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Culture & Literature
Poets & Writers Magazine

Poets & Writers Magazine September/October 2019

For more than twenty years, Poets & Writers Magazine has been a trusted companion to writers who take their vocation seriously. Within its pages, our readers find provocative essays on the literary life, practical guidance for getting published and pursuing writing careers, in-depth profiles of poets, fiction writers, and writers of creative nonfiction, and conversation among fellow professionals.

Country:
United States
Language:
English
Publisher:
Poets & Writers, Inc
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6 Issues

in this issue

2 min.
editor’s note

A GOOD DAY I WAS SUPPOSED TO BE WRITING. PUT THAT ON MY HEADSTONE. There was this editor’s note, my remarks for an upcoming Poets & Writers Live event, thoughtful replies to the 117 e-mails I received a day earlier, a chapter about working with editors for the book my wife and I are writing together, the letter of recommendation for a former colleague, and more—so of course I was fixing my porch. In my defense, the porch project had already been on hold for six months because of inclement weather (which is both a meteorological reference and an indication of my state of mind during the long winter), and to say that the wood at the corner of my porch was unsightly—exposed to the elements, as it was, for more…

3 min.
reactions

LETTERS Feedback from readers Back in the day, I used to subscribe to a teen magazine, and when it came I would hug it to my chest, run inside, and read it cover to cover. Now, as a grown-up writer, I do the same with Poets & Writers Magazine. The July/August 2019 issue spoke to me in every way. I always love the column Page One: Where New and Noteworthy Books Begin, and “First Fiction 2019” was enlightening and inspiring, but it was the cleverness and fabulous writing—and insight—of “Four Lunches and a Breakfast: What I Learned About the Book Business While Breaking Bread With Five Hungry Agents” by Kevin Larimer that undid me. I’m in the process of querying agents, and this article is exactly what I needed. Plus, now, after…

5 min.
merwin’s garden

On the northern coast of the Hawai’ian island Maui, off a road leading down to the cliffs above the shore, a lush forest grows. Mango trees covered in vines stand next to palms as tall as eighty feet, while heliconia and hibiscus grow far beneath the canopy. Palm fronds and ferns wave in the air. The grounds are shady and quiet. And in the middle of the garden sits a two-story wooden house filled with books, the home of poet W. S. Merwin, who until his death at the age of ninety-one on March 15, tended to the thousands of palms and plants growing on the surrounding nineteen acres. Merwin lived in the garden, which includes one of the world’s finest collections of palms, for more than forty years. In December…

4 min.
furious flower grows in virginia

In 1994 Joanne Gabbin, an English professor at James Madison University (JMU), organized a conference to celebrate Pulitzer Prize–winning poet Gwendolyn Brooks and African American poetics. Hundreds of people came out to hear Brooks and more than thirty writers and scholars, including Amiri Baraka, Toi Derricotte, E. Ethelbert Miller, and Sonia Sanchez, read and discuss poetry. It was a landmark event for the community, “the seeding place of what is happening today in Black poetry,” says poet Lauren K. Alleyne. The seed of that conference grew into the Furious Flower Poetry Center, the first academic center in the United States devoted to Black poetry. Located at JMU in Harrisonburg, Virginia, and led by Gabbin and Alleyne, the center is dedicated to teaching, celebrating, and preserving Black poetry as an important part…

5 min.
the future of barnes & noble

Can James Daunt save Barnes & Noble? This is the question on the minds of publishing insiders in the wake of news earlier this summer that a hedge fund had bought Barnes & Noble for $683 million and installed Daunt, who oversaw the successful turnaround of the British book chain Waterstones, as the new CEO of the largest surviving bookstore chain in the United States. Daunt will certainly have his work cut out for him. Facing withering competition from the online retailer Amazon as well as from newly resurgent independent bookstores, Barnes & Noble has shuttered 150 stores over the past decade—at its peak, in 2008, the chain operated 726 stores nationwide—and seen its stock price plummet from $30 a share in 2006 to just $4 a share before it was…

1 min.
small press points

As the founding editor of the Cincinnati Review, Nicola Mason has a strong track record of spotting talented writers early in their careers. Under her leadership the review published the early work of fiction writers Caitlin Horrocks and Jamie Quatro and poets Jill Osier and Mai Der Vang. As Mason explained to Cincinnati magazine in June, after watching these writers and other contributors go on to win prestigious prizes and publish books, she thought, “We’re becoming talent scouts for everyone else; why can’t we become talent scouts for ourselves?” So in 2017 Mason founded Acre Books (acre-books.com), an imprint of the University of Cincinnati Press, where, along with poetry series editor Lisa Ampleman, she publishes two poetry collections, two novels, and two story collections each year. The press also welcomes…