Griffin Poetry Prize Finalists, the Most Challenged Books of 2018, 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 Griffin Trust has announced the international and Canadian shortlist for this year’s Griffin Poetry Prizes. The seven finalists, who will each be awarded $10,000 Canadian, are international poets Raymond Antrobus for The Perseverance, Daniel Borzutzky for Lake Michigan, Don Mee Choi for Autobiography of Death, and Ani Gjika for Negative Space; and Canadian poets Dionne Brand for The Blue Clerk, Eve Joseph for Quarrels, and Sarah Tolmie for The Art of Dying. The two winners, who will be announced on June 6, will each take home $65,000 Canadian.

The American Library Association has released its annual list of the past year’s most challenged or banned books, which in 2018 was led by the children’s novel George by Alex Gino and the picture book A Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo by Jill Twiss.

Serving 1.3 billion people every year, U.S. librarians are the guardians of books, knowledge, and the world’s rarest baseball card. In celebration of National Library Week, CNN presents nine facts you might not know about your local librarian.

The epic poem Beowulf has been parsed once again, this time using computational technology. Employing a statistical approach known as stylometry, a team of researchers has found new evidence that the Old English text was composed by a single author. (Harvard Gazette)

Hachette Books has named Mary Ann Naples its new vice president and publisher. Naples succeeds Hachette Books cofounder Mauro DiPreta, who left the imprint to rejoin HarperCollins last fall. (Publishers Weekly)

“I interviewed one particular investor—who had no women partners at the U.S. branch of his firm at the time—and asked whether he felt a responsibility to hire some. He replied that they were ‘looking hard’ for women but were not prepared to ‘lower their standards.’ That was the spark that lit the fire that compelled me to write Brotopia.” The backstory of Emily Chang’s best-selling exposé of the tech industry. (PBS NewsHour)

At the Walrus, Brooke Clark wonders if the modern lyric has trapped poets in an echo chamber. “Lyric poetry feeds this narcissism, telling poets they’re special individuals whose perceptions are so finely honed that they can transform banal observations and quotidian dramas into art simply through the force of their presentation.”

“I stopped being able to see the book. I felt almost blind to it. I had to look at each edited line individually like a bird fallen from the nest that I had to tenderly brush off and return.” Gala Mukomolova speaks to Poets & Writers about her debut poetry collection, Without Protection, which comes out today from Coffee House Press.