Yoko Ogawa’s Dystopia, Martín Espada on the Poet’s Power, and More


Every day Poets & Writers Magazine scans the headlines—publishing reports, literary dispatches, academic announcements, and more—for all the news that creative writers need to know. Here are today’s stories.

“We accept too passively, I think, our diminished place in the shadows of the society. We truly have the power to move people, to change hearts and minds. It sounds cliché but it’s true.” Martín Espada talks about the poet’s power, elegies, and the process of writing and revising his poem for Donald Hall. (Guernica)

“I see a rainbow that I have to climb over to move to the next scene. That’s how I write.” The New York Times profiles best-selling Japanese writer Yoko Ogawa, whose 1994 dystopian novel, The Memory Police, will be published in English this week.

Poet Justin Phillip Reed asks: “Is the sonnet the most humanizing poetic form in the English literary tradition?” (Poetry Foundation)

Publishers Weekly goes behind the scenes with the Chunky Monkeys and the Book Squad, two writing groups in Boston whose members have written twelve forthcoming or published titles since the groups formed. Members include Celeste Ng, Christopher Castellani, and Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich.

In 1938, John Steinbeck wrote The Grapes of Wrath in one hundred days, producing ten thousand words per week. The Guardian looks at the years the famous author spent reporting and writing about migrant workers before penning the classic novel.

“Prose is always what attracts me, plot almost never. I’m one of those people who really doesn’t care what happens in books I’m reading, only how things happen.” Kimberly King Parsons talks about her love of sentences, her writing routine, and her story collection, Black Light, which is out today from Knopf.  (BOMB)

For more of Parsons’s thoughts on craft, read her series of Craft Capsules, which includes micro essays about looking for inspiration, writing in longhand, ordering a story collection, and more. (Poets & Writers)

“Has there been a great artist as funny?” At Bookforum, Ed Park pays tribute to poet and songwriter David Berman, who died last week. At the New Yorker, Amanda Petrusich remembers meeting Berman for the first time. “Berman was thrilling to talk to—loquacious and weird. A ten-word question might generate several paragraphs of rumination. Language just seemed to come so easily to him.”