NaNoWriMo Begins, T. S. Eliot’s Forgotten Cat Poem, 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:

Yesterday marked the beginning of National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), an annual challenge for writers to complete a fifty-thousand-word novel between November 1 and November 30. (International Business Times)

At the Nation, poet Ange Mlinko considers the poetry of Jorie Graham, and how her work resists closure and the poetic expectations of the time. “To mine the legacy of the Modernists—specifically Eliot, Wallace Stevens, and Marianne Moore—while making apt references to Pascal and Heidegger and Rimbaud and Rilke, at a time when the field of American poetry is becoming an adjunct of pop culture, is also a feat of integrity requiring an antisocial streak in our crowdsourcing age.”

There’s a new feline addition to T. S. Eliot’s Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats:  Cumberleylaude, the Gourmet Cat, who has a taste for “salmon, duck, and expensive French wines.” Eliot wrote the lost cat poem in a 1964 thank-you letter to a friend. It appeared for the first time in this week’s Sunday Times, and will be included in The Poems of T. S. Eliot (Faber & Faber), a new comprehensive volume of his work due out November 5.

In the highly competitive e-tail bookselling market, bricks-and-mortar independent used bookstores are finding success by partnering with Amazon, eBay, AbeBooks, and other larger e-commerce retailers. (Publishers Weekly)

Meanwhile, Amazon Publishing has announced its inaugural Little A Poetry Contest for emerging poets. Poets who have not yet published a full-length collection can submit their manuscripts for a chance to win $5,000 and a contract with a $2,000 advance from Little A, Amazon Publishing’s literary imprint. Cornelius Eady, Jericho Brown, and Kimiko Hahn will judge. Submissions are open until December 20.

Ubiquitous actor/director/writer James Franco has narrated a new audiobook version of Kurt Vonnegut’s classic 1969 novel Slaughterhouse Five, out tomorrow from Audible. The audiobook is part of Audible’s series of Vonnegut works, which launched in June with the release of Breakfast of Champions, narrated by actor John Malkovich. (Washington Post)

“What makes her scary, and what makes her exciting, is her ability to evoke the hidden life, the life unseen, the life we don’t even know we are living.” New York Times book review editor Parul Sehgal profiles fiction writer Mary Gaitskill, whose third novel, The Mare, is out now from Pantheon.