Olga Tokarczuk on Nationalism, t’ai freedom ford on Sonnets, 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.

At the New Yorker, a profile of novelist Olga Tokarczuk explores how the Polish novelist’s experimental writing allows her to act as a “psychotherapist of the past” and challenge nationalism. “Every culture is built on defense mechanisms,” Tokarczuk says. “This is quite normal, that we try to suppress everything that’s not comfortable for us.”

“I also wanted to embrace Ebonics… and intentionally NOT code switch… also within this very old, white form of the sonnet.” t’ai freedom ford talks to the Rumpus about artistic influences and sonic creativity in her poetry collection & more black.

At Slate, Laura Miller examines the troubling story of Delia Owens’s years in Africa and how a murder that took place in Zambia is mirrored in Owen’s best-selling novel, Where the Crawdads Sing.

“So much of our language is rooted in the old seasons, and in a miraculous natural world. It is terrifying to think that the language will outlast some of these.” Poet A. E. Stallings talks about the future of verse, contemporary Greek poetry, and responding to the refugee crisis in Europe. (Literary Hub)

At the Creative Independent, novelist Lillian Li shares how she finds focus within an “uncontrollable” creative practice. “I love editing probably more than I love writing. Writing does feel in many ways like I’m making mud or making clay, material that I then, in the editing process, can shape and make into whatever I want it to be.”

Publishers Weekly has announced the fifty honorees of its fifth annual PW Star Watch program, which recognizes leaders and innovators within the publishing and bookselling communities. This year’s list includes Jennifer N. Baker, creator and host of the podcast Minorities in Publishing, and Denis Woychuk, owner of KGB Bar and founder of its literary series.

Streaming platform HBO Max has ordered a drama series adaptation of Circe, Madeline Miller’s best-selling novel. Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver will write and produce the eight-episode adaptation. (Deadline)

And Sarah Elaine Smith talks to Poets & Writers about MFA programs, receiving feedback, and the writing process behind her debut novel, Marilou Is Everywhere, out yesterday from Riverhead Books. “It’s been my experience that any group of readers, whether in a formal setting or not, will collectively steer you toward the expected. I think it’s important to keep your own heart’s guidance at the front, no matter who’s reading your stuff.”