Merriam-Webster to Revise Definition of Racism, Internet Archive to End Free E-Book Program, and More

by
Staff
6.12.20

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.

Merriam-Webster is revising the definition of the word racism after Kennedy Mitchum, a recent graduate of Drake University, e-mailed the editors and argued that the current definition of the word does not fully account for the systemic nature of racism. (CNN)

In response to a lawsuit filed by four commercial publishers, the Internet Archive will no longer offer free, unrestricted e-books through its National Emergency Library. The program, which was started during the coronavirus pandemic to offer reading to those unable to access libraries, was criticized by authors and publishers as copyright infringement. (New York Times)

“But to do so in earnest requires that we rage not only against police brutality and the spectacle of Black (trans) death but also against the routine, ordinary violences that inhere in poor, Black, mad, gender-nonconforming life.” Cameron Awkward-Rich on grieving and protesting Tony McDade’s death, earnestness, and freedom. (Paris Review Daily)

Poet and critic Hanif Abdurraqib has launched ’68 to ’05, a project in which he curates music playlists, magazine covers, and videos of live music performances for every year from 1968 to 2005. He will invite writers to contribute short essays about favorite albums.

Zadie Smith will publish Intimations, an essay collection written during the early months of the pandemic, in July. (Vulture)

Sixteen poets, including Kwame Alexander, Chen Chen, and Natalie Diaz, share which writers and poems they are turning to right now. (New York Times)

Greg Mania interviews Michael Arceneaux about economic anxiety, creating culture instead of critiquing it, and his new book, I Don’t Want to Die Poor. (BOMB)

Novelist Susan Choi recommends books that have changed her mind, influenced her writing, and made her cry. (Guardian)

And the Daily Shout-Out goes to the Bookshop Band for their weekly “Lockdown Book Show,” during which they perform songs inspired by books they recommend reading during stay-at-home orders. Their next show can be watched today on Facebook Live at 3:30 EDT.