January/February 2021

January/February 2021 Poets & Writers

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.

Special Section

The Smudge and the Scrawl: Inside the Writer’s Notebook

by Various
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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. 

News and Trends

Little Libraries, Big Impact

by Emma Hine

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.

The Practical Writer

The Nitty-Gritty: How to Seek Permissions

by Michael Bourne
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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

by Staff
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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

by Kate Meadows
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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.