Poet Donald Hall on Solitude, Zadie Smith’s New Novel, 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:

“People want to come visit, but mostly I refuse them, preserving my continuous silence.… Now and then, especially at night, solitude loses its soft power and loneliness takes over. I am grateful when solitude returns.” Poet Donald Hall writes about his solitary life at age eighty-seven. (New Yorker)

The Swedish Academy reports that it has been unable to reach Bob Dylan since awarding him the Nobel Prize in Literature last Thursday. (Guardian)

Author Jeffrey Eugenides profiles novelist Zadie Smith for T Magazine. Smith’s fifth novel, Swing Time, comes out November 15 from Penguin Press.

Meanwhile, Jonathan Lethem talks about his tenth novel, A Gambler’s Anatomy. “I just love stories where you’re forced to do excess interpretive work. It’s like The Twilight Zone, where all the best episodes could be taken as allegorical stories of a mind devolving into madness.” (Electric Literature)

Benjamin Percy’s new collection of craft essays, Thrill Me: Essays on Fiction, is published today by Graywolf. At the Powell’s blog, Percy discusses the book, as well as his influences, grammatical pet peeves, writing advice, and more.

Poet Emilia Phillips considers the debates surrounding posthumous poetry collections, and reflects on her experiences helping to publish books by late poets Larry Levis and Claudia Emerson. (Ploughshares)

“The threat of our devices is that they take away the possibility of introspective longing and a sense of absence.” Tim Vanderbilt looks at two new books—Tim Wu’s The Attention Merchants and Kenneth Goldsmith’s Wasting Time on the Internet—that examine the digital world’s influence on our attention. (New Republic)