Lethem's Norman Mailer Obsession, Poets Ranked By Beard Weight, 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:

In conversation with David Remnick at the recent New Yorker festival, Jonathan Franzen confirmed his best-selling 2001 novel The Corrections is being developed as a four-year series for HBO. Franzen is writing the adaptation, and Noah Baumbach is attached to direct. Producer Scott Rudin optioned the film rights to The Corrections in August of 2001. (Gothamist)

In an excerpt from his upcoming book, The Ecstasy of Influence, Jonathan Lethem writes of his obsession with the enormous literary personality Norman Mailer: "Challenged once by a friend to name a single immortal literary character from postwar fiction—someone to rival Sherlock Holmes or Madame Bovary in terms of bleed-through to popular consciousness—I blurted out 'Norman Mailer!'" (Los Angeles Review of Books)

Memoirist and blogger Emily Gould's subscription e-bookstore, Emily Books, is up and running.

Former United States poet laureate Robert Pinksy writes of the sentimental and enormously popular poet Edgar Guest, and contrasts the now largely forgotten Guest's writing with that of the modernist Marianne Moore. A lively discussion follows in the comments, with the poet and critic Alfred Corn adding his thoughts. (Slate)

HarperCollins social-media czar, Julie Blattberg, provides tips and insight on the effective use of Twitter. (Publishers Weekly)

Speaking with the New Yorker about his new book, Negropedia: The Assimilated Negro’s Crash Course on the Modern Black Experience, writer and blogger Patrice Evans compares Susan Sontag to rap artists Dead Prez, and claims David Foster Wallace is a literary version of Eminem.

If you have a failed novel, film and television raconteur Morgan Spurlock wants to hear about it. (GalleyCat)

And if Spurlock is not interested in that unwanted manuscript in your desk drawer, take heart, Flavorwire lists best-selling novels that were originally rejected.

BookRiff, a Vancouver-based digital-media site, is scheduled to launch tomorrow, which will allow users to build their own books from a variety of sources, either to purchase, sell, or share with others. (Publishing Perspectives)

In case you're unaware of Upton Uxbridge Underwood's forgotten tome, Poets Ranked By Beard Weight, Harriet has some thoughts about the girth and style of the flowing facial hair on poets such as Whitman and Longfellow.