Harper Lee’s Unfinished Crime Story, Rick Barot’s Ekphrastic Endeavor, and More

by Staff
5.6.19

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.

At the New York Times, author Casey Cep discusses the detective work behind Furious Hours, her reconstruction of the true crime book Harper Lee never finished. “People ask me sometimes, do I think she would like the book? I respect her enough to say, probably not.”

“Art’s power to console, to provide spiritual and metaphysical deepening, to create pockets of contemplation, to provide aesthetic pleasure—these are the pay-offs that conventionally underwrite the ekphrastic endeavor.” Poet Rick Barot speaks to Julia Marie Wade about writing project books, choosing the right title, and being a closet art historian.

In the United Kingdom, acclaimed poet Imtiaz Dharker has turned down the national poet laureateship, citing a need to focus on her writing. The government has yet to find the replacement for current laureate Carol Ann Duffy, who has reached the end of her decade-long term. (Guardian)

Novelist, teacher, and “larger-than-life” literary force Chuck Kinder has died at age seventy-six. Kinder taught at the University of Pittsburgh for more than thirty years, and is said to have inspired the central character of Michael Chabon’s novel Wonder Boys. (Los Angeles Times)

New Yorkers have voted Patti Smith’s memoir Just Kids winner of the 2019 One Book, One New York contest. One thousand copies of the memoir will be made available at public libraries throughout the city, and the memoir will be featured as the BuzzFeed Book Club read for July. (Publishers Weekly)

“I wanted to write a character and show how he may look cold, he may look heartless, he might even think he’s heartless, but he’s not. And I wanted to show what that disconnect is, and how different people experience emotions and process emotions in differnt ways, and there isn’t a one right way.” Novelist Helen Hoang talks to NPR about refusing to depict autism as a bar to love and happiness in her new book, The Bride Test.

Last month a fire tore through Ashdown Forest in East Sussex, England—the same forest that inspired the beloved Hundred Acre Wood of A. A. Milne’s Winnie-the-Pooh children’s books. Fortunately, the landscape is recovering, with grass predicted to return in a matter of weeks. (Atlas Obscura)

Joshua Yaffa profiles Maxim Osipov, whose work as a writer and cardiologist in the small Russian town of Tarusa has caused political furor. “You write a poem and a window breaks—such is the strength of your word,” says Osipov. (New Yorker)