Viet Thanh Nguyen on War, Poets Read at Fashion 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:

“People might like to think the war is done when a ceasefire is signed, but for most people who live through a war, it goes on for decades.” NPR interviews Viet Thanh Nguyen about his experiences growing up as a Vietnamese refugee in California in the 1980s and his latest story collection, The Refugees, which came out last week from Grove Press.

On Sunday, four poets—Dorothea Lasky, Aja Monet, Leslie Reese, and Jenny Zhang—read poetry at fashion designer Tracy Reese’s show during New York fashion week. (Associated Press)

“We tell our students to study literature because it will make them better human beings, that in our classrooms they will learn empathy and wisdom, thoughtfulness and understanding. And yet the institutions supporting literary criticism are callous and morally incoherent.” The Chronicle of Higher Education has published Kevin Birmingham’s speech in October upon winning the University of Iowa’s $30,000 Truman Capote Award. Birmingham argues that academia exploits the labor of aspiring scholars and restricts the imagination and independence of their work. 

In the latest installment of Bookends, Charles McGrath and Siddhartha Deb tussle over which dystopian novel—Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World or George Orwell’s 1984—best reflects the current times. (New York Times

Amazon will open a brick-and-mortar bookstore in Walnut Creek in the California Bay Area. (San Francisco Chronicle)

“You leave me / not dead but perpetually dying.” Bustle rounds up ten anti-love poems for Valentine’s Day. Meanwhile, over at the New Yorker Deborah Treisman collects some of the magazine’s best love stories while John Kenney offers a few humorous love poems for married people.

Speaking of love, Eva Green and Gemma Arterton are set to star in the upcoming film Vita & Virginia, about the love affair between modernist author Virginia Woolf and socialite and writer Vita Sackville-West. (Variety)