Poet Martín Espada’s Ode to His Father, Digital Book Clubs, 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:

At Electric Literature, writer and professor Je Banach considers the importance of literary discourse, and how it “provides a model of thoughtful, considerate, and intelligent action and dialogue,” in times of extremism and intolerance.

PBS NewsHour features a reading from award-winning poet Martín Espada from his new collection Vivas to Those Who Have Failed. Espada’s father was a community organizer who founded the East New York Action organization for Puerto Rican rights in the early 1960s and worked with the civil rights movement, and the poetry collection is “largely an ode to this history.”

The New York Times announced that is has chosen three fellows instead of one for its inaugural two-year fellowship program named for late media columnist David Carr, who passed away last year. Of the decision to select three fellows, Times executive editor Dean Baquet said, “We found these three candidates so compelling that we decided to select all of them. They are thoughtful, deep reporters. We will learn as much from them as they will from us.”

Do you want to join a book club, but don’t have the time to commit to leaving your house? Bustle lists five digital book clubs worth joining.

NPR reports on the unresolved case of five Hong Kong booksellers that disappeared, and two months later turned up on China’s mainland without explanation from Chinese authorities. The case has other publishers in Hong Kong, particularly ones that publish books about Chinese politics and history, worried about their businesses and risks to their authors and consumers.

At the Farrar, Straus & Giroux Works in Progress blog, fiction writers Laura van den Berg and Emily St. John Mandel discuss their novels Find Me and Station Eleven, the reasons behind the influx of dystopian and disaster novels in recent years, and the hopeful end of the genre wars.

After facing arrest in his home country for being gay, Iranian poet Payam Feili is now seeking asylum in the country’s enemy state of Israel. The poet arrived in December to see his novella I Will Grow, I Will Bear Fruit performed as a play in Tel Aviv, and told the Washington Post that he wants to stay in Israel and what he feels for the country is “more than love.” Feili writes openly about being gay in his poetry; as homosexuality is illegal in Iran, the poet fears his life would be put at risk if he were to return to his home country.