Kurt Vonnegut's Story Grids, Labor Dispute at the Strand, 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:

To celebrate National Novel Editing Month, GalleyCat features a writing tool Kurt Vonnegut used, story grids.

Poet Kevin Young's new book of nonfiction, The Grey Album: On the Blackness of Blackness, was released this week. Reviewing The Grey Album for the New York Times, Dwight Garner writes Young's book "is an ambitious blast of fact and feeling, a nervy piece of performance art."

The Strand, a famed and enormous bookstore in New York City, is in the midst of a labor dispute with its unionized employees. (WNET)

An Italian human rights group, Gherush92, insists Dante's fourteenth-century epic poem Divine Comedy be removed from schools because of its "offensive and discriminatory" content. (Guardian)

Meanwhile, the New York Daily News traces the origins of the offensive word that recently caused radio host Rush Limbaugh so much vexation back to another fourteenth-century epic, Chaucer's Canterbury Tales. Chaucer used the word to describe a slovenly man: “Why is thy lord so sluttish, I thee pray, And is of power better clothes to bey."

Letters of Note discovered a thoughtful exchange between E. B. White and the Xerox corporation concerning the importance of a free press. The letters were written in 1975 after White protested Xerox's planned sponsorship of an essay in Esquire.

The Philadelphia Daily News profiles a sign language poetry festival, Signing Hands Across the Water, occurring this weekend at Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania. The performance features American and British poets who "express themselves through movement rather than by speaking."

For Saint Patrick's Day, the blog at Los Angeles Review of Books revisits Samuel Beckett's masterful Waiting for Godot.