United States Artists Fellows, Poetry Magazine Draws Criticism, and More

by Staff

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.

Sixty artists have been selected by United States Artists to receive unrestricted grants of $50,000. The fellowship recipients for writing are Alexander Chee, Honorée Fanonne Jeffers, Eve L. Ewing, Elizabeth McCracken, Dunya Mikhail, Danez Smith, Ocean Vuong, and Natalia Y. Moore. Announcing the cohort, the organization wrote, “Each artist demonstrates generosity and care toward field-building that continues to inspire and propel their discipline.”

Members of the literary community have criticized Poetry for featuring a poem by a known sex offender, who was prosecuted for possession and distribution of child pornography. The poem appeared in the February issue of the journal, which was conceived to highlight work by “currently and formerly incarcerated people, their families, and the artists, poets, and teachers who work in carceral spaces.” Responding to one user’s tweet about the controversy, Poetry wrote, “People in prison have been sentenced & are serving/have served those sentences; it is not our role to further judge or punish them as a result of their criminal convictions.” The organization also noted that the issue’s guest editors—Joshua Bennett, Tara Betts, and Sarah Ross—“didn’t have knowledge of contributors’ backgrounds.” Many users have since called out the response as insufficient.

“It’s difficult for your brain to focus on a book when it’s constantly scanning for threats so it can keep you alive.” Elizabeth Bernstein shares tips on how to keep reading during the pandemic. (Wall Street Journal)

“I’m not interested in demolition for demolition’s sake. I want to build something.” At the New York Times Magazine, Rachel Poser profiles Dan-el Padilla Peralta, a Princeton professor scrutinizing whiteness and racism in the field of classics.

Danielle Evans names seven books that were essential to the writing of her latest story collection, The Office of Historical Corrections. (Strategist)

“While I sketch, I sit in silence, like a weirdo.” Amy Kurzweil explains how she crafts her literary cartoons. (New Yorker)

Marshall University is sponsoring the installation of Little Free Libraries in two West Virginia airports. (Literary Hub)