Yale Receives Grant for Poetry Chair, Contest Judge on Poetry's "Irrelevance," 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:

Yale University recently received five million dollars from alumnus Frederick Iseman to establish the school’s first chair in poetry. The funds will also expand students’ online access to broadcasts from the Metropolitan Opera in New York City. (New York Times)

After judging this year’s Forward Prize for Poetry, British television journalist Jeremy Paxman stated that poetry has “connived at its own irrelevance,” suggesting that contemporary poets have stopped talking to the public and instead address only each other in their work. (Guardian)

Seven months after the Illinois Supreme Court nullified the state’s sales tax, or “Amazon tax,” on Internet purchases, legislators have proposed a revised bill calling for new taxes on Internet retailers. (Crain’s Chicago Business)

As Librarian of Congress James Billington prepares to nominate a new poet laureate for the United States, members of the nonprofit organization Split This Rock have penned an open letter to Billington, calling for a person of color to be appointed to the position. The signatories note that only two writers of color, including outgoing poet laureate Natasha Trethewey, have been appointed to the position, and the post has yet to be filled by an Asian American, Latino, or Native American poet. (Harriet)

Meanwhile, the state of Washington has appointed Elizabeth Austen as the third poet laureate in the state’s history. Austen will serve in the position until 2016. (Seattle Times)

Five years after its founding in 2009, Electric Literature has launched a redesigned website and has announced both the appointment of a new online editor and the official abandonment of the journal's print edition. (Los Angeles Times)

Two Texas women who claim to have been part of the original publishing team behind best-seller Fifty Shades of Grey are suing Amanda Hayward and her publishing company, the Writers Coffee Shop, for terminating them to avoid sharing profits.  

The Millions examines the history of independent publisher Soho Press.