Kathleen Fraser Has Died, Ross Gay’s Writing Practice, and More


Every day Poets & Writers Magazine scans the headlines—from publishing reports to academic announcements to literary dispatches—for all the news that creative writers need to know. Here are today’s stories.

Poet and essayist Kathleen Fraser has died at age eighty-three. The San Francisco State University professor and founder of HOW(ever) journal described her writing life as “making textures and structures of poetry in the tentative region of the untried.” (Nightboat)

In 1946, George Orwell submitted an essay called “British Cookery” to the British Council and was rejected. Now the council has issued an apology to the late Animal Farm author for deeming the essay “unwise to publish.” The essay contains a recipe for marmalade (deemed too sugary by the original editor), and a parsing of British high tea. (BBC)

At the Rumpus, poet Ross Gay explains the writing practice behind his new essay collection, The Book of Delights. “Part of what I liked about doing this practice was the idea of an effort or a trial or a warm up. That the relationship to work is not of greatness or triumph. It’s more of a little effort, a little meandering.”

Press button, turn page, repeat: In the 25 million volumes that make up Google Books, the fingers of the workers who flip physical books’ pages for the scanners are also sometimes mistakenly digitized. Andrew Norman Wilson’s book Scan Ops documents these snapshots of the human hands that still operate the machines. (Wired)

“Ideally, in your notebook you get to invent your own language and systems, creating a self-contained bit of hardware and software just for you.” Josephine Wolff explains the need for notebook-keeping experts, whose systems combine structured formatting and individualized artistic expression. (Washington Post)

At the New York Times, book designers Tyler Comrie of Knopf, Matt Vee of Penguin and Viking, and Marina Drukman of Melville House share their stories of creating cover designs and what doesn’t make the cut.

“I’ve come to believe that perhaps the only form that can handle the direct exploration of trauma is poetry. The nature of trauma is that it doesn’t allow a story to become a story.” Dani Shapiro on investigating the painful question of her parentage in Inheritance: A Memoir of Genealogy, Paternity, and Love. (Los Angeles Review of Books)

And at the Guardian, Winners Take All author Anand Giridharadas talks to historian Rutger Bregman and Oxfam executive director Winnie Byanyima about disrupting the World Economic Forum and developing a narrative of change.