Trump Renews Call to Eliminate NEA and NEH, Barnes and Noble Layoffs, 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:

The Trump administration has again called for the elimination of the National Endowments for the Arts and Humanities in its budget proposal for fiscal year 2019, which it released yesterday. The annual budget for each endowment is around $150 million. (Washington Post)

Last year the Trump administration also tried to eliminate the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA); nine writers wrote in response about the life-changing support of an NEA fellowship for Poets & Writers Magazine.

After poor holiday sales, Barnes & Noble has laid off an undisclosed number of employees; the company is revising its labor model to save $40 million annually. (CNBC)

The American Library Association awarded the Newbery Medal for outstanding contribution to children’s literature to Erin Entrada Kelly for her novel Hello, Universe. The Caldecott Medal for most distinguished American picture book for children was given to Matthew Cordell for Wolf in the Snow. (NPR)

Bay Area activists are calling for bookstores to cancel readings by Francisco Cantú, a former U.S. Border Patrol agent, arguing that his memoir, The Line Becomes a River, romanticizes the Border Patrol. Cantú responded on Twitter, “To be clear: during my years as a BP agent, I was complicit in perpetuating institutional violence and flawed, deadly policy. My book is about acknowledging that, it’s about thinking through the ways we normalize violence and dehumanize migrants as individuals and as a society.” (SFGate)

Last week the Washington Post launched what it calls the “most comprehensive Best-Selling Books list,” which will use subscription e-book data from Amazon to determine its fiction and nonfiction best-seller lists.

In light of the #MeToo movement, the New Yorker reads Ovid’s Metamorphoses, a text “whose teeming chaos evokes the uncertain, shape-shifting mood of a country—a world—that is reimagining its sexual mores.”

Jeff Gordinier reviews Ferlinghetti’s Greatest Poems, released by New Directions last November, and examines the legacy of Ferlinghetti, who is ninety-nine, as “publisher, patron of the arts, and free-speech pioneer.” (New York Times)

Poet Rajiv Mohabir talks with the Rumpus about translation, the messiness of memory, and his most recent collection, The Cowherd’s Son