Writing Through Grief, the World’s Most Sought-After Printer, 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:

“But writing was like placing my hand on the earth. It wasn’t comfortable. It was more like living with the steady companion of my life: making things out of experience.” Elizabeth Alexander and Sheryl Sandberg talk about grieving the death of their husbands, raising their young children alone, and writing memoirs about these hardships. (New York Times)

At the Guardian, Alex Preston suggests that the resurgence of the print book—in 2016 e-book sales fell 17 percent while print book sales rose 8 percent in the United Kingdom—is due to publishers spending more money and attention on book production. Preston likens the recent spate of beautifully designed books to the intricate and colorful manuscripts made in the fifteenth century in reaction to the invention of Gutenberg’s printing press.

Speaking of printing, the New Yorker profiles Gerhard Steidl, the world’s most sought-after printer whose operation has been called the “haute couture of printing” and who has printed the work of artists as exacting and influential as Günter Grass and Karl Lagerfeld.

“Oftentimes we’re depicted as being ‘noble savages,’ [being at] one with nature and all that shit. It’s dangerous to me because then we become features of the landscape, not human beings, things to be cleared and removed. I wanted to write against these stereotypes…” Poet Tommy Pico talks about upending stereotypes of Native Americans in his new poetry collection, Nature Poem, published last week by Tin House Books. (Nylon)

Last Wednesday the Wisconsin legislature approved a resolution to make May 12 Lorine Niedecker Day. Niedecker, an influential poet of the Objectivist movement in the 1930s, spent much of her life in Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin. (Daily Union)

“Without a shared sense of reality, a writer cannot create tension; there are no stakes, no rules understood by the reader.” Thriller writer John Altman argues against the notion that fiction is writing itself under the Trump presidency, and considers the challenges fiction writers face in depicting current events. (Los Angeles Times)

The South China Morning Post examines how Chinese women writers are revolutionizing science fiction and garnering more attention both in China and abroad. In the past two years, Liu Cixin and Hao Jingfang, two Chinese women writers, have sold millions of books and won Hugo Awards.

“When does a war end? When can I say your name and have it mean only your name and not what you left behind?” Poet Ocean Vuong writes a letter to his mother. (New Yorker)