Simon Armitage’s Poem on a Cancer Pill, New Directions Launches Audiobook Program, 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.

For his second official work as the U.K. poet laureate, Simon Armitage has written a poem that a micro-artist engraved on a tiny cancer pill. The Institute of Cancer Research in London commissioned the poem, titled “Finishing It,” in honor of the Centre for Cancer Drug Discovery, which will open in 2020. (Guardian)

Speaking of poet laureates, the Smithsonian profiles new U.S. poet laureate Joy Harjo, who published her sixteenth book of poetry, An American Sunrise, this week.

New Directions has launched an audiobook program. The publisher plans to release eight titles a year; future titles include Jorge Luis Borges’s Labyrinths read by Star Trek actor Dominic Keating and Jenny Erpenbeck’s books The End of Days, Visitation, and Go, Went, Gone read by actor Lisa Flanagan. (Publishers Weekly)

An inventory management system for public libraries shows library users how much money they’ve saved by borrowing books instead of buying them—one reader reported saving more than seven thousand dollars. (VICE)

“Racist is not an identity, it’s not a tattoo—it is describing what a person is doing in the moment, and people change from moment to moment.” Ibram X. Kendi on productive conversations about race and his new book, How to Be an Antiracist. (NPR)

The National Endowment for the Humanities has announced its final round of grants for the fiscal year. The agency will grant $29 million to 215 projects, including an initiative to develop public programs at Emily Dickinson’s home in Amherst. (New York Times)

Terese Marie Mailhot interviews nonfiction writer Alicia Elliott and poet Arielle Twist about the future of Indigenous literature and how they call stereotypes into question with their work. (Pacific Standard)

“Like, honestly if what’s at stake in your writing is communicating the sublimity of nature, or I don’t know, flowers, then that’s great. If what’s at stake in your writing is a demonstration of the emptiness of form, more power to you…. It’s really about whether you can make me feel, as a reader, that what’s at stake for you is a question of importance, even if I might not care about it.” Trisha Low talks about artistic stakes and her new book, Socialist Realism. (Believer)