Poems of Hope for the New Year, Barack Obama’s 2018 Favorites, 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.

“Say goodbye to disaster. Shake hands / with the unknown, what becomes / of us once we’ve been torn apart / and returned to our future, naked / and small, sewn back together / scar by scar.” 2019 is here, and to mark the occasion Michael Schaub highlights five hopeful poems to usher in the new year, including “Blossom” by Dorianne Laux. (Los Angeles Times)

Continuing an annual tradition, Barack Obama shares his favorite books, movies, and songs of 2018. (ABC News)

Meanwhile, R. O. Kwon recommends forty-eight books by women and nonbinary authors of color to read in 2019. (Electric Literature)

As of January 1, classic works by Marcel Proust, Willa Cather, D. H. Lawrence, Agatha Christie, Joseph Conrad, Robert Frost, Wallace Stevens, and others have entered the public domain, marking the first time in two decades that a significant collection of copyrighted books will lose their protected status. Alexandra Alter sheds some light on what this means for readers, publishers, and literary estates. (New York Times)

Yesterday also marked the hundredth birthday of J. D. Salinger. At the Washington Post Ron Charles asks, Is The Catcher in the Rye still relevant?

Israeli author Amos Oz has died of cancer at the age of seventy-nine. Oz was the author of dozens of novels, novellas, short stories, and essays that have been translated into more than forty languages, including his best-selling autobiographical novel, A Tale of Love and Darkness. (NPR)

The Millions highlights several lesser known writers and literary figures who died in 2018.

“Narrating these books was not only personally extraordinary, but at the vanguard of the evolving art of narration.” An audiobook narrator who has recorded more than 250 titles, including Karl Ove Knausgaard’s six-part My Struggle series, discusses the audiobook boom. (Guardian)