The New Math of Poetry, Dell's Answer to the iPad, Smartwords, 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:

Wordnik announced its new Smartwords initiative at the 2010 O'Reilly Tools of Change Publishing Conference on Tuesday. The new platform enables e-book publishers and software developers to "add layers of information about words to their products and devices." (Wall Street Journal)

One of seventy-two letters by René Descarte that were stolen from the Institut de France in the mid-nineteenth century has been found at a small private college in eastern Pennsylvania. (New York Times)

To celebrate the recent release of Sam Lipsyte's third novel, The Ask, Farrar, Straus and Giroux has launched a weekly e-newsletter full of "Lipsyte wit, delivered precisely at the most depressing point of your workweek." (And check out Frank Bures's profile of the novelist in the new issue of Poets & Writers Magazine.)

The Daily Beast compiled last year's fiction and nonfiction best-sellers lists and arranged them by American city.

"The new math of poetry is driven not by reader demand for great or even good poetry but by the demand of myriads of aspiring poets to experience the thrill of 'publication.'" (Chronicle of Higher Education)

On April 6 Knopf will publish a six-hundred-page biography of Barack Obama, which, according to Knopf Doubleday chairman Sonny Mehta, "reveals not only his character, but also his trials, motivations, and perspectives in a way that a memoir, even a remarkable one, cannot," by New Yorker editor David Remnick. (New York Observer)

The New York Post reports that controversial author James Frey (or is it John Twelve Hawks, or Pittacus Lore?) is keeping himself very busy.

Dell's stab at a tablet computer, the Mini 5, is set to debut in a couple months. “We are going to have a family of tablets,” a company representative told Wired. “The first one is a five-inch screen but we want to scale that up to a variety of screen sizes.”

Shortly before poet Lucille Clifton's death on February 13, Emory University's special collections library made public her literary papers, including letters, writings, workshop files, and photographs.