Nicole Sealey Leaves Cave Canem, Anisfield-Wolf Award Winners, 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.

After serving as executive director of the Cave Canem Foundation since 2017, poet Nicole Sealey is stepping down. Under Sealey’s leadership, the organization received the $100,000 Spark Prize from the Brooklyn Community Foundation and launched several new workshops and initiatives for African American poets. (Poets & Writers)

The Cleveland Foundation has announced the winners of the 2019 Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards, an annual prize for books that address racism and diversity. This year’s award recipients are Tracy K. Smith for her poetry collection Wade in the Water; Tommy Orange for his debut novel, There There; and Andrew Delbanco for his nonfiction book The War Before the War. Poet Sonia Sanchez received a lifetime achievement award. (Newsday)

“Would anti-racist activism, and the backlash against it, play out differently in an industry run by women—and, in particular, by women who were writers and readers, who by definition loved stories of joy and reconciliation?” At the Guardian, Lois Beckett considers the long fight against racism in romance fiction.

“That notebook form occurred to me as the voice of the trauma, when you are not fully processing what is happening to you.” Poet, editor, and activist Carolyn Forché on bearing witness to war in her new memoir, What You Have Heard is True. (Progressive)

Independent publishers Seven Stories Press, Europa Editions, and Catapult have launched Indie Playlist, a program offering independent bookstores rewards and discounts for promoting independent press titles. (Publishers Weekly)

“The beauty of Brooks’s language is not that it can be swapped around to mean essentially the same thing in any given instance, but that cycling through her diction reveals how all of it is central to the poem’s main themes of black resistance and revolution.” Poet Lillian-Yvonne Bertram uses computation to better read—and respond to—the writing of Gwendolyn Brooks. (Poetry Foundation)

At the Austin Chronicle, new Texas poet laureate Carrie Fountain would like even more verse in her life. “I think I’m sometimes scared of poetry! And I hate that feeling. Poetry is mystery. Poetry is chaos. It’s an experience.”

“He didn’t always love what I wrote, once calling an image of mine ‘metaphor-chowder.’ Fair enough, I thought, and quickly scrubbed the lines clean.” At Poets & Writers, Christopher Locke remembers a long and treasured correspondence with the poet Donald Hall, who passed away last year.