Write What You Don't Know, New York Is King of the Literary Union, and More

Evan Smith Rakoff

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:

"Has Haruki Murakami ever constructed a flute from the souls of cats? Yes, Flannery O’Connor limped, but did she ever lose a wooden leg to a huckster Bible salesman?" An essay in the Atlantic argues why writers shouldn’t mine material they are intimately familiar with, but instead, should write what they don’t know.

Herman Melville’s 192nd birthday is today, and William Hurt and Ethan Hawke celebrate it by starring in a new adaptation of Moby Dick. (New York Post)

The New York Times examines that simple question that has been “infuriating poets for eons”: What is your poem about?

Which famous writer's favorite food was canned meat and apples? What literary luminary indulged in vinegar? The New York Times reveals "Snacks of the Great Scribblers" via virtual illustration.

Dallas-based Half Price Books has offered to hire newly laid-off Borders employees. (Pegasus News)

The folks over at PWxyz ponder which American state has the greatest literary legacy. From Harper Lee in Alabama to C. J. Box in Wyoming, “a bottom-of-the-barrel state for writers,” here’s the list.

Research by Pete Robinson, founder of the Museum of British Surfing, suggests that famed crime writer Agatha Christie and her husband—who at the time were on a goodwill tour after World War I—were some of the first people from England to stand up on a surfboard. (Guardian)