Nelson Mandela, Ursula K. Le Guin on Fiction, Emily Dickinson’s Lost Poems, and More

James F. Thompson

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:

“What is missing in the general view of Mandela is his wit, his quick humor in surprising circumstances.” In the New Yorker, Nadine Gordimer reflects on the life of Nelson Mandela, and reveals the depth of his unique understanding of humanity.

“If poetry does not incorporate the body politic, if poetry does not inspire political will, it risks having little value in contemporary life.” In the Rumpus, David Biespiel remembers the poetic words and passages written over the years by Nelson Mandela.

“I’m a novelist and poet.” Ursula K. Le Guin discusses the meaning and purpose of fiction, her love of poetry, and why being categorized as a science fiction writer is professionally limiting yet ultimately inevitable. (Paris Review)

Emily Dickinson’s unique and artful “envelope poems,” which were discovered in the Amherst College Library nearly twenty years ago, have been compiled into a book titled Emily Dickinson: The Gorgeous Nothings. (New York Times)

Publishing industry veteran Penny Sansevieri discusses self-publishing and offers her book marketing predictions for 2014. (Huffington Post)

Kevin Pires addresses why the reading public focuses on Joan Didion’s personal essays but overlooks some of her other poignant writing. (Flavorwire)

BuzzFeed offers a comically disturbing list detailing the signs of an unhealthy relationship with books