Reginald Dwayne Betts on Poetry and Law, Stephen King’s Mixtape, 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:

“Poetry and law have always been intertwined in my mind, in part because poetry gives me the language to pretend that I can answer questions, even if I can’t.” Elisa Gonzalez interviews Reginald Dwayne Betts, the author of two poetry collections and a memoir who, after spending eight years in prison, recently graduated from Yale Law School and plans to become a public defender. (New Yorker)

W. W. Norton announced that it will publish Norse Mythology, a new book by Neil Gaiman, in February 2017. The book will be a retelling of the Norse myths that the bestselling novelist and comics writer first read as a child. (Publishers Weekly)

“I turned to Toni Morrison and Jamaica Kinkaid. Their work documenting sexuality, especially female sexuality, gave me permission to write my own.” Nicole Dennis-Benn, whose debut novel, Here Comes the Sun, is out in July, writes about breaking taboos and loving the characters we fear. (Catapult)

At Literary Hub, Stephen King explains a mixtape he created for one of his characters, which was discovered in a fictional 1974 Ford Falcon.

In the latest installment of the New York Times By the Book series, essayist, critic, and novelist Geoff Dyer discusses his favorite short story, the literary genre he won’t read, and why the end of Paradise Lost is “the most beautiful thing in all of literature.”

Just in time for Independence Day, twelve authors—from Sherman Alexie to Ann Patchett to Jesmyn Ward—recommend their essential American books. (Time)

“If writing were a person, you would be in an abusive relationship. The healthy thing to do would be to get a restraining order and shut it right out of your heart.” Poet and author Kim Addonizio, whose most recent book is the essay collection Bukowski in a Sundress: Confessions From a Writing Life, talks writing, teaching, and why “it’s a curse to say that somebody is confessional.” (Guardian)