Our annual Inspiration Issue features a special section exploring the engine of ideas that drives our writing, including tips for generating more ideas faster, a quarrel over art versus life, our tenth annual look at debut poets, and fresh writing prompts for the new year; as well as a new column, Reviewers & Critics, featuring Dwight Garner of the New York Times; the art of reading John Berryman; and much more.
In our tenth annual look at debut poets, we’ve asked the more than one hundred poets previously included in this feature to nominate their favorite debut collections of 2014. From that longlist of outstanding work, we’ve selected ten poets to feature here, who share their inspirations and influences, how their books began, and advice to those hoping to get their own books out into the world.
Art Vs. Life: A Quarrel Between David Shields and Caleb Powell
What comes first—the human or the writer? David Shields and Caleb Powell discuss the origins and collaborative process behind the four-day argument about life and art that became their new book (and film), I Think You’re Totally Wrong: A Quarrel...
Quieting the Mind: The Sound of Letting Go
While at a ten-day silent meditation retreat, a writer reluctantly puts away her pen, choosing instead to fully inhabit herself and her experience.
A songwriter responds to literature—such as stories by Jonathan Lethem and George Saunders—with music, carrying the creative conversation across art forms.
Growing in a Poet's Garden
A writer learns that letting go of the need for perfectionism, and instead allowing the creative impulse to guide him fluidly and freely, can revitalize the practice of writing.
A writer learns that letting go of the need for perfectionism and allowing the creative impulse to guide the mind fluidly and freely can revitalize the practice of writing.
News and Trends
Innovations like the USB Typewriter, Hanx Writer, Hemingwrite, and Typing Writer are giving new life to the classic typewriter by updating it for the digital world.
With help from the Lannan Foundation, one of America’s most prestigious poetry prizes has survived the threat of shutting its doors, instead increasing its monetary award tenfold.
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 Edith Pearlman’s Honeydew and Rikki Ducornet’s The Deep Zoo, 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 Ninth Letter, Gulf Coast, Gigantic, and Parallax.
Small Press Points highlights the innovation and can-do spirit of independent presses. This issue features the San Francisco–based Manic D Press, which publishes a broad array of books by authors who would otherwise be, as editor Jennifer Joseph says, “shunned by the traditional publishing establishment for their lack of commercial viability.”
“My work is a lifelong celebration of futility.” Artist Roman Muradov, designer of this issue’s cover, discusses his various wells of inspiration, his relationship to the written word, and the importance of doing nothing.
In her Sorted Books project, Nina Katchadourian arranges books from libraries—including William S. Burroughs’s personal collection, as well as those housed in museums and galleries across the country, to find a kind of poetry in the spines.
Amidst questions of racial diversity in the publishing industry, the Hurston/Wright foundation continues its outstanding support of African American writers, promising a brighter outlook for the state of writing in America.
The Practical Writer
The Savvy Self-Publisher: Keith Devlin's Leonardo and Steve
When science author and NPR Math Guy Keith Devlin decided to cut a section from his soon-to-be published book on Fibonacci, he realized he had a unique opportunity—to self-publish the deleted content as an e-book alongside the hardcover book. We...
In the inaugural installment of our new feature, Reviewers & Critics, New York Times book reviewer Dwight Garner talks about his experience as a critic—the required credentials (or lack thereof), how to cut through the hype, the role of negative reviews, and more.
The Literary Life
Ethnicity and Craft: Creating Characters, not Caricatures
A writer and editor shares her thoughts, as well as lessons learned from authors such as Junot Díaz, Jhumpa Lahiri, and Celeste Ng, on writing of and from a culture that may be foreign to the reader: what do we explain, italicize, or translate? How...
Feckless Pondering: Emotional Beats and the Art of Repose
A case for balancing action with introspection in fiction, in order to avoid “gumming up the gears of your story.”
Why We Write: Going Back to Where It Was
After finding him paging through her diary, a mother confronts the ethical and emotional struggles of writing about her son’s traumatic brain injury.
A personal and in-depth look at the life and poetry of John Berryman, with particular focus on The Dream Songs—from the lasting impact of his father’s death to questions of racism and misogyny and, finally, to Berryman’s own tragic end.