Reese Witherspoon’s Author Rock Stars, a Profile of Poet Ocean Vuong, 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:

The New Yorker features a profile of poet and Whiting Award–winner Ocean Vuong, who was born in Saigon and grew up in Hartford, Connecticut. “For an American who was born here, the mundane might be boring, but for me colloquial English was a destination,” says Vuong. Of Vuong’s poetry, Daniel Wenger writes, “his poems are by turns graceful (‘You, pushing your body / into the river / only to be left / with yourself’) and wonderstruck (‘Say surrender. Say alabaster. Switchblade. / Honeysuckle. Goldenrod. Say autumn’). His lines are both long and short, his pose narrative and lyric, his diction formal and insouciant. From the outside, Vuong has fashioned a poetry of inclusion.”

Actress Reese Witherspoon has emerged as a literary tastemaker in the book-to-screen business with her independent production company, Pacific Standard, which options novels featuring strong female characters. Witherspoon, an avid reader, optioned the now best-selling novels including Cheryl Strayed’s Wild and Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl, and Pacific Standard has sixteen more projects in the works that are based on books. “Authors are my rock stars,” she says. (Wall Street Journal)

At the New Statesman, Salman Rushdie considers how Miguel de Cervantes and William Shakespeare laid the groundwork for the modern literary rulebook. “Though they both use tropes that originate in folk tale, myth and fable, they refuse to moralize, and in this above all else they are more modern than many who followed them. They do not tell us what to think or feel, but they show us how to do so.”

Nobel Prize–winning author Toni Morrison has been named the winner of the MacDowell Colony’s 2016 Edward MacDowell Medal. The award recognizes artists who have made significant contributions to American culture. Morrison will be presented with the medal at a public reception on August 14. (GalleyCat)

In an interview at the Rumpus, editor Vivian Lee talks about her position at Little A, Amazon Publishing’s literary fiction and nonfiction imprint; representing and nurturing writers of color; and the state of diversity in publishing.

After being rejected by forty-one publishers, New Yorker staff writer John Colapinto’s novel of “heterosexual male desire” is being published this month by the independent Soft Skull Press. A New York Times article suggests that the reason Colapinto’s novel was considered too “dirty” for publishers is that “in these more tentative times, male literary novelists tend to shy away from such strong stuff.”

Do you love writing in your name-brand Moleskine notebooks, but wish you could immediately digitize and share your masterpieces? The Moleskine notebook company has unveiled a new way to digitally edit your writing with a smart pen and accompanying app called the Smart Writing Set. (