Six-Word Immigrant Memoirs, Book Doulas, 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 Six Word Memoirs project has collaborated with ABC’s Fresh Off the Boat to collect six-word memoirs about what it’s like to be an immigrant in America, with contributions from several writers including Junot Díaz, Viet Thanh Nguyen, Gary Shteyngart, and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. “Nobody is ever just a refugee,” says Adichie. (BuzzFeed)

The Guardian considers the growing number of “book doulas,” or editorial coaches and consultants who offer encouragement and advice for writers struggling to publish their books, and whether they’re “fairy godmothers or just a load of marketing nonsense.”

Writers and critics, including David Orr at the New York Times and Larissa MacFarquhar at the New Yorker, continue to pay tribute to poet John Ashbery, who died on Sunday.

“If you’re feeling discouraged about your work, I guarantee that your number-one problem is this: You aren’t submitting enough. I might not know you, but I know I’m right about this.” Writer and teacher Michelle Seaton offers some advice on submission phobia. (Review Review)

Next month the U.S. Postal Service will release a postage stamp that honors Ezra Jack Keats’s famous 1962 picture book, The Snowy Day. The book was one of the first successful picture books to depict an African American protagonist. (Los Angeles Times)

“Bidart’s poems are a kind of séance, one in which he tries to invoke and communicate love, even if that love can no longer be achieved, tasted, seen, touched.” Hilton Als considers the poetry and influences of Frank Bidart, as well as his latest collection, Half-light: Collected Poems 1965–2016. (New Yorker)

The Guardian interviews Gabriel Tallent—whose debut novel, My Absolute Darling, came out last week—about his obsessive research on plants and guns, his next novel, and his childhood growing up in a “hippy retreat” in Northern California with intellectual parents and cats named after feminist icons.

Tallent and Bidart’s books are both featured in the latest installment of the Poets & Writers Magazine “Page One” column, along with new and forthcoming books from Celeste Ng, Karl Ove Knausgaard, and Eileen Myles.

“In a perfect world, I write for all kinds of black and queer kids and adults who eat too much chicken on Fridays. That’s my perfect audience.” Poet Danez Smith talks about writing as a black, queer, HIV-positive person, and their latest book, Don’t Call Us Dead. (City Pages)