Feedback from a reader
William Ferris’s letter to the editor (May/June 2020) regarding the contemporary publishing world, specifically how to navigate it, struck a chord with me, perhaps because we are of the same demographic. I am a published writer of nonfiction and poetry dating back to the early 1970s. I have a proposal for the world of publishing, both public and private, born of what I think might be the impending global postpandemic downturn in literary publishing as a business—higher costs, struggling-to-survive small presses, decreasing paying readerships, etc. It behooves us, in all sectors, to think carefully about how we return to a postpandemic society. I propose we move away from the notion of writing contests. Can we reorganize around the theme of Recognition, not Competition? “$1,000 for a single poem,” as advertised in some contests, seems outrageous. What if that prize was shared among a small number of poets declared excellent and deserving? It might even result in a larger number of readers, for both winners and publishers. Let’s think outside the box.
Mary L. Gardner
Skaneateles, New York
Three of the most popular posts from pw.org
1. “Resources for Writers in the Time of Coronavirus” (5.18.2020) by staff
2. “Postcard From the Pandemic: A Solid Little Feeling” (5.5.2020) by Nathan Hill
3. “Reaching Through the Screen: The Reality for Adjunct Professors During COVID-19” (4.13.2020) by Rachelle Cruz
Top tweets, Facebook posts, and other social media ephemera
Miciah Bay Gault’s article “Young and Adorable: Rewriting the Narrative of Women Writers’ Success” (May/June 2020) elicited tweets of praise for the novelist’s articulation of the cultural myths about success, youth, and appearance that women writers must navigate. “Just read your essay on my porch, in Wichita, Kansas, during my 10-month-old’s nap,” wrote Whitni Ann McDonald Carlson (@whitni_ann). “That window hasn’t slammed shut since life distanced me from NYC (left in 2014). Thanks for the reminder that it’s always open.” Lex C (@LexC666) added: “Just finished reading it yesterday myself. It made me have to find you online, just to thank you. Felt behind when thirty hit, still trying to rush. Exactly the reminder I needed to just keep working and not stress when or if I ‘succeed.’”
In the Wild
The magazine observed in its natural habitat
On Twitter, Poet Spot (@poetspot_) wrote, “Recipe for a perfect day: soft blankets, a sleepy kitty, and the newest issue of @poetswritersinc. What are you up to today?”
The publication date of Laila Lalami’s Conditional Citizens: On Belonging in America, included in “Page One” (May/June 2020), was changed after the issue went to press. The essay collection will be published in September 2020. “Residency Supports Deaf Writers” (May/June 2020) by Sara Novic contained a misspelling of the Alliance of Artists Communities.