NYPL Selects the Best Books of 2019, Revisiting the Black Mountain Poets, and More


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 New York Public Library has announced its selections for the best books of 2019. Ten books are listed in each of the following categories: kids, Spanish-language kids, teens, adults, and poetry. The adults category features both fiction and nonfiction, including Julia Phillips’s Disappearing Earth and Jia Tolentino’s Trick Mirror. The poetry list features Ilya Kaminsky’s Deaf Republic and Franny Choi’s Soft Science, among others. 

Jonathan C. Creasy revisits the legacy of the Black Mountain poets, an artistic community that grew out of Black Mountain College in North Carolina during the mid-twentieth century. Creasy notes several writers who are too often forgotten in conversations about the Black Mountain cohort, while acknowledging that most of the poets themselves resisted being grouped as a “school” in the first place. (Paris Review Daily)

At the Millions, Kevin Blankinship celebrates the recent surge in attention for English translations of contemporary Arabic literature. He makes the case that the same attention is due, and much needed, for translations of classical Arabic literature

Dexter Palmer discusses his latest novel, Mary Toft; or, The Rabbit Queen, a work of historical fiction that reimagines the story of an eighteenth-century woman who pretended to give birth to dead rabbits. He explains choosing to tell the story from the eyes of a young man, rather than from Mary’s eyes herself. (Electric Literature)

Palmer recently discussed Mary Toft in Ten Questions for Poets & Writers Magazine. 

Poems listen, and when we listen to poems, we start hearing everything. No border exists for a poem. It tells us we should be most fearful of fear.” Renée H. Shea interviews Nathalie Handal about her most recent poetry collection, Life in a Country Album, and bearing witness through creative writing. (Poets & Writers Magazine)

The Guardian Books podcast sits down with writers and publishers working to keep endangered languages alive through poetry

Malcolm Tariq talks to the Rumpus Poetry Book Club about his debut collection, Heed the Hollow, and his current writing project about “slavery in Savannah, queer desire, and time travel.”

Tariq was featured in Ten Questions earlier this month. 

Reggie Nadelson reports on the history of Greenwich Village-based independent bookshop Three Lives & Company. (T Magazine)