The Labor of Explaining Anti-Asian Racism, Eric Carle Has Died, and More

by Staff
5.27.21

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.

“I’ve lost the energy or desire to educate or provide reasoned, patient answers to anyone who still needs to be convinced that Asian people face discrimination and violence in this country.” Writer and editor Nicole Chung reflects on giving herself permission to step back from conversations about anti-Asian racism with white people. (TIME)

Eric Carle, who enchanted young readers with The Very Hungry Caterpillar and many other picture books, died on Sunday at age ninety-one. Known for his brightly colored collage illustrations, the author’s early life was marked by the darkness of World War II. Born to German immigrants in the United States, Carle’s family returned to Germany in the 1930s. “During the war, there were no colors,” he once said. (Washington Post)

“I don’t have a definition of equality in the arts. I think it’s more, I do know what inequality looks like. And when it’s out of control, I think we really need to address it.” Richard Jean So discusses his data-driven examination of literary whiteness in Redlining Culture: A Data History of Racial Inequality and Postwar Fiction. (Nation)

“Every time I changed a gesture or line of dialogue, it shifted a host of meanings and the relationship dynamics: who is hiding what from whom and for what reason? I found it hard to gauge my progress. Was I making it better or worse?” Yang Huang writes about the anguish of revision.

Brittany Loggins interviews two doctors who believe poetry can be an essential part of patient care. “Language can really help us bridge some of the distancing that can occur in treating patients in the hospital,” says doctor and author Rafael Campo. (TODAY)

“In a sense, every book is what I’ve learned—like, here’s what you should know about life that I won’t have been able to teach you.” Lisa Taddeo says she writes her books for her daughter. (Los Angeles Times)

“Since the pandemic, I have become frustrated with the linearity of time, how it speeds past us like a bullet train without stopping for us as passengers.” Cathy Park Hong shares memories of last summer in a letter to her child. (Literary Hub)

Tobias Carroll recommends new books in translation, including Mieko Kawakami’s Heaven, translated by Sam Bett and David Boyd, and Geling Yan’s The Secret Talker, translated by Jeremy Tiang. (Words Without Borders Daily)