The Great American Read, Randolph College Launches New MFA, 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:

In honor of Sam Shepard, who died last week at age seventy-three, the New York Times rounds up forty years’ worth of reviews of Shepard’s plays, movies, and books.

PBS is set to launch an eight-part television series, The Great American Read, which will cover the importance and place of books in America. The first episode of the show, which is scheduled to air in May 2018, will cover America’s hundred most-loved books. (Publishers Weekly)

Randolph College in Lynchburg, Virginia, is launching a new low-residency MFA program that will begin in July 2018. The core faculty includes poets Kaveh Akbar, Layli Long Soldier, and Phillip B. Williams, as well as prose writers Kaitlyn Greenidge, Mira Jacob, and Aviya Kushner.

Literary Hub rounds out its lists of the most anthologized stories and poems with a list of the most anthologized essays in the past twenty-five years, starting with E. B. White’s “Once More to the Lake.”

“The prevailing wisdom is that writers ought to write a quick and sloppy first draft and then go back and spin it into gold. This has never worked for me. If I produce a mess, I never want to see it again. I like an empty desk. I like to work on one thing at once.” Writer Sarah Manguso ponders the best way to save (or not save) papers and drafts, and how modern technology is changing the idea of the draft. (New York Times)

Poets Dorothea Lasky and Alex Dimitrov, the creators of the astrology-focused Twitter account Astro Poets, have signed a book deal with Random House. (Elle)

“To return to the books of my childhood is to yield to the strain of nostalgia that is curious about the self I once was. What could I, at the age of ten, have found so engaging in the memoir of a Nazi, Adolf Hitler’s de-facto No. 2 man?” Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie rereads Albert Speer’s memoir, Inside the Third Reich, in light of rising right-wing populism. (New Yorker)

The Los Angeles Times talks with editor Sean McDonald about MCD, his new experimental fiction imprint at Farrar, Straus and Giroux, which released its first title, Jeff VanderMeer’s Borne, in May to critical acclaim.