t been able to capture the conversational side of human life for literature…. But it fascinates me, and has made me its captive. I love how humans talk...I love the lone human voice. It is my greatest love and passion.”

NPR has released its 2015 Book Concierge, an annual interactive guide that helps readers select books from two hundred and fifty titles that were released this year. This year’s Concierge is dedicated to the memory of longtime NPR book critic Alan Cheuse, who died in August.

BBC Culture polled book critics from outside the United Kingdom to name a hundred of the greatest British novels. Topping this year’s list is Middlemarch by George Eliot.  

In an excerpt from a forthcoming issue of the Paris Review, Christian Lorentzen interviews famed editor Gordon Lish about his work and editorial relationships over the past fifty years, including collaborations with Don DeLillo, Joy Williams, and Raymond Carver. (Guardian)

Giving books as Christmas gifts is part of a long tradition, as books were among the first commercially produced gifts for the holiday. At Literary Hub, Michael Bourne explains how the book business invented modern gift-giving.

London Review of Books editor Mary-Kay Wilmers writes about the life and work of Modernist poet Marianne Moore—a poet championed by the likes of T. S. Eliot and Ezra Pound—and the relationship between Moore and her mother, Mary Warner Moore.

“If you were stranded on a desert island, which ten books could you not do without?” That’s the question journalist and editor Aaron Hicklin asked a hundred notable designers, musicians, actors, and writers, and their answers now stock the shelves of the newly opened One Grand bookstore in Narrowsburg, New York, which is made up entirely of recommended titles. (New York Times)