Lynne Thompson Named Poet Laureate of L.A., Books About Anti-Asian Racism, and More


Every day Poets & Writers Magazine scans the headlines—publishing reports, literary dispatches, academic announcements, and more—for all the news that creative writers need to know. Here are today’s stories.

Lynne Thompson has been named the new poet laureate of Los Angeles. “Lynne is an acclaimed writer and outspoken force who uses words to tell stories, bring communities together, and open up new avenues of art and thinking,” says Eric Garcetti, the mayor of Los Angeles. “I know Lynne will use her drive to show Angelenos and beyond the immense power of poetry.” (Los Angeles Times)

Jae-Yeon Yoo and Stefani Kuo share a list of books that take on the “deep roots of Asian American discrimination in the United States,” including novels, critical works, cultural studies, essay collections, and more. (Electric Literature)

“I’m moved by books that are original and surprising, while offering readers enough familiarity to find themselves in the work. I’m also moved by books that inspire human beings to come together to fight the existential battles of our time.” Ibram X. Kendi shares his reading habits and favorite books in the latest installment of By the Book. (New York Times)

In honor of the bicentenary of John Keats’s death this past Tuesday, the Guardian tracks the history of the poet’s death mask as a collector’s item. A literature scholar recently purchased a cast of the mask for £12,500, and author Maurice Sendak reportedly kept a version of the mask in a box by his bed. (Guardian)

Penguin Random House imprint One World has launched Ideas & Action, a podcast in which One World publisher Chris Jackson and senior editor Nicole Counts conduct conversations with some of the imprint’s authors, including Ta-Nehisi Coates, Karla Cornejo Villavicencio, and Bryan Stevenson. (Publishers Weekly)

At the New Yorker, Katy Waldman profiles Alena Smith, the showrunner and creator of the TV show Dickinson, a subversive retelling of the life of poet Emily Dickinson that is “spooky and bold, solemn and arch.”

Short story writers Te-Ping Chen and Brenda Peynado talk about trying to capture the political moment in their work, their recent story collections, and, as Peynado puts it, “that hybrid psychology of feeling like you’re both inside and outside the culture you’re writing about.” (Millions)

“It’s a feat of pastiche that transcends pastiche: It preserves the intoxication of narrative fiction while admitting that it’s farce.” Nearly twenty years after the publication of Ian McEwan’s novel Atonement, Hillary Kelly revisits the impact of its twist ending. (Vulture)