Kristen Roupenian on Going Viral, New Imprint Europa Compass, and More

by Staff

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.

“I want people to read my stories—of course I do. That’s why I write them. But knowing, in that immediate and unmediated way, what people thought about my writing felt...the word I keep reaching for, even though it seems melodramatic, is annihilating.” Kristen Roupenian, author of “Cat Person,” describes what it’s like to have your story go viral. (New Yorker)

Europa Editions has launched an international nonfiction imprint, Europa Compass. The imprint’s first title, scheduled to publish in May, will be French author Antoine Compagnon’s A Summer With Montaigne, a meditation on the 16th-century essayist Michel de Montaigne. (Publishers Weekly)

Poet, essayist, and playwright Claudia Rankine talks to Krista Tippett about how to talk about race. “I spend a lot of time thinking about, how can I say this so that we can stay in this car together, and yet explore the things that I want to explore with you?” (On Being) 

“I keep in mind Jane Kenyon’s lovely instruction to writers: ‘Have good sentences in your ears.’” In the latest installment of By the Book, author Dani Shapiro reveals a bedside table piled with books by Alison Bechdel, David Eagleman, and Marie Howe, among others. (New York Times)

Read the first line of Shapiro’s most recent book, Inheritance: A Memoir of Genealogy, Paternity, and Love, published this month by Knopf, in Page One: Where New and Noteworthy Books Begin. (Poets & Writers Magazine)

The Believer editors have announced their longlist for the best-but-underappreciated titles from 2018. The list includes Seventeen by Hideo Yokoyama, Orlando by Sandra Simonds, and Joshua Rivkin’s Chalk: The Art and the Erasure of Cy Twombly. Finalists and award winners will be announced in the magazine’s April/May issue.

“I was sick of formalism and sick of academics writing books of poetry that only fifty people in the world can fully understand.” Poet and performer Andrea Abi-Karam recommends writing “vengeance poetry.” (BOMB)

Critic Ron Charles weighs in on the debate sparked by Netflix’s Tidying Up With Marie Kondo by considering his own home, in which stacked books rise like stalagmites from the living room floor. “It’s not ideal, but my wife and I wouldn’t have it any other way. We’re not after sparks of joy—we want to swim in wonder.” (Washington Post)

For more on swimming in books, read the 2015 Reviewers & Critics interview with Charles in Poets & Writers Magazine.

“I think there’s historically been a sort of problematic distinction made between ‘page’ and ‘stage’ poetry, and that distinction is often raced in a super problematic way, where poets of color in general and black poets in particular are often labeled as performative rather than literary, and that bores me to no end, honestly.” Safia Elhillo, whose debut poetry collection, The January Children, is Amazon’s top new release in African Poetry, talks to Ploughshares.