Laila Lalami’s Reading List, YA Criticism Versus Cancel Culture, 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.

“As I get older, I also find myself moved by depictions of friendship and kindness, which are so much harder to execute convincingly on the page than cruelty or betrayal.” Novelist Laila Lalami’s By the Book reading list. (New York Times)

At the New Yorker, Katy Waldman considers the recent controversies in the young adult publishing world, and the difference between holding writers to a high standard and a slash-and-burn ethos.

“Do not start a group with any old yahoos who happen to write — if they’re not also very good readers they won’t help you.” Advice for finding your community and the other tools to help you write your book. (Electric Literature)

On the eve of his hundredth birthday, Lawrence Ferlinghetti speaks to the Guardian about the history of City Lights Bookstore and his new novel, Little Boy, reviewed at the New York Times by poet Robert Pinsky.

“Maybe I will come / to where I am one / and find / I have been waiting there.” The circular search of W. S. Merwin’s poems at the Atlantic.

At the Millions, Kristina Marie Darling outlines how the conceptual framework of “text as body” mistranslates women’s intellectual curiosity as physical desire.

“It’s less that I’m not interested in sentiment and more that I’m interested in making emotion and sentiment as complex as we think ideas are.” Namwali Serpell on using magical realism as a feminist lens in her debut novel, The Old Drift. (Rumpus)

During a 1972 road trip, Charles Simic talked to Barry Lopez about the profession of poetry. “You sit one evening and string together a series of beautiful statements about life and go to bed kind of sublime, moved. Next morning one wakes up and, usually forgetting all that, goes his very grumpy way through simple daily tasks.” (Literary Hub)