In the Inspiration Issue we present our sixteenth annual roundup of ten of the year’s best debut poets; a rare glimpse into the writing notebooks of eight acclaimed authors, including Juan Felipe Herrera, Terrance Hayes, and Aimee Nezhukumatathil; an interview with the Nation’s poetry editor, Kaveh Akbar; Kate Meadows on the magic of sitting down to play; Michael Bourne on the nitty-gritty of requesting permissions; plus writing prompts, contest deadlines, and more.
The Smudge and the Scrawl: Inside the Writer’s Notebook
Eight authors—Aimee Nezhukumatathil, Mark Wunderlich, Rachel Eliza Griffiths, Samantha Hunt, Edward Carey, Juan Felipe Herrera, Darcey Steinke, and Terrance Hayes—offer a glimpse into their notebooks and their creative process.
A Life in Poetry: Our Sixteenth Annual Look at Debut Poets
Ten poets whose first books were published in 2020, including Anthony Cody and torrin a. greathouse, share their inspirations, processes, writer’s block remedies, and paths to publication.
News and Trends
Grants Celebrate Disability Culture
The Ford Foundation and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation have launched a fellowship program that honors disabled writers and artists in a variety of disciplines with grants of $50,000 each.
Books Offer Lifeline in Incarceration
The Prisoner Express program, created by Gary Fine in 2004, supports people who are incarcerated by sending them curated packages of books and offering educational programs.
Page One: Where New and Noteworthy Books Begin
The first lines of a dozen noteworthy books, including Let Me Tell You What I Mean by Joan Didion and The Sunflower Cast a Spell to Save Us From the Void by Jackie Wang.
Little Libraries, Big Impact
The Impact Library Program, an initiative of the nonprofit Little Free Library, brings free miniature libraries to communities where books are scarce to encourage a love of reading and improve literacy across the country.
Small Press Points: Threadsuns
A teaching press based at High Point University in North Carolina that launched early this year aims to feature experimental poetry, fiction, and translation that “maintains a connection to human experience.”
Literary MagNet: Matthew Salesses
The novelist and essayist on five outlets that he has worked with as an editor or have published pieces from his forthcoming nonfiction book, Craft in the Real World.
The Written Image: Black Futures
Kimberly Drew and Jenna Wortham’s book, Black Futures, comprises more than five hundred pages of poetry, artwork, memes, essays, and lyrics from Black artists.
Q&A: Akbar Edits Poetry of the Nation
Poet Kaveh Akbar on his role as the poetry editor of the Nation and the challenges and possibilities of literary editing.
The Practical Writer
The Nitty-Gritty: How to Seek Permissions
In the first installment of a new how-to series on the overlooked minutiae of publishing, the author focuses on how to seek permissions and considers the time and money needed to get them.
The Literary Life
The Time Is Now: Writing Prompts and Exercises
Write a poem considering what you see without focusing on its meaning, a short story based on a mysterious occurrence, or an essay about your New Year’s traditions.
Button Chair: The Magic of Sitting Down to Play
The author describes her failed attempts at sitting down to write, and turns to the lives and methods of famous writers, as well as her experiences as a mother, to find a way to write with a sense of spontaneity and play.