Walt Whitman’s Democratic Message, 2Pac Poetry Competition, 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.

“At a time when Americans hate one another across partisan lines as intensely perhaps as they have since the Civil War, Whitman’s message is that hate is not compatible with true democracy, spiritual democracy.” Two hundred years after the poet’s birth, Mark Edmundson considers Walt Whitman’s lessons in hope. (Atlantic)

The estate of Tupac Shakur has launched the Tupac Poetry Month Competition, which invites fans to submit poems about the ways the artist inspired them. (Complex)

“Everyone was telling me that becoming a mother would take away that existential drive to make work—but it was the opposite. I have never felt more full of life and death, and it made me become reborn as a writer, through the joy, and the suffering.” At the Paris Review, novelist and nonfiction author Kate Zambreno talks with Sarah Manguso about writing postpartum and her new nonfiction book, Appendix Project.

Poets & Writers has awarded this year’s Jackson Poetry Prize to Joy Harjo, the author of ten poetry collections and an award-winning memoir. The annual $65,000 prize honors an American poet of exceptional talent who deserves wider recognition.

Best-selling novelist Nora Roberts has sued Brazilian romance writer Cristiane Serruya for copyright infringement, joining dozens of other authors who have made similar accusations. (New York Times)

A week after publishing Hesh Kestin’s novel The Siege of Tel AvivDzanc Books has reverted the rights to the author and announced it will not print additional copies of the book, which many have criticized as Islamophobic. (Publishers Weekly) 

“Like most writers, I don’t educate myself sequentially, but more like a hawk or eagle always circling and finding things that might have been overlooked.” In the latest installment of By the Book, poet and essayist Gary Snyder is inspired by rediscovering the poetry of Basil Bunting and Bei Dao. (New York Times)

An adaptation of Joseph Heller’s 1961 novel, Catch-22, is set to premiere on Hulu on May 17. Director George Clooney and actor Christopher Abbott spoke to Variety about taking on the famous novel—and flirting with “ghosts of flops past.”