In Defense of the Universal, the Drudgery of Submitting Work, and More

by Staff
8.16.21

Every day Poets & Writers Magazine scans the headlines—publishing reports, literary dispatches, academic announcements, and more—for all the news that creative writers need to know. Here are today’s stories.

“Lift your writerly eyes from the page and imagine the reader who is right there, reading, the reader who is imagining you. Make room for them between the lines.” Beth Kephart urges memoirists to consider the reader and defends the value of writing toward “the universal.” (Don’t Write Alone)

“The whole system felt so obtuse and unrewarding: You submitted a story, waited for months on end, then received a polite form rejection, if that.” Consulting business books and drawing parallels to online dating, Brittani Sonnenberg aims to reinvigorate her approach to literary journal submissions. (Millions)

The finalists for this year’s New American Voices Award are Infinite Country by Patricia Engel, The Kissing Bug by Daisy Hernández, and Afterparties by the late Anthony Veasna So. Created by the literary nonprofit Fall for the Book and the Institute for Immigration Research, the prize honors “works that illuminate the complexity of the human experience as told by immigrants.”

“Worse than its anti-intellectualism, the picture n+1 paints of criticism is a joyless one.” Christian Lorentzen pens a rebuttal to the recent n+1 editorial on the state of the book review. (Gawker)

“Without writing, I’m not sure I could have come to peace with the deep rift between my parents and me.” Julie Marie Wade discusses the reparative power of art and the writing of her latest poetry book, Skirted. (Rumpus)

“I think Sam, like most of us, is in search of some organizing principle for life. It’s a strange moment in the culture, rootless and atomized.” Emma Cline reflects on the protagonist’s search for meaning in her short story “The Iceman.” (New Yorker)

“Just doing the work is so punishing. It’s an athletic ordeal on every level.” Diane Williams talks to Publishers Weekly about the demands of the literary life ahead of the publication of her latest story collection, How High?—That High.

Authors Cheryl Head, Mia Manansala, and Penny Mickelbury participate in a roundtable on writing crime fiction and navigating the publishing industry as queer women of color. (Lambda Literary Review)