Feedback from readers
I feel such gratitude and admiration for two articles from the Literary Life department of the May/June 2021 issue of Poets & Writers Magazine. Both Sarah Ruhl’s “Not Writing Right Now: Writer’s Block During a Pandemic” and J.T. Bushnell’s “The Thousand Pages: Tips for Transitioning to the Novel” were such welcome reads. Each of them addresses the hard work of being a writer with the perfect mix of compassion and rigor. I loved Ruhl’s thoughtful advice on how to keep writing during such a deeply stressful epoch as the one we’ve been living through, balanced with her acknowledgment of how we must also sometimes mourn (or “compost,” or attend to other pressing matters). I am grateful to Bushnell for sharing his own journey from writing stories to writing a novel and for the wise insight that a novel is as different from a story as a story is from a poem. Yes! We don’t hear that often enough. Thanks to him, too, for the comprehensive advice on how to infuse energy and momentum into a longer work. Thank you, too, editors, for all the good work bringing a new and stimulating issue of this magazine into the world every two months, and thanks especially for these recent very fine essays.
Patricia Grace King
As a novelist and teacher of novel-writing classes, I really appreciated J.T. Bushnell’s discussion of his own journey from short stories to novels and the approaches he recognized in others’ work as well as the outlooks and techniques he devised for himself. He must be a very good teacher as well as writer. He provided lots of good material to share with my students!
San Jose, California
I have read and reread Diane Seuss’s feature “Restless Herd: Some Thoughts on Order—in Poetry, in Life” (May/June 2021), in part because I am wrestling with my own manuscript and in part because it says so much about how we must make our poetry real to us. It is opening this poet’s eyes to the limitless possibilities of ordering one’s poems. I’ll probably read it many more times before I’ve thoroughly digested it. Many thanks for a fine publication.
Eau Claire, Wisconsin
Top tweets, Facebook posts, and other social media ephemera
Fans of Diane Seuss showed up on Facebook to share their impressions of the poet’s essay. “Run don’t walk to wherever you need to go to get this issue of Poets & Writers,” wrote Kelly Cressio-Moeller. “‘Restless Herd’ is essential reading and one you’ll keep on your nightstand and reference continually. Must read. Brava!” Martha Silano wrote, “OMG, drop everything and read this essay right now. Diane Seuss: Brilliant woman. Superlative. Best piece in Poets & Writers. Ever. Seuss is candid, generous, encouraging, helpful, instructive, informative…and it’s a gorgeously written essay. Worth the price of a subscription.”
Three of the most popular posts from pw.org
1. “Words Matter: Copyediting as a Process for (or Against) Social Change” (May/June 2021) by Kavita Das
2. “Reviewers & Critics: Jennifer Szalai of the New York Times”(May/June 2021) by Michael Taeckens
3. “Craft Capsule: What’s So Funny?”(4/26/21) by Kristen Arnett