National Endowment for the Arts Announces Literary Fellows, Analyzing Japanese Wordplay, and More

by Staff

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.

The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) has announced the recipients of its literature fellowships for poets and translators. Thirty-five poets each received a grant of $25,000, while twenty-four translators received either $12,500 or $25,000. The NEA also disbursed $1.14 million to support publishing projects at fifty-six literary organizations.

“Students of Japanese realize, to their immense frustration, that many words in Japanese have nearly identical 発音 (hatsuon, pronunciation).” Analyzing ancient poetry alongside “dad jokes,” Eric Margolis writes about the legacy of the Japanese pun. (Japan Times)

“I think all Americans, documented or not, are struggling to figure out where we fit in conversations around race and identity.” Jose Antonio Vargas explains the impetus behind his next book project, White Is Not a Country. The manuscript was recently picked up by Lisa Lucas in her first deal since assuming the role of publisher of Pantheon and Schocken Books. (Los Angeles Times)

Poetry Northwest has established a new award for Indigenous poetry, the James Welch Prize, named in honor of the poet and novelist who died in 2003. Two prizes of $1,000 each will be awarded for individual poems by writers belonging to Indigenous nations within the United States. (Missoulian)

“I’ve only been to the Odeon one other time, for another publishing lunch thing. I think it has this historical glamour that I can’t fully access, but I understand that it is meaningful.” Author and critic Lauren Oyler recalls a busy week of book promotion and snacking in her “Grub Street Diet.”

“Now the pandemic will rob us of yet another holiday, plucking it off the stem and discarding it like all the other celebrations before it.” Zibby Owens recommends fourteen books to pass the time on Valentine’s Day. (Washington Post)

At the Guardian, David Wheatley reviews recent poetry releases, including Living Weapon by Rowan Ricardo Phillips and The Disguise by Charles Boyle.

The New York Times recommends thirteen books publishing this month, including My Year Abroad by Chang-Rae Lee and Super Host by Kate Russo.