Keanu Reeves Cofounds Indie Press, Poetry of the Asian American Experience, 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:

Keanu Reeves has cofounded X Artists’ Books, a new Los Angeles–based independent press that publishes “unconventional, interdisciplinary, and collaborative artists’ books.” Reeves teamed up with designer Jessica Fleischmann and visual artist Alexandra Grant to start the press, which the actor says they created for “the pleasure of reading and thinking and imagining, and to go on a journey.” (Los Angeles Times)

At NPR, Vietnamese American poet Bao Phi talks about his new collection, Thousand Star Hotel, and his hope that the book might serve as a guide for his daughter and “other Asian Americans looking to see their own experiences reflected.”

In an interview with Vogue, fiction writer Imbolo Mbue discusses her award-winning debut novel, Behold the Dreamers, which was selected for Oprah’s Book Club, and the need for empathy in life and literature. “I hope we get empathy from literature, especially now,” Mbue says. “There’s an absence of empathy in politics, not just in immigration policy.”

Meanwhile, the latest installment of the Rumpus series “Visible: Women Writers of Color” features an interview with essayist Samantha Irby, who talks about her reluctance to call herself a writer and the process of editing her second essay collection, the New York Times best-selling We are Never Meeting in Real Life (Vintage).

At Ploughshares, Michelle Betters considers how Sherman Alexie, Tommy Pico, and Ross Gay write about pain.

Nearly seven hundred years before Johannes Gutenberg printed his famous Gutenberg Bibles, another form of mass printing took place. In the 700s, Japanese Empress Kōken ordered the printing of a million dhāranī scrolls—text of a Buddhist ritual speech—using a woodblock printing technique. (Atlas Obscura)

“I still stand by my observations, based on twenty-five years (yikes) of being a poet, editor, and teacher, that people have a tendency to make certain assumptions about poetic language and the poem as a genre, ones that interfere with that very experience of mystery and strangeness.” Matthew Zapruder responds to Johannes Göransson’s letter to the editor of Poetry, which addressed Zapruder’s July 13th New York Times column, “Understanding Poetry Is More Straightforward Than You Think.”