Tracy K. Smith on Black Poetry, Inside the Hollywood Book-to-Screen Boom, 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.

“Black poetry is beautiful because poets are so resourceful and inventive. What is really interesting to me about Black poetry in Black History Month, is that it oftentimes creates a really new lens to really think about history. I also think history is better when we use poetry to augment our understanding of it. “ In a video for NBC News, Tracy K. Smith speaks about Black poetry, Amanda Gorman’s inauguration poem, and truth-telling as a form of activism.

The Los Angeles Times delves into Hollywood’s “explosion of book-to-screen deals” and considers the increasing number of novelists writing for TV and the “most important behind-the-scenes movers, shakers, and connection-makers” in the industry.

The Poetry Coalition, an alliance of more than twenty-five poetry organizations, has announced its March 2021 programming will revolve around the theme “It is burning. / It is dreaming. / It is waking up.: Poetry & Environmental Justice.”

Science fiction writer James E. Gunn died on December 23 in Lawrence, Kansas, at age ninety-seven. Gunn penned more than thirty books and edited ten anthologies of science fiction. (New York Times)

Knopf announced it will publish a new book by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie in May. Notes on Grief will expand Adichie’s essay for the New Yorker about grieving the death of her father. (Publishers Weekly)

“My interest in writing isn’t always to be right; it is to find a better path to figuring out where my wrongness stems from. I want to grow in my wrongness, and that doesn’t always mean being right at the end of growing.” Hanif Abdurraqib on what he reaches for in writing. (Creative Independent)

Elizabeth A. Harris reports on the increased prevalence of morals clauses in book contracts that allow publishers to exit a book deal if its author’s reputation plummets. (New York Times)

“It’s hard to get the right amount of vulnerability without succumbing to the temptation for a big tearful lesson, but that’s what I wanted—a realistic treatment of vulnerability and pride as they actually manifest.” Lauren Oyler talks with Mary South about her new novel, Fake Accounts. (BOMB)