Imaginary Poems for the Statue of Liberty, Publishing Doubts, 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:

“I was suddenly writing because I yearned to create, not because I was frustrated or insecure, or because I needed to prove that leaving my job had not been the wrong thing.” Margaret Wilkerson Sexton describes the doubts she faced during her path to publishing her debut novel, A Kind of Freedom. (Publishers Weekly)

The Guardian asked several American poets, including Rita Dove, Cornelius Eady, Patricia Smith, Steph Burt, and Jane Hirshfield, to write poems they imagine Donald Trump would want at the base of the Statue of Liberty instead of Emma Lazarus’s “The New Colossus,” with its famous line, “Give me your tired, your poor, / your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.”

The Paris Review interviews debut novelist Ayobami Adebayo about her writing influences, her interest in extended family systems, and the process of taking apart and putting back together her book, Stay With Me.

Meanwhile, Adebayo offers writing advice in the latest installment of the Poets & Writers Writers Recommend series.

“I think the most important resource for poets are other poets. I think that all poets, more or less, belong to this tribe. When you find a fellow poet and you talk to them, you recognize them even if you’ve never met them. ” Matthew Zapruder talks with the Creative Independent about the importance of poetry.

The Los Angeles Times looks at the “sometimes comic, sometimes tragic” and “consistently cute” childhood drawings and poems of popular children’s-book writers and illustrators featured in Our Story Begins, published last month by Simon & Schuster.

“You can keep your well-reasoned arguments and your ripped-from-the-headlines topicality, thank you. All I want is a distinct sense of—and an interest in—the person I’m listening to.” Humorist Henry Alford surveys seven recent books about boredom and discusses what he looks for in nonfiction. (New York Times)

“My advice to writers is stop being self-hating or self-loving and become self-curious. Look at writing as a mystery to solve.” Marlon James talks with Literary Hub about inspiration and his writing process and habits.

Vulture follows novelist Dennis Cooper as he works on his latest artistic endeavor, Permanent Green Light, a film about a teenager obsessed with killing himself.