Pulitzer Prize–Winning Poet Galway Kinnell Dies at 87, Rosemary Tonks’s Lost Poems, 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:

Former Vermont poet laureate and Pulitzer Prize–winner Galway Kinnell died Tuesday. Kinnell published over twenty books from 1960 to 2008, all of which are still in print. A contemporary of both the Beat generation and the adherents of New Criticism, Kinnell developed his own poetic style, one that was “lyrical” and “influenced by the past.” (New York Times)

Forty years after British poet Rosemary Tonks’s public disappearance, Bloodaxe Books has published a collection of her poems, titled Bedouin of the London Evening. After gaining literary success in the 1960’s, Tonks quit writing, converted to Christianity, and became a recluse until her death this past April. Reviewer Kate Kellaway states that the new collection is “bohemian, ardent, sensual and of its time,” and reveals Tonks’s early Romantic influences of poets like Charles Baudelaire and Arthur Rimbaud. (Guardian)

French culture minister Fleur Pellerin generated media controversy when she stated in an interview about Patrick Modiano, France’s Nobel Prize–winning author, that she had not read a book for pleasure in the past two years. (BBC News)

In an increasingly expansive digital world where algorithms generate most media recommendations (Netflix, Amazon, Pandora, etc.), libraries are now incorporating similar online book recommendation services into their systems. The BookMatch Program at the Brooklyn Public Library, however, is not run by algorithms, but by librarians’ suggestions. So, who recommends better books? Read about the strengths and weaknesses of the “algorithm versus librarian” argument at Fast Company.

In more news on digital debates, David Ulin examines the implications for the publishing industry in the ongoing dispute between Amazon and Hachette. For an overview of the battle, read our recent online exclusive. (Los Angeles Times)

“What remains fascinating, though, is the roiling subtext of a great 19th-century debate about the inevitability of progress and the power of science to regulate, tame and explain everything.” At the Washington Post, Michael Lindgren discusses the significance of subtext in Victorian classic horror and ghost stories. What fails to “shock” us nowadays, he says, still has the power to influence how we think about societal progress.

Speaking of Victorian gothic subtext, one figure that remains a contemporary fixation is the blood-sucking, sensual Vampire. Both alluring and terrifying, this contradictory character represented underlying anxieties, perversities, and fears of “otherness” in Victorian England. Read more about the cultural significance of the vampire figure in Bram Stoker’s 1897 classic, Dracula. (British Library)