World’s First Door-to-Door Poet, Ferrante’s Bad Book Covers, 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:

Meet Rowan McCabe, self-labeled as the “world’s first door-to-door poet.” Based in Britain, McCabe is “usually found on the streets of Newcastle-upon-Tyne, writing bespoke verse for whoever happens to answer the buzzer when he calls.” (Guardian)

“There isn’t really a canon, which means if you are Asian American and writing, you’re automatically adding to it. Once I realized this, I became extremely protective of my writing…. I didn’t want to clutter my head with ideas and advice from people whose only interactions with Asian American writing were limited to, say, Amy Tan and Jhumpa Lahiri.” Fiction writer Karan Mahajan speaks with poet Jenny Zhang and fiction writer Tanwi Nandini Islam, two examples of the “new generation of Asian American writers” whose powerful work challenges and subverts the marginalization of the Asian American experience. (VICE)

David Bellos, a judge for the 2016 Man Booker International Prize for Fiction, analyzes the geographic distribution of this year’s submissions

The covers of Elena Ferrante’s best-selling Neapolitan novels have been described as “utterly hideous,” and have been met with much public scorn. While many readers feel that the “chick-lit” designs—marked by pastel images of women in wedding gowns and children by the sea—undermine Ferrante’s work, one writer suggests that there is value in their “unapologetic” depictions of domesticity. (Atlantic)

The Millions has released its preview of the most anticipated books for the second half of 2016.

Geoffrey Hill, considered by many to be Britain’s greatest living poet, died June 30 at age eighty-four. The author of more than twenty volumes of poetry, Hill held the esteemed professor of poetry position at Oxford University from 2010 to 2015. (Washington Post)

In true science fiction fashion, it appears that author Octavia Butler predicted presidential candidate Donald Trump’s trademarked campaign slogan, “Make America great again,” in her 1998 dystopian novel Parable of the Talents. In the book, the presidential candidate Andrew Steele Jarret is described as a charismatic yet dangerous figure whose campaign approach includes the phrases, “Leave your sinful past behind, and become one of us. Help us to make America great again.” (Fusion)