Poets Reportedly Beaten by Police, Leora Skolkin-Smith on the Thirty-Year Novel, and More

Evan Smith Rakoff

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:

Over the weekend it was reported that police on the campus of University of California in Berkeley injured students and professors, including poet Geoffrey O'Brien and seventy-year-old former poet laureate Robert Hass, who were voicing their opposition to a state-wide tuition hike. (KTVU, ABC, Huffington Post)

GalleyCat has obtained a memo indicating the publisher Houghton Mifflin Harcourt will restructure.

Leora Skolkin-Smith, who studied fiction with Donald Barthelme and was inspired by conversations with Susan Sontag, details what kept her going in the thirty years it took to publish her novel, Hystera, which is out this week. (Center for Fiction)

Flavorwire lists ten famous literary characters and the real-life figures they were modeled after.

A follow-up to the Q. R. Markham scandal: Despite the plagiarized novel being pulled from shelves, Kirkus Reviews lists the title "Best of 2011," and a peer of the beleaguered Markham, whose actual name is Quentin Rowan, posted an apology from Rowan via e-mail.

Tonight the venerable literary magazine Ploughshares is hosting its fortieth anniversary party. (Boston Herald)

Elsewhere in Boston, local poets are lending their voices (and humor) to the Occupy Boston encampment. (Boston Globe)

Reviewing Claire Tomalin's new biography, Charles Dickens: A Life, we learn that while writing Bleak House the great novelist worked himself into "a perpetual scald and boil," after which he would call for a "cold pail of water into which he would plunge his head." (Barnes and Noble Review)