New York Times Features Young Black Poets, Fatima Bhutto on Contemporary Cruelties, 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.

“These fledgling June Jordans and Robert Haydens, who are youth poets laureate and organizers and rappers, examine and fight back against an America that threatens to swallow them.” Poet Maya Phillips introduces readings and interviews with ten young Black poets from across the United States. (New York Times)

“What do we call the horror that stretches across our present age like a canopy, a kind of shadow violence, the sort we are all guilty of: violence of the ignored, utterly avoidable variety.” Novelist Fatima Bhutto writes about contemporary catastrophes and cruelties—the recent explosion in Beirut, the coronavirus pandemic, climate change—and how to fight for the future of humanity. (Literary Hub)

“BTB [Books Through Bars] has raised my awareness of what prisoners have to go through to get books to read. Working with them has transformed me.” For over a decade, Peter Miller, the owner of Freebird Books in Brooklyn, New York, has been collaborating with BTB, a volunteer collective that sends reading materials to incarcerated people. Publishers Weekly reports on how Miller and BTB have adapted their work during the pandemic. 

“She has taught me to sense when a signature of style is simply serving as a crutch; to recognize when the familiar is inhibiting the potentially extraordinary. She has taught me: Don’t get comfortable.” Poet Dana Levin shares lessons from her friendship with Louise Glück, who was announced last week as the winner of the 2020 Nobel Prize in Literature. (Paris Review Daily)

Bookselling Without Borders, a program which offered fellowships to American booksellers to support travel to international book fairs, has changed its name to Books Across Borders. With the restrictions of the pandemic, the organization is reimagining how to serve booksellers in the virtual era. (Publishers Weekly)

“I thought, ‘Probably by July we’ll have a better sense of what’s going on.’ It’s mid-August, and it’s even less clear now than it was in March.” At Interview, Ayad Akhtar reflects on writing and theater in the age of coronavirus and political chaos.  

“When I reread the passage, it’s the missing anatomy that I love. I’m filling in the details.” Novelist Emily M. Danforth writes in praise of the erotic writing in a particular scene from Patricia Highsmith’s The Price of Salt. (Vulture)

“Sometimes the God particle is in form, sometimes in theme—it pops up in weird places.” Destiny O. Birdsong, the author of Negotiations, reflects on the spiritual power of writing. (Guernica)

Birdsong features in this week’s installment of Ten Questions from Poets & Writers Magazine