Reading With LeVar Burton, Remembering Sylvia Beach, and More


Every day Poets & Writers Magazine scans the headlines—publishing reports, literary dispatches, academic announcements, and more—for all the news that creative writers need to know. Here are today’s stories.

Ahead of hosting the National Book Awards this evening, LeVar Burton talks to Esquire about his lifelong passion for storytelling and inspiring a generation of readers with his PBS series, Reading Rainbow

At the New York Review Daily, Caitlin O’Keefe revisits the history of Sylvia Beach, founder of the storied Parisian bookshop Shakespeare and Company. While Beach is often remembered as a “midwife to Modernism”—particularly as the publisher of James Joyce’s Ulysses—O’Keefe reasserts her life and feminist politics are deserving of more attention in their own right. 

The New York Public Library has acquired more than one hundred Virginia Woolf–related materials, which were previously owned by private collector William Beekman. The acquisition includes previously unpublished correspondence and photographs, first editions of her books, and various ephemera. (New York Times)

“A sometimes brutal journey, the length of which we cannot know: making a book is like life in that way. How long it will run?” Sarah M. Broom reflects on the pains and uncertainties of writing when the end is not yet in sight. (Paris Review Daily)

Jennifer S. Cheng considers the subtle yet radical possibilities of writing persona poetry and retelling myths. “I am not someone who shouts her words directly into the daylight. . . . What I can do is seek permission in the form of a safe container and then push at the boundaries; I can borrow a mouth and then spin its breath.” (Literary Hub)

Rachel Rabbit White talks to the Believer about her new book, Porn Carnival, and figuring out how to use poetry to share personal narratives on her own terms: “to express myself in a way that felt creative and not like selling out for clicks or a book deal.” 

In a conversation at the Rumpus, Seth Rogoff talks situating fiction in a broader historical context, finding inspiration in the work of J. M. Coetzee, and the evolution of his work over the years.

The Guardian recommends ten books about vegetarians from the classics—Frankenstein and Charlotte’s Web—to new titles such as We Are the Weather by Jonathan Safran Foer.