Poe’s Raven Forevermore, Literature of the Strange, 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:

“And the Raven, never flitting, still is sitting, still is sitting…” in our minds after all this time! Edgar Allan Poe’s famed poem “The Raven” has been around almost one hundred seventy years, and has since been embedded (parodied, filmed, read, acted) in our culture. What is it about Poe that keeps readers fascinated, and many academics furious? Jerome McGann, distinguished professor and critic at the University of Virginia, has published The Poet Edgar Allan Poe: Alien Angel (Harvard University Press), which investigates the persistent tension between Poe’s popular admiration and academic scorn. (Washington Post)

New figures from the Association of American Publishers (AAP) reveal that children’s and young adult books have fueled an e-book revenue growth in the United States this year of 7.5 percent (59.5 percent growth in the young adult category), and an overall 4.1 percent growth for the trade publishing sector (25.8 percent increase in the children’s and young adult category). (The Bookseller)

Certain universities refuse to grant degrees to students with outstanding library fines. After the Office of Fair Trading in the United Kingdom declared it unlawful to keep students from graduating over non-academic debts, the University of Sheffield has removed library fines entirely. (BBC News)

Washington Post book section editor Ron Charles will moderate an in-depth discussion with poet August Kleinzahler in the next “Life of a Poet” series next Tuesday in Washington, D.C. The series, which takes place at the Old Naval Hospital on Capitol Hill, offers a “chance to consider a writer’s entire career and explore the major events and themes that have shaped his work.” Kleinzahler’s accolades include a Guggenheim fellowship, the Lila Acheson-Reader’s Digest Award for Poetry, a Berlin Prize fellowship, and the Griffin International Poetry Prize. Admission is free and open to the public, but space is limited to one hundred people.

Publishers Weekly interviews Bronx president Ruben Diaz Jr. about the difficulties facing bookstores in the borough, and what can be done to encourage more booksellers to move in. The interview follows the news that the last general-interest bookstore in the Bronx (the Co-op City Barnes & Noble) would close its doors. Diaz negotiated to keep the store in place for at least two more years.

Bizarre, uncanny, and beautiful. Over at the Atlantic, fiction writer and editor of The Weird anthology Jeff VanderMeer considers the universal elements found in “weird tales.” Works by Jamaica Kincaid, Helen Oyeyemi, and Haruki Murakami are among those that VanderMeer suggests take on a “luminous quality.” “Just as in real life, things don’t always quite add up, the narrative isn’t quite what we expected, and in that space we discover some of the most powerful evocations of what it means to be human or inhuman.”

Contemporary poets talk Portland, bookstores, and saints: Paul Legault interviews Carl Adamshick about his new collection, Saint Friend, at the Los Angeles Review of Books.