In the Inspiration Issue we present our fifteenth annual roundup of the year’s best debut poets; artist Diane Samuels turns famous works of literature inside out; Sarah Ruhl demystifies writer’s block; Grant Faulkner finds new ways of seeing rejection; Michael Bourne reveals the quiet power of literary agent assistants; and author and indie publisher Kelly Link discusses her return to bookselling; plus writing prompts, contest deadlines, and more.
Poetic Lenses: Our Fifteenth Annual Look at Debut Poetry
Ten debut poets published in 2019, including Camonghne Felix and Jake Skeets, share their advice, inspiration, and path to publication.
Word by Word: Reflecting on Fifteen Years of Debut Poets
Our favorite quotes from past debut poets on community, rejection, writing after the debut, and more.
Open the Book
Artist Diane Samuels turns works of literature inside out in a dramatic process of creative rewriting that highlights the intimate relationship between writer and reader in a painstaking homage to the ultimate act of creativity: writing.
News and Trends
Graphic Narrative Workshops
Courses in graphic storytelling gain popularity at MFA programs, workshops, and community spaces across the United States.
Page One: Where New and Noteworthy Books Begin
The first lines of a dozen noteworthy books including Cleanness by Garth Greenwell and Interior Chinatown by Charles Yu.
Ahsahta Press Closes Its Doors
After more than forty years of publishing innovative poetry, Ahsahta Press will shutter in June 2020.
The Anthologist: A Compendium of Uncommon Collections
A look inside three new anthologies, including A Map Is Only One Story: Twenty Writers on Immigration, Family, and the Meaning of Home edited by Nicole Chung and Mensah Demary.
An Indie Alternative to Amazon?
Andy Hunter, the cofounder of Electric Literature and Literary Hub, launches Bookshop, an e-commerce platform that promises indie bookstores a way to take back sales from Amazon.
Small Press Points: Trembling Pillow Press
The New Orleans press publishes four or five poetry titles a year in an eclectic range of styles.
Literary MagNet: Beth Peterson
An author recommends five journals that published essays from her debut collection, Dispatches From the End of Ice.
The Written Image: Shelley Jackson’s “Snow”
An author tells a fantastical story by writing it a word at a time in the snow.
Q&A: Kelly Link Returns to Bookselling
The fiction writer on the twentieth anniversary of Small Beer Press and the opening of Book Moon, a bookstore in Massachusetts that she co-owns with her husband, Gavin J. Grant.
The Practical Writer
Inside Publishing: The Literary Agent Assistant
In the first installment of a yearlong series on publishing professionals, three literary agent assistants in New York City reveal the inner workings of a literary agency.
The Literary Life
The Time Is Now: Writing Prompts and Exercises
Write a poem inspired by extreme weather, a fiction piece in which the protagonist reevaluates the definition of home, and a lyric essay incorporating scenes written like a script.
Writer’s Block: Variations on a Superstition
The author examines thirteen common instances of writer’s block—or what she calls “the studious avoidance of writing”—and offers practical fixes for each.
Rejection’s Gift: Divine Dissatisfaction
The executive director of National Novel Writing Month reflects on a quote from dancer Martha Graham, and how her acceptance of “divine dissatisfaction” can be applied to the writing life.