Poetry and the Olympics, National Book Lovers Day, 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:

Today, all you bibliophiles have permission to stay in and read, or head out to your local library and get lost in the stacks, because it’s National Book Lovers Day! The International Business Times shares a list of twenty-one quotes that celebrate the love of reading.

Ever since Pindar composed odes to victorious athletes in the ancient games in Greece 2,500 years ago, poetry and the Olympics have had a long-standing relationship. The relationship continues—albeit in the service of advertisement—in this summer’s Rio games, with an Apple commercial released during the opening ceremony that features a voice-over of poet Maya Angelou reciting her poem “Human Family.” (Library of Congress, Fortune)

The British Library has planned an exhibit for next year that will celebrate the twentieth anniversary of the first book in J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. The exhibit, which will run from October 2017 through February 2018, will feature materials from the archives of Bloomsbury, the British publisher of the Harry Potter books, and from Rowling. Books and materials relating to the history of magic—some dating back hundreds of years—will also be on display. (New York Times)

“I wanted to say to readers, I trust you to make your own moral judgments of these characters. I want to put you in that space of both knowing and not knowing.” The Los Angeles Review of Books features an interview with fiction writer Annie DeWitt about her debut novel, White Nights in Split Town City.

At the Guardian, Alex Clark looks at how fiction writers including Emma Cline, Deborah Levy, Elena Ferrante, and Zadie Smith, subvert gender norms in their literary depictions of female friendship

Lillian Faderman, Jim Downs, and Benjamin Shepard have all recently published books that explore the complex history of the fight for LGBTQ rights and liberation in America. (Boston Review)

“Once, early on, I pointed out a discrepancy between two printings of one of his early poems…. I was quite proud of myself. He said it didn’t matter.” London Review of Books editor Mary-Kay Wilmers recalls working with T. S. Eliot at Faber & Faber.  

Marcus Books, the nation’s oldest bookstore devoted to African American works and authors, is reopening in San Francisco after closing its Fillmore District location two years ago due to rent disputes. The store will reopen in the lobby of the African American Art and Culture Complex in the same neighborhood. (KQED.org)