Sharon Olds on Arias, Alaska Arts Funding Restored, 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.

“Art arose when our species began. If anything can help us, it might be the empathy and pleasure that empower art.” Sharon Olds talks with Maya Popa about her forthcoming poetry collection, Arias. (Publishers Weekly)

Alaska governor Mike Dunleavy has announced that funding for the Alaska State Council on the Arts will be restored. The arts council had closed last month after Dunleavy decided to veto arts funding in June. (KTUU)

Cornell College in Mount Vernon, Iowa, has launched a low-residency creative writing MFA program. The program, which will host its first residency in the summer of 2020, has signed on Curtis Bauer, Shena McAuliffe, Kisha Schlegel, and Lily Hoang as core faculty.

The New York Times profiles Zimbabwean writer Petina Gappah, who worked on her forthcoming book about explorer David Livingstone, Out of Darkness, Shining Light, for twenty-one years.

Demand for Toni Morrison’s books has sharply increased following the author’s death earlier this month; Knopf will print 225,000 new copies of her books. (Publishers Weekly)

Laura van den Berg and Helen Phillips talk about genre, surveillance, research, endings, and dislocated realities. “I’ve been thinking about dislocated realities my whole life,” says Phillips. “I remember imagining, as a child, that versions of myself were constantly splitting off into other parallel realities—the Helen who got hit by a car when she was riding her bike through the intersection, the Helen who had Grapenuts rather than Cheerios for breakfast, the Helen who didn’t lose her hair due to alopecia at age eleven.” (Paris Review)

“It is insight, the writer’s greatest gift, that wins.” Rachel Cusk revisits Françoise Sagan’s first two novels, which are “so spare and rigorous, so artistically correct, so thorough in their psychological realism...” (New Yorker)

The Creative Independent offers a guide to creating your own PR strategy, from putting your work out there to creating your own opportunities and fashioning an online presence.