Iceland Press Burns Its Books, a New Tolkien Story, 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:

Icelandic publisher Tunglið has a new approach to publishing: founders Dagur Hjartarson and Ragnar Helgi Ólafsson publish sixty-nine copies of a book on the full moon and burn whatever copies they don’t sell within a day. The creators are interested in subverting the idea of a book as a permanent object. “For one glorious evening,” they say, “the book and its author are fully alive.” (Guardian)

Today Houghton Mifflin Harcourt published Beren and Lúthien, a short story that J. R. R. Tolkien wrote a hundred years ago, as a book. Tolkien’s ninety-two-year-old son, Christopher, edited the story, which is partially inspired by J. R. R. Tolkien’s wife, Edith. (BBC News)

John Grisham offers some do’s and don’ts for writing popular fiction—do write a page every day and use quotation marks with dialogue, and don’t keep a thesaurus within reach or write a prologue. (New York Times)

“When you don’t hear others, you don’t imagine them, they become unreal, and you are left in the wasteland of a world with only yourself in it, and that surely makes you starving, though you know not for what, if you have ceased to imagine others exist in any true deep way that matters.” In an essay for Literary Hub, Rebecca Solnit imagines the loneliness of Donald Trump.

At PBS NewsHour Jeffrey Brown reports on U.S. Poet Laureate Juan Felipe Herrera’s program in Chicago to bring poetry into the classroom. For the past year, Herrera has been leading workshops with high school English teachers to encourage them to teach poetry.

CNBC rounds up the fifty books that have inspired tech moguls such as Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, Elon Musk, Sheryl Sandberg, and Jeff Bezos.

“I don’t have an advanced degree in poetry. I’m not the most literate person in contemporary poetry. I think the key at the end of the day is understanding who you’re writing to.” Poet Brian Sonia-Wallace, who just won a residency to write in the Mall of America for five days, discusses his other corporate creative writing gigs with Amtrak and Dollar Shave Club, how art and commerce are inextricable, and making poetry exciting for people of all ages. (Atlas Obscura)

“You are not the work you do; you are the person you are.” As part of the New Yorker annual fiction issue, Toni Morrison writes about learning the importance of home over work.