Writers on the Election, Whitman’s Descendants, 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:

As millions of Americans rush to the polls today, Publishers Weekly rounds up thoughts on the 2016 election from a number of writers across the globe, including poet Eileen Myles, nonfiction writer Rebecca Solnit, fiction writer Chigozie Obioma, and Nobel laureate Wole Soyinka.

Photographer B. A. Van Sise—a descendant of Walt Whitman’s older sister and first cousin—has created a portrait series documenting “the heart of American poetry today, one that bears an urgent connection to Whitman and the issues of the day.” The series, Whitman’s Descendants, features portraits of living American poets in images inspired by their poems. Poets include Gregory Pardlo, Aimee Nezhukumatathil, Kim Addonizio, and Kaveh Akbar, among others. (PBS NewsHour)

Little Free Library is celebrating a big milestone: the installation of its fifty-thousandth free book exchange, which has been placed at the Illumination Foundation, a homeless shelter in Santa Ana, California.

Computer scientists in Japan have developed a machine that is able to determine a book’s genre based on visual clues provided by its cover. The researchers’ work could help cover designers improve their skills, but could also potentially lead to training machines to design book covers “without the need for human input.” (MIT Technology Review)

“Poetry is where I go to play, but also where I seek solace.” A. E. Stallings writes about the pleasures and complications of being a poet. “If you want to shut the conversation down,” Stallings says—at a cocktail party, for instance—“you can always say you’re a poet.” (Times Literary Supplement)

Fiction and nonfiction writer Esmé Weijun Wang discusses her debut novel, The Border of Paradise, as well as the creative process, the idea of legacy, and the importance of mental health awareness. (Rumpus)

The Los Angeles Review of Books features poet Jim Harrison’s last interview, which took place two months before his death in March. Harrison talks about his fourteenth poetry collection, Dead Man’s Float, and his twenty-first book of fiction, The Ancient Minstrel.