Stump the Bookseller, Walcott Remembered, 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:

“Paying attention is the only thing that guarantees insight. It is the only real weapon we have against power, too. You can’t fight things you can’t actually see. The power a writer has is the power to make things visible, and they are the things that we don’t typically look at or think about.” The New Republic has published an adaptation of Michelle Dean’s acceptance speech upon winning the Nona Balakian Citation for Excellence in Reviewing from the National Book Critics Circle last Thursday.

“Like most poets since Plato, like Homer, Derek was something of a clairvoyant, and knew love was nothing without humility, or the way it clarifies truth.” Hilton Als remembers poet and Nobel laureate Derek Walcott, who died last Friday. (New Yorker)

Independent publisher George Braziller died last week at the age of 101. Braziller was known for championing early work by writers such as Norman Mailer and Arthur Miller. (Washington Post)

Alice Gregory recommends Stump the Bookseller, a blog run by Loganberry Books, a bookstore in Cleveland, which tries to “reconnect people to the books they love but can’t quite remember.” Readers write in with a description of the book—for example, a children’s book written in the fifties about an elephant named Packy, or a book from the mid-nineties about a cafeteria that serves delicious but addictive chicken—and fellow readers and booksellers try to name the book. (T: The New York Times Style Magazine)

British writer Wyl Menmuir shares the process of writing his debut novel, The Many, with the help of an app, WriteTrack, which tracked his word count on a daily basis. (Guardian)

Michael Bernick considers the growth of the book-reviewing website Goodreads, whose social network includes more than six-hundred million accounts, and how the platform is reinventing the book industry. (Forbes)

At the New York Times, Alexandra Alter covers a new wave of young-adult novels written by young black writers that address recent shootings of unarmed black teenagers and the Black Lives Matter movement.  

“Jim lived art not as a method to distill his thoughts but as a categorical way of understanding life, a quest to quench an insatiable thirst for all it put before him.” Celebrity chef Mario Batali remembers writer Jim Harrison, who died a little less than a year ago, and his “legendary appetite.” (New Yorker)