Kiese Laymon on Michelle Obama, Stephen King on Steve King, 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.

It’s Midterm Election day, and author Stephen King has a message for voters in Iowa: Don’t vote for Steve King. The literary King took to Twitter to voice his opinions about Congressman Steve King, a Republican known for inflammatory right-wing rhetoric. “Iowans,” he Tweeted, “for personal reasons I hope you’ll vote Steve King out. I’m tired of being confused with this racist dumbbell.” (Los Angeles Times)

“We believe that Michelle Obama knows we are tired of the pain of tomorrow, and have no desire to make America great again for Americans to whom it has always been violently good. We want to be free. And we want to believe Michelle Obama wants the same thing.” Memoirist Kiese Laymon writes about Michelle Obama’s forthcoming memoir, Becoming, and his hopes for the former first lady’s future impact on America. (Vanity Fair)

Meanwhile, novelist Don DeLillo discusses Trump’s America and how it informs his fiction writing. “I’m working on a piece of fiction set three years in the future,” he tells the Guardian. “But I’m not trying to imagine the future in the usual terms. I’m trying to imagine what has been torn apart and what can be put back together, and I don’t know the answer. I hope I can arrive at an answer through writing the fiction.”

“Women are angry, and activated, and out in the open, and as intersectional as we’ve ever been—and we’re not apologizing. Not in the streets. Not at the polls. Not in our homes. Not even in fiction.” Bustle highlights twelve women in literature who don’t apologize for their rage.

“With this card in my pocket, I should feel safe, or at least safer, but I truly don’t.” Poet Javier Zamora, who came to the United States from El Salvador when he was nine, writes about getting his green card in a time of increased anti-immigration rhetoric and policy in America. (New York Times)

Read more about Zamora and his work to make the literary world more inclusive of immigrant writers in a 2015 Poets & Writers Magazine article, “Rethinking Poetic Citizenship.”

A letter by 19th-Century French poet Charles Baudelaire announcing he was planning to kill himself has sold at auction for €234,000. The note, dated June 30, 1845, was addressed to Baudelaire’s lover, Jeanne Duval. The poet attempted suicide the same day and survived. (BBC)

“Someone, somewhere, buys one of Child’s Jack Reacher crime thrillers every 13 seconds.” At the Atlantic, James Parker celebrates thriller writer Lee Child’s Jack Reacher series, including the latest installment, Past Tense, the twenty-third novel in the series.