Our Inspiration Issue features a special section celebrating the creative power and limitless capacity of every writer to make the essential connection; plus our ninth annual look at some of the year's best debut poets, an in-depth interview with agent David Gernert, a craft essay on writing the sex scene, a practical look at opening a new independent bookstore, and more.
Literary agent David Gernert discusses the bookstore as a key to our culture, what it's like to work with John Grisham, and how big changes in the industry are affecting authors' incomes.
No Ideas but in Things: The Importance of First Objects
Channeling some of our earliest memories, and specifically the physical objects that often exist at the center of such recollections, can prove to be a productive writing exercise—and might just open the floodgates to inspiration.
Pedestrian Adventures: Walking to Inspiration
A number of writers—including Dickens, Thoreau, Woolf, and Wordsworth, to name a few—have turned to walking for inspiration. This essay explores the myriad benefits that ambulatory excercise can have on the creative life.
Urban Tumbleweed: Perambulatory Poetry
Poet Harryette Mullen explains how daily walks inspired her most recent collection, Urban Tumbleweed: Notes From a Tanka Diary (Graywolf Press, 2013), and shares a selection of poems from the book.
Rethinking Restriction: Creative Limitation as a Positive Force
While writers often express the need for fewer restrictions in their writing lives, one author argues that implementing limitations may actually lead to surprising—and productive—results.
What It Takes: The Messy, Beautiful Business of Being a Writer Parent.
In a deeply personal chronicle that spans nearly twenty years, one writer grapples with the struggles, strangleholds, and immeasurable inspirations of being a writer parent.
Breaking Through the Noise: Our Ninth Annual Look at Debut Poets
For this year's annual debut poetry roundup, we highlight ten emerging poets whose first full-length collections made an inspiring splash in 2013.
After years of personal struggles including drug abuse and run-ins with the law, a poet meditates on the mentors who helped carry him toward the creative life.
News and Trends
A Minneapolis-based collaborative brings poetry to life through a series of animated films.
After nearly three decades defunct, December magazine, a journal founded in 1958 that published early work by some of the country's literary greats, makes its revival.
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 Chang-Rae Lee's On Such a Full Sea and Olga Grjasnowa's All Russians Love Birch Trees, as the starting point for a closer look at these new and noteworthy titles.
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 1913: A Journal of Forms, Miramar, the Intentional Quarterly, Gigantic Sequins, and China Grove.
Small Press Points highlights the innovation and can-do spirit of independent presses. This issue features YesYes Books, a new poetry press that is paving the way for new forms of multimedia publishing.
This month poet Alberto Ríos, author most recently of the collection The Dangerous Shirt (Copper Canyon Press, 2009), will be sworn in as the first poet laureate of Arizona.
Two new e-book services, the New York City–based Oyster and San Francisco–based Scribd, introduce a Netflix-like service for the literary set, offering unlimited access to digital libraries by subscription.
An in-depth look at the numbers behind the grants and awards given to writers in 2013.
The Practical Writer
Contributing editor Jeremiah Chamberlin looks at how Michael Gustafson and Hilary Lowe are building a literary life—and a bookstore—in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
The Literary Life
Writing the Sex Scene: Nothing Throbbing, Nothing Turgid
One of the most difficult scenes to write in fiction—and as such, one that gets tackled less and less—is the sex scene. Beth Ann Fennelly, a poet who recently cowrote her first novel with her husband, gets down and dirty to find out why.
Modulation in the Moment: Striking a Narrative Balance
Mastering the art of modulation—the ebb and flow of suspense, action, and meditation—can be the key to writing a truly great story.
Why We Write: Life Seems Inconceivably Rich
Diagnosed with Lou Gehrig's disease more than two years ago, an author considers the many inspirations that have kept him writing in the face of tremendous challenge.