January/February 2013

Poets and Writers Magazine, January/February 2013

Our Inspiration Issue features a special section on new literary, emotional, and scientific approaches to the imaginative power inside us all; plus our eighth annual look at some of the year's best debut poets, practical advice on organizing a DIY author tour, a simple self-publishing plan, a craft essay on memoir writing by Debra Gwartney, and more.



The Inspired Reader: A Reading List for the New Year

by David Shields
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David Shields, author of How Literature Saved My Life (Knopf, 2013), recommends fifty-two must-read books and essays that wrestle with the question of what it means to be alive.

The Secret Lives of Songs: Ben Arthur's "Bone and Heart"

by Staff
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Author and musician Ben Arthur shares the song he wrote based on Frank Bures's essay "The Secret Lives of Stories: Rewriting Our Personal Narratives." 

The Heart and the Eye: How Description Can Access Emotion

by J. T. Bushnell
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Contributor J. T. Bushnell applies neurophysics to effective writing, shedding light on how strong description gains access to the emotional area of the brain.

The Aha! Moment: Poet Jane Hirshfield

by Michael Bourne
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Poet Jane Hirshfield shares the transformation of her prize-winning poem "In a Kitchen Where Mushrooms Were Washed" from first to final draft.

The Flame and Shine: Our Eighth Annual Look at Debut Poets

by Rigoberto Gonzalez
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Contributing editor Rigoberto González introduces our 2012 debut poets: Zubair Ahmed, John Chávez, Feng Sun Chen, Laura Cronk, Natalie Diaz, Gibson Fay-LeBlanc, Marcus Wicker, Shara Lessley, Adam Vines, Matthew Hittinger, Angela Veronica Wong, and...

News and Trends

Page One: Where New and Noteworthy Books Begin

by Staff

With so many good books being published every month, some literary titles worth exploring can get lost in the stacks. Page One offers the first lines of a dozen recently released books, including Adam Mansbach's Rage Is Back and Yoko Ogawa's Revenge, as the starting point for a closer look at these new and noteworthy titles.

Inspiration Flies High

by Carrie Neill

Flying Object, a nonprofit artists and writers collaborative located in Hadley, Massachusetts, attracts hundreds of writers every month through classes, workshops, readings, exhibitions, and a do-it-yourself letterpress studio. 

Small Press Points

by Staff

Small Press Points highlights the innovation and can-do spirit of independent presses. This issue features Argos Books, the Brooklyn, New York–based publisher that sees bookmaking as a community endeavor.

Literary MagNet

by Travis Kurowski

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 Cave Wall, 6x6, Big Fiction, the Paris Review, and the New England Review

The Practical Writer

The DIY Author Tour: How to Sell a Book in America

by Ron Tanner
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Memoirist Ron Tanner documents the experience of doing a forty-state, sixty-city book tour in a customized camper van with his basset hound, Cleo.

Reality Check: A Simple Self-Publishing Plan

by Reagan Upshaw
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Poet Reagan Upshaw argues for self-publishing as a common sense strategy for connecting with readers. 

The Literary Life

When the Action Is Hot: A Memoirist's Guide to Writing Cool

by Debra Gwartney
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Memoirist Debra Gwartney offers advice about the most powerful and effective way to render traumatic experiences in writing.

Why We Write: A Mother's Masterpiece

by Mary Potter Kenyon
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One writer shares how writing helped her navigate the loss of her mother and husband within two years of each other.