Hemingway’s First Story, Opera’s Influence on Whitman, 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:

Ernest Hemingway’s first story—a fictional travelogue through Ireland and Scotland written when the author was ten—has been found in Key West, Florida. (New York Times)

“More than knockout sentences, more than their grasp of human character, more than anything that might broadly be termed ‘craft,’ novelists are masters of one skill primarily. Their genius lies in an ability to suspend their skepticism over the long haul, to persist in the belief that—no matter how hard things get—the work is meaningful, and worthwhile, and will one day pan out.” Joe Fassler shares what he learned from interviewing more than 150 writers for the Atlantic.

Joshua Barone considers how opera inspired Walt Whitman, who came to love the art form in the late 1840s when he was working as a journalist in New York City. (New York Times)

Meanwhile, two concert musicians and sisters have claimed to identify the mystery melody that Marcel Proust references throughout In Search of Lost Time as a sonata for violin and piano composed by Gabriel Pierné. (Guardian)

Concepción de León profiles Ta-Nehisi Coates, and considers the fame and criticism Coates has faced since writing his landmark book on black life in America, Between the World and Me. Coates’s new book, We Were Eight Years in Power, which intersperses essays he wrote for the Atlantic during Obama’s presidency with new autobiographical essays, comes out tomorrow.

Last week Liz Phipps Soeira, an elementary school librarian in Cambridge, Massachusetts, wrote a letter to Melania Trump rejecting the First Lady’s gift of ten books by Dr. Seuss. Soeira argues that the books are “steeped in racist propaganda, caricatures, and harmful stereotypes,” and that the White House should instead focus its efforts on schools in “underfunded and underprivileged communities.” (Horn Book, Washington Post)

Publishers Weekly checks in with Third World Press, which celebrates its fiftieth anniversary this year. Established by Haki R. Madhubuti, the press is the nation’s oldest independent publisher of black literature.