Culture & Literature
Poets & Writers Magazine

Poets & Writers Magazine January - February 2016

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.

United States
Poets & Writers, Inc
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6 Issues

In this issue

2 min.
editor’s note

THE COMPONENTS OF HOPEFUL LIVES DURING THE FINAL WEEKS OF PRODUCTION ON THIS, OUR seventh annual Inspiration Issue, as I and the other editors carefully prodded and polished these articles, then relished the themes that emerged—some gently pulled to the surface through the process of revision, others rising unbidden from the quiet spaces between each author’s words—it was impossible (and it would have been unconscionable) to ignore the violence erupting in Paris; in Raqqa, Syria; in Bamako, Mali; and in so many other places far and near. These bloody scenes inspired nothing but anger, fear, and distrust. But here we were—the staff and contributors to this magazine, in our homes and offices located all across the country; in New York City and San Francisco; Iowa City and Saint Louis; Minneapolis and…

3 min.

Poets & Writers Magazine welcomes feedback from its readers. Please post a comment on select articles at www.pw.org/magazine, e-mail editor@pw.org, or write to Editor, Poets & Writers Magazine, 90 Broad Street, Suite 2100, New York, NY 10004. Letters accepted for publication may be edited for clarity and length. THE BEST REJECTION I thoroughly enjoyed Michael Szczerban’s interview with Michael Wiegers, editor in chief of Copper Canyon Press (Agents & Editors, November/December 2015). Wiegers’s astute vision for the press will help it continue to be a leader in quality poetry publishing. In 2013, when I submitted my manuscript, “Palimpsest,” for consideration to Copper Canyon, I received the best rejection letter! The response commended my writing style, clearly stated the reason why they couldn’t publish the manuscript, and gave me confidence that it would be…

5 min.
calling ishmael

A phone rings, but it's not the one in your pocket; you realize the sound is coming from an old-school rotary pay phone in a corner of your favorite bookstore. You look around. It's just you and this softly ringing relic of a bygone era. You pick up the phone. "Hello?" you say. "Ishmael, what's going on, man?" a smooth-talking stranger says on the other end. "I just wanted to tell you a little bit about my experience with The Catcher in the Rye." Welcome to Call Me Ishmael, perhaps the most celebrated opening sentence in literary history and now an innovative and irresistible new tool for discovering books and sharing stories about them. The project began in 2014, when founders Logan Smalley and Stephanie Kent were exchanging favorite opening lines…

1 min.

ANDREW MCFADYEN-KETCHUM is a poet, an editor, and a lecturer at the University of Colorado in Boulder. He is the author of a poetry collection, Ghost Gear (University of Arkansas Press, 2014). His website is andrewmk.com. ARVIN TEMKAR is a writer in San Francisco and an editor for Hyphen, a magazine of Asian American news and culture. Follow him on Twitter, @atemkar. RACHAEL HANEL is the author of We’ll Be the Last Ones to Let You Down: Memoir of a Gravedigger’s Daughter (University of Minnesota Press, 2013). TRAVIS KUROWSKI is the editor of Paper Dreams: Writers and Editors on the American Literary Magazine (Atticus Books, 2013). His website is traviskurowski.com. CAT RICHARDSON is the managing editor of Bodega Magazine and a poetry editor at Phantom Books. Her work has appeared in Four Way Review,…

3 min.
page one

Where New And Noteworthy Books Begin “There was a time, and it was many years ago now, when I had to stay in a hospital for almost nine weeks.”My Name Is Lucy Barton (Random House, January 2016) by Elizabeth Strout. Fifth book, novel. Agent: Molly Friedrich. Editor: Susan Kamil. Publicist: Maria Braeckel. “I follow him in the trees // not realistic but real / the fleeting pressures of // one creating silence [listening closely to the silence]”Daryl Hall Is My Boyfriend (Barrelhouse Books, December 2015) by Erica Lewis. Fourth book, poetry collection. Agent: None. Editor: Dan Brady. Publicist: Dan Brady. “This is what I am trying to say: I was in no condition to have paid closer attention to plot development.”Fake Missed Connections: Divorce, Online Dating, and Other Failures (Soft Skull Press, January…

4 min.
aaww continues the conversation

Sir Patrick Hill. Emily Nichol son. K at ie Trump. These are just a few of the names created using the tongue-in-cheek #WhitePenName Generator, a website launched by the Asian American Writers’ Workshop (AAWW) last fall. The generator, meant to spotlight the advantages that come with a Caucasian-sounding name, was born in the wake of September’s literary scandal surrounding white poet Michael Derrick Hudson, who, after having a poem rejected by forty journals, adopted the Chinese pseudonym Yi-Fen Chou in an attempt to have a better shot at publication. He revealed himself after landing a coveted spot under the pseudonym in The Best American Poetry 2015. The outcry that followed created an opportunity for conversation about racial inequality in publishing, says AAWW executive director Ken Chen. Celebrating its twenty-fifth anniversary this…