Obama’s Essential Reads, Ruth Ellen Kocher on Racial Performance, 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:

As guest editor of Wired’s November issue, President Barack Obama shares a reading list of ten essential books—including works by James Baldwin, John Steinbeck, and Elizabeth Kolbert—that the magazine estimates will take approximately eighty-nine hours to complete.

A new collection of William Shakespeare’s works from Oxford University Press is the first edition to credit Christopher Marlowe as Shakespeare’s coauthor on the three Henry IV plays. (Guardian)

Poet Rigoberto González interviews award-winning poet and publisher Carmen Giménez Smith about her writing life, her role as publisher of Noemi Press, and the importance of Latino poetry and literature in American culture. (NBC News)

Meanwhile, poet Ruth Ellen Kocher is interviewed at the Los Angeles Review of Books about her latest collection, Third Voice, which explores issues of racial performance and the history of minstrelsy. “I’ve constructed different treatments of the staged black body that hinge on the gaze and the expectation of entertainment or the expectation of acceptable intellect.”

Poet Donika Kelly discusses her debut collection, Bestiary (Graywolf), which won the 2015 Cave Canem Poetry Prize and was longlisted for the 2016 National Book Award. (PBS NewsHour)

“The ability to write effectively is a crucial skill for people seeking to escape homelessness, as well as for the community organizations that assist them. However, the homeless have little access to writing instruction, and organizations that serve the poor can rarely afford writing support for their staff.” Writing professor John Tiedemann reflects on his experiences leading community writing centers in homeless shelters in Denver. Read Adrienne Raphel’s related article in the current issue of Poets & Writers about the Black Seed Writers Group, which publishes a literary magazine of work by Boston’s homeless community. (Another Word

After a two-year hiatus, popular literary blog HTML Giant, known for championing independent presses and experimental works, has returned.