January/February 2003

Kevin Young's new poetry collection, Jelly Roll, is about love and losing love and then letting go of that struggle…subjects often found at the heart of the blues, an influence that informs his new work in both structure and feeling.


A Short Distance to the Blues: A Conversation With Kevin Young

by Colson Whitehead
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A profile of poet Kevin Young on the occasion of his new collection, Jelly Roll.

How to Leave and Where to Stay: Traveling With Reetika Vazirani

by Renée H. Shea
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Poet Reetika Vazirani often writes about feeling, in her words, "unhomed." No wonder. The author of the aptly titled World Hotel has moved twenty-two times in the past eighteen years. But throughout her peregrinations, poetry has been her...

News and Trends


Of Love and Defamation in China

by Joy Jacobson

British novelist Hong Ying faces a "defamation of the dead" lawsuit in China for her book K: The Art of Love, a fictional portrayal of the love affair between Bloomsbury poet Julian Bell and the celebrated Chinese writer and painter Ling Shuhua.

Literary MagNet

by Kevin Larimer

Literary MagNet chronicles the start-ups and closures, successes and failures, anniversaries and accolades, changes of editorship and special issues—in short, the news and trends—of literary magazines in America. This issue's MagNet features Verse, Fence, McSweeney's, Open City, Orchid, Two Lines, and the Missouri Review.

Literary Archives Rerecord History

by Nick Twemlow

Naropa University has established the Naropa Audio Preservation and Access Project to archive the program's vast holdings of recorded readings, lectures, panel discussions, and workshops.


Poetry at the Crossroads of America

by Sam White

Last spring I embarked on a modest project. Having photocopied 10 of my favorite poems—by poets living and dead, from several different countries—I stapled them into an anthology and stood on a sidewalk in Times Square, where I read the poems aloud. I had no other gimmicks and no amplification. I did this on several occasions, always bringing a friend along for moral support and to assist in handing out free copies of the anthology, which I titled "Antidote."

Anatomy of Awards

by Staff
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Literary contests award $6.8 million in 2002.

The Practical Writer

First: ZZ Packer: Back-Story Behind the Buzz

by Joanna Smith Rakoff
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A profile of debut fiction writer ZZ Packer.

The Two-Book Contract: Life Preserver or Straitjacket?

by Joanna Smith Rakoff
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The pros and cons of signing a two-book deal.

The Literary Life

Imperative: The Professionalization of Poetry, Part 1

by David Alpaugh
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The history and impact of the professionalization of poetry.

Aesthetically Speaking: The Emergence and Survival of Callaloo

by Trent Masiki
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The history of Callaloo and a conversation with founding editor Charles Henry Rowell.