Real Writing Habits, Translating Humor, 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.

“About two weeks after buying the desk and coffee maker, I had to accept the fact that there’s nothing like sipping on a cup of too-strong medium roast (with a splash of half-and-half) while in the company of people—strangers and familiars—while I hammered new words into my Word document.” Novelist De’Shawn Charles Winslow and fourteen other authors share their writing habits. (Nylon)

“It seems to me that jokes can teach us an important lesson about translating in general, the lesson of freedom: It’s always best to let one’s mind do a somersault or three before grabbing hold of the trapeze again.” Boris Dralyuk and other translators on the joys and challenges of interpreting puns, irony, and whimsical names. (Words Without Borders)

At the Paris Review, Chigozie Obioma remembers the devastating knowledge that accompanied learning Turkish as a student in Northern Cyprus. “Every day, I would be seen by my friends as having gained mastery over a thing I could no longer escape—for I had been enslaved by a language I did not want, and there was nothing I could do about it.”

Those who hit the jackpot in Las Vegas can now spend their winnings on rare books without leaving the city. Bauman Rare Books of New York has opened in a second location between the Venetian and Palace hotels. (New York Times)

“One can take giant steps in a poem—what often seems impossible in the essay or short story—and find a clearing, a profound opening up, a much-needed space for the new new.” Layli Long Soldier joins fellow poet Sarah Howe in an interview on confronting the utterances of oppressive states. (Review 31)

“I can write the words. He supplies the melody.” Brad Meltzer and other writers on how the bond between authors and audiobook narrators can deepen into collaboration. (Washington Post)

The CEO and four board members of Melbourne University Publishing have resigned in protest of the university’s proposal to narrow the publishing house’s focus, with outgoing chairman Laurie Muller describing the university’s strategy as “culturally damaging.” (Guardian)

“Her hawkish eye pairs with an intolerance for the sort of romanticism that attends other European chroniclers of India.” At the Atlantic, Mallika Rao considers the “double vision” of Ruth Prawer Jhabvala.

And a quote by Andy Warhol has found new life as a poem in Coca-Cola’s 2019 Super Bowl commercial. (Elite Daily)