Ayana Mathis tells Salon what it was like to receive a career-changing phone call from Oprah Winfrey; critic Dwight Garner tours literary Manhattan; Graywolf Press will publish the first full-length poetry collection by actor James Franco; and other news.
Edgar Allan Poe's historic home in Baltimore has been vandalized; author Wanda Coleman has been hospitalized, and is asking for assistance; Jackson Prize-winning poet Henri Cole's dispatch from Paris; and other news.
As we recover from the destruction of Hurricane Sandy, GalleyCat lists a few opportunities to volunteer; James McGirk looks at literature of the right-wing; thirteen tips to combat writer’s block; and other news.
Tips for building your National Novel Writing Month survival kit; Barnes & Noble's founder, Leonard Riggio, intends to build and furnish one hundred homes in New Orleans; young Eudora Welty's failed attempt at landing a job at the New Yorker; and other news.
A technology company intends to create a Spotify-like service for books; David Letterman's production company Worldwide Pants has purchased film rights to Jonathan Evison's The Revised Fundamentals of Caregiving; Alexander Chee lists twenty-one lies writers tell themselves; and other news.
Elizabeth Alexander's new collection, Antebellum Dream Book, deals with the image of the body, a theme she visits often in her previous works. "If you let a body speak," she says, "it gives you access to all sorts of concrete sensations that are vital, the stuff of poetry, the way a poem convinces." In this interview with Natasha Trethewey, Alexander speaks to her use of race, urban life, history, and of course, the body.
Ethiopian exile Nega Mezlekia's memoir, Notes From the Hyena's Belly, details his remarkable boyhood in Jijiga, a city in the eastern part of the Horn of Africa built on a "dry, sandless desert where even the smallest wind creates devils—whirlwinds of dust that rise high into the heavens and are visible from miles away."
Author Carleen Brice recommends titles in honor of National Buy a Book by a Black Author and Give It to Somebody Not Black Month, the book-buying campaign she launched last year to heighten awareness of black authors who aren't as famous as Toni Morrison, Alice Walker, and Colson Whitehead.