Rona Jaffe Award Winners, Poetry Foundation Fellows, 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.

The recipients of the 2019 Rona Jaffe Awards have been announced. Poet Sarah Passino, fiction and nonfiction writer Debbie Urbanski, nonfiction writer Elizabeth Schambelan, and fiction writers Selena Anderson, Magogodi oaMphela Makhene, and Nicolette Polek will each receive $40,000. The annual awards are given to women writers who “demonstrate excellence and promise in the early stages of their careers.”

Meanwhile, the Poetry Foundation has announced its 2019 Ruth Lilly and Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Poetry Fellows: Franny Choi, Jane Huffman, José Olivarez, Justin Phillip Reed, and Michael Wasson. Each poet will receive $25,800.

Ten new bronze statues of women who have championed gender equality, including Oprah Winfrey and Wild author Cheryl Strayed, were unveiled yesterday in New York City in honor of Women’s Equality Day. Australian artists Gillie and Marc Shattner created the project to recognize women’s contributions society; the pair noted that less than 3 percent of the statues in New York City are of women. (CNN)

“We need to be transparent about the work, about how 99% of the time it’s a thick skin that does more for artists than bolt-from-the-blue talent. And also about the toll it can take on you.” novelist Sophie Mackintosh makes the case for being open about rejection. Meanwhile, Sian Cain surveys some of publishers’ most regrettable rejections, including Faber and Faber’s rejection of George Orwell’s Animal Farm and Knopf’s dismissal of The Diary of Anne Frank as “a dreary record of typical family bickering, petty annoyances, and adolescent emotions.” (Guardian)

Mimicry, “adjective blasts,” unexpected juxtapositions of the abstract and the concrete, and wordplay: Mary-Kay Wilmers, the cofounder and longtime editor of the London Review of Books, considers the language of novel reviews. (Literary Hub)

“Every writer knows that it’s less important to have a reader agree with you than just make her feel alive.” Pico Iyer talks with the Los Angeles Review of Books.

Kathryn Nuernberger reads three recent poetry collections—Marwa Helal’s Invasive species, Chaun Webster’s GeNtry!fication, and Alexis Pauline Gumbs’s M Archive: After the End of the World—that “draw upon unlikely source materials—government documents, academic monographs, maps, brochures—to reimagine collage as a vehicle for multiplicity, complexity, and context.” (Ploughshares)