Solmaz Sharif on War Poetics, Underrated American Poems, 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:

Newsweek features an interview with poet Solmaz Sharif, whose acclaimed debut collection, Look, is a finalist for the 2016 National Book Award. The job of the poet, Sharif says, is to be “a bane to the republic. Because the republic is built on a destruction of language. A kind of obliteration of language that will enable and excuse violence against bodies. My job is to interrogate and agitate that as often as I can.”

At the Ploughshares blog, a group of poets, scholars, and critics—including Erin Belieu, Steph Burt, and Edward Hirsch—discuss the American poems that have been historically underrated.

PEN America has released a seventy-one-page report on the 2015 abduction of five Hong Kong booksellers and publishers. The report, “Writing on the Wall: Disappeared Booksellers and Free Expression in Hong Kong,” found that the arrests “undermined Hong Kong residents’ expectation of safety under the ‘one country, two systems’ framework established when Hong Kong reverted to Chinese control in 1997.”

On the eve of the presidential election, why not browse this list of sixteen books that help explain the 2016 race? (Washington Post)

“We’re both patient, tough and just plain stubborn.” Best-selling fiction writer Haruki Murakami talks with orchestra conductor Seiji Ozawa about their respective creative processes and inspirations. (Guardian)

Electric Literature has announced that it will offer twenty full scholarships for New York City–based writers to attend writing workshops. The courses, cosponsored by Catapult, will be held in Manhattan beginning in January, and will include workshops on craft as well as courses “designed to help emerging writers navigate the publishing industry.”

French novelist Gustave Flaubert’s handwritten book of travel notes is up for auction in Paris. The manuscript, which Flaubert wrote “while walking in Brittany,” is expected to sell for €600,000—approximately $544,000. (Guardian)

Speaking of French writers, a reporter at the Daily Mail visits Charleville, France, where the poet Arthur Rimbaud is buried. The poet died a hundred twenty-five years ago this month.