Thoreau’s Bicentennial, William Shakespeare TV Show, 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:

“So it has been for those who follow in his philosophical footsteps—we find ourselves wedded to the world wherever we encounter it.” National Geographic documents the enduring inspiration of Walden Pond and the work of Henry David Thoreau, who was born two hundred years ago today.

Meanwhile, NPR debunks myths about Thoreau’s eating habits at Walden Pond (he did not steal pies from his neighbors but he did eat a woodchuck once), the New York Times reviews a new biography of the Transcendentalist, and the Washington Post reports that the U.S. postal service will dedicate a stamp to Thoreau.

In other Thoreau-related news, Thoreau’s Walden, along with other classics such as James Joyce’s Ulysses and Jules Verne’s Around the World in Eighty Days, have inspired a new trend of literary video games. (Poets & Writers)

Sophie Gilbert reviews the new TNT show Will, which depicts the life of William Shakespeare as a “dope-smoking, glam-rock superstar” in a “kind of hallucinogenic steampunk Baz Luhrmann fever dream of sixteenth-century London .” (Atlantic)

The Millions has released its list of the most anticipated titles for the second half of 2017.

Anna Summers spends a day with Ludmilla Petrushevskaya, one of Russia’s most renowned writers, who “doesn’t participate directly in politics but whose life and art couldn’t be more political.” (New Yorker)

Russian poet Irina Ratushinskaya has died at the age of sixty-three. Ratushinskaya spent three years in a Soviet labor camp during the eighties for “anti-Soviet agitation and propagation,” where she wrote poems on bars of soap and cigarette papers that she smuggled out of camp to her husband. (Washington Post)

“Every avid devotee has her or his very own Jane, whether secretly abused or coolly observant or a revolutionary in disguise.” Jane Smiley considers the enormous popularity of Jane Austen and the culture of fandom surrounding the famed novelist. (New York Times)

At Quartz, Thu-Huong Ha makes a case for the “anti-summer reading, the anti-binge read,” or what she describes as “site-specific, intensely slow reading, for no other reason than to bask in what’s good.”