NBCC Winners Announced, Derek Walcott Has Died, 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:

Poet Derek Walcott died this morning at the age of eighty-seven. The Caribbean poet, born in Saint Lucia, won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1992. Walcott wrote more than eighty plays and dozens of poetry collections, most notably Omeros, his 1990 reimagining of Homer’s Odyssey. (Guardian)

Last night the National Book Critics Circle announced the winners of its 2016 awards. Ishion Hutchinson won in poetry for House of Lords and Commons, Louise Erdrich won in fiction for LaRose, and Matthew Desmond took home the prize in nonfiction for Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City. Yaa Gyasi, who appeared on the cover of the July/August 2016 issue of Poets & Writers Magazine, received the John Leonard Prize for Homegoing.

For all the staunch supporters of the Oxford comma out there: On Monday a U.S. Court of appeals judge issued a ruling in favor of a group of delivery drivers in Maine who were disputing overtime pay with their company because the absence of an Oxford comma in the state’s overtime laws rendered them ambiguous. (Guardian)

In response to yesterday’s news that Trump’s budget plan includes a proposal to eliminate the National Endowment for the Arts, the Los Angeles Times covers the reactions of writers and literary supporters on Twitter.

Meanwhile, Publishers Weekly speaks with Small Press Distribution, which supports more than four hundred small presses, about how eliminating the NEA would jeopardize the future of small-press publishing.

“Books can’t install unknown feelings or passions into us. What they can do is develop our emotional, psychological and intellectual life, and, by doing so, show us how and to what extent we are connected.” Writer Hisham Matar considers the inclusive power of literature in contrast to a U.S. government he finds exclusionary and afraid of complexity.  (New York Times)

Edward Simon makes a case for Milton’s Lucifer in Paradise Lost as the precursor to the modern television antihero. (Atlantic)

Poets Carmen Giménez Smith and Suzi F. Garcia talk about spoken word poetry, the Latinx artists they turn to for inspiration, and migration. (Letras Latinas)