The Yiddish Library in a Bus Station, Jesse Ball on Violence, and More


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.

“Dystopian novels are pleasant distractions for the beach, for the most part, with lithe protagonists and evil. This is not that at all. Instead it is a short speech about violence—real violence that I have observed in the past forty-one years.” Jesse Ball talks to Patty Yumi Cottrell about accountability, confusion, and depicting the “insane ideologies” of children’s play in his new novel, The Divers’ Game. (Paris Review)

In Tel Aviv, a dilapidated bus terminal has become a refuge for the Yiddish language. On the fifth floor of the city’s partially abandoned Central Bus Station, actor and singer Mendy Cahan runs a library housing what may be the largest collection of Yiddish books and newspapers in Israel. (Atlas Obscura)

“One can do only so much connecting of Hearn to any other writer: his literary path, as much as the life he chose to live, was bizarrely sui generis.” Jonathan Dee considers the career and psychodrama of Patrick Lafcadio Hearn, the itinerant culture writer who built his own home out of words. (New Yorker)

The Poetry Foundation has launched Ours Poetica, a tri-weekly poetry video series curated by poet Paige Lewis. The series kicked off today with a video of author John Green reading “Poetry” by Marianne Moore.

PEN America has announced a new initiative to highlight infringements on incarcerated people’s right to read. “Literature Locked Up: Banned Books Week 2019” includes a national petition to call on House and Senate Judiciary Committees to convene hearings on book bans and other impediments to reading in the U.S. prison system.

In July, Macmillan announced that it would only allow libraries to purchase a single e-book copy of its new titles within the first eight weeks of release, citing “growing fears that library lending was cannibalizing sales.” Now the American Library Association is calling for the public to join libraries in protesting the decision, which is scheduled to take effect in November. (Slate)

Dani Burlison, editor of the new anthology All of Me: Stories of Love, Anger, and the Female Body, talks to the Rumpus about the stigmatization of anger, self-care in the age of care commodification, and the need to invite more voices to the table.

At Publisher’s Weekly, actor and children’s book author John Lithgow discusses his latest creative venture, Dumpty: The Age of Trump in Verse, a poetry collection that both witnesses and satirizes the Trump administration.