Keith Gessen's Notes from Jail, John Ashbery on Fame, and More

Evan Smith Rakoff

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:

The first incarnation of New York City's infamous jail the Tombs was modeled on an Egyptian mausoleum in 1838, and in subsequent years has been described by numerous writers, including Herman Melville, William Burroughs, and Harlan Ellison. Now novelist Keith Gessen details his two days held in detention after he was arrested while taking part in the Occupy Wall Street protest. (New Yorker)

A new literary feud has reached a boiling point. Harvard University history professor Niall Ferguson has demanded an apology and threatened to sue over Pankaj Mishra's review of Ferguson's Civilization in the November 3 issue of the London Review of Books. (New York Times)

Comic-book author Alan Moore speaks with the Guardian about why the Guy Fawkes mask he and David Lloyd created for the 1982 series V for Vendetta is worn at Occupy protests around the world.

Fiction writer Edan Lepucki considers self-publishing and the many reasons it isn't right for her. Number six: "The E-Reading Conundrum; or, I don’t want to be Amazon’s Bitch." (Millions)

Daniel Menaker, former editor-in-chief of Random House, lists his tongue-in-cheek rules for book flap copy. (Barnes and Noble Review)

In this video, poet John Ashbery speaks with Time about "fame, poverty, art criticism and why he hates the sound of his own voice."

In an interview concerning a "crisis in worldwide literary criticism" in Spain’s El País newspaper, essayist Eliot Weinberger claims, "The United States doesn’t have the class of literary supplements that you find in Spain and many other countries. It only has one important periodical literary criticism publication: The New York Review of Books." (Melville House)

In case you missed the recent Neil Gaiman-featured episode of The Simpsons, titled "The Book Job," the full episode is now online, and the Big Think discusses whether the show's writers got it right.