Poets & Dreamers
Poets & Writers Magazine brings to light all of my writing aspirations. The topics in every issue, without fail, pertain exactly to what I’m dreaming about for my career. The July/August 2016 issue—with its special section on literary agents—is no exception. For all the possibilities your magazine offers, I must remind myself to take my time in making these dreams come true. The guidance you offer is invaluable. Thank you for knowing what this writer needs and presenting new ideas for me to explore. Oh, to have my smiling face on your cover...one day!
The Editor’s Journey
I loved the July/August 2016 Literary Agents issue. I recently shared Poets & Writers Magazine with some authors who were looking for agents, so I was very happy to see a special section on the topic. I have just begun my journey as an editor of young adult fiction. It gives me immense creative satisfaction to work on a good story and delve into the minds of different authors. Young editors like me look up to accomplished editors of magazines and books, which is why I would love to see an issue focused on literary editors. There are many things young editors wish to know about successful editors, including how they began their careers, what they look for in a piece of writing, and what inspires them. I also wanted to thank you for introducing me to fiction writer Adam Haslett (“The Deepest Place” by Kevin Nance, May/June 2016), whose stunning writing excerpted in the article compelled me to read his books. Thank you for packing a vast creative world into a small number of pages.
San Diego, California
James Patterson’s BookShots
Thank you for “James Patterson’s Innovative Instinct” (July/August 2016), in which Jonathan Vatner details Patterson’s new BookShots venture. After I read it, I rummaged through my bookcase to find my 1950 paperback copy of Graham Greene’s The Third Man. Greene’s novel, one of the most influential post–World War II stories, clocks in at just 114 pages. It seems that Patterson is going back to the future.
Keeping Up With the Times
I appreciated Michael Taeckens’s interview with Los Angeles Times book editor Carolyn Kellogg (Reviewers & Critics, July/August 2016). When I was a newish writer, Kellogg interviewed me on her Pinky’s Paperhaus podcast, during which she played some of my favorite music between discussions of my short story collection. Kellogg is the perfect person to keep the Times book section moving forward, with diverse critics-at-large and a multiplatform approach.
Daniel A. Olivas
West Hills, California
Trauma and Truth
As a poet and aspiring short story writer, I really appreciated “This Is Your Brain on Fear: Trauma and Storytelling” (May/June 2016) by J. T. Bushnell. His in-depth exploration of the neuropsychological effects of trauma on the brain was insightful and a great relief to read. Before this, I struggled with the notion of writing and sharing memoirlike pieces that I had written for fear that…they lacked a certain degree of truth. The idea of missing details that I felt were indispensable to telling the whole story brought about a sense of guilt of some unintended deception aimed at my readers—even though I knew that what I was writing represented my own authentic (and as far as I knew, truthful) experiences.
Vanessa D. Nesbit