Culture & Literature
Poets & Writers Magazine

Poets & Writers Magazine July - August 2017

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

LITERARY AGENT ERIC SIMONOFF SAID SOMETHING NEARLY five years ago that I still think about often. As part of our Agents & Editors series of interviews, he spoke with editor Michael Szczerban about his role at William Morris Endeavor as well as his take on various aspects of the publishing industry, including the typical writer’s impression of what goes on behind the scenes. “The writer who’s outside of the business views [it] as this fortress designed to keep him or her out,” he said. “And in fact, what I see is an industry in which we want nothing more than to discover an amazing new voice. Who wouldn’t?” I remembered Simonoff’s words recently while talking to a writer at a literary festival I had the privilege of attending. The writer had…

3 min.

GRATEFUL FOR MS. BROOKS As a thirty-plus-year subscriber to Poets & Writers Magazine, I have relished all the issues but have never written a letter to the editor. That changed as I devoured every word of Major Jackson’s “Anatomy of a Pulitzer Prize Letter” (May/June 2017). Poet Gwendolyn Brooks, the subject of the piece, was an occasional instructor at Chicago Teachers College–North, where I attended in the mid-1960s. I was lucky enough to be her student in the only creative writing class offered there at the time. I believe that every one of us in the class valued the experience; we were in awe of Brooks as a teacher and a writer. She was encouraging, nurturing, and generous. We once requested that she read a poem of her own, and I…

4 min.
whitman, alabama

Filmmaker Jennifer Crandall first visited Alabama in 2013 on a short-term assignment for Alabama Media Group, a digital media company that produces television and video programming and publishes three of the most prominent newspapers in the state. Though she was living in Amsterdam at the time, Crandall was so inspired by Alabama that she moved to Birmingham, became the company’s first artist-in-residence, and began developing a documentary project that would showcase the state’s citizens. But rather than use a traditional interview format, Crandall decided to center her project around Walt Whitman’s iconic 1855 poem “Song of Myself” for its celebration of American identity. She has since spent the past two years traveling throughout Alabama, filming people reading from the poem. The resulting series, Whitman, Alabama, captures the spirit of the…

1 min.

MAYA C. POPA is a writer and teacher based in New York City. She is the author of the poetry chapbook The Bees Have Been Canceled (New Michigan Press, 2017). Her website is www.mayacpopa .com. 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). TARA JAYAKAR is the founder and editor of Raptor Editing. She lives in New York City. DANA ISOKAWA is the associate editor of Poets & Writers Magazine. JENNIFER BAKER is a publishing professional, the creator and host of the Minorities in Publishing podcast, the panel organizer for the nonprofit We Need Diverse Books, and the social media director and a writing instructor for Sackett Street Writers’ Workshop. She is the editor of the forthcoming…

3 min.
page one

“Every body has a story and a history.” Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body (Harper, June 2017) by Roxane Gay. Fifth book, first memoir. Agent: Maria Massie. Editor: Emily Griffin. Publicists: Kate D’Esmond and Amanda Pelletier. “In a coffee shop on Dead Elm Street, Norma arranges chicken bones on her plate, making an arrow that points to her stomach, where the chicken now resides.” The Dark Dark (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, July 2017) by Samantha Hunt. Fourth book, first story collection. Agent: PJ Mark. Editor: Jenna Johnson. Publicist: Brian Gittis. “Summer boredom flutters its / sticky wings.” Lessons on Expulsion (Graywolf Press, July 2017) by Erika L. Sánchez. First book, poetry collection. Agent: None. Editor: Jeff Shotts. Publicist: Caroline Nitz. “Before that summer of ’92, when the gypsy moths swarmed Avalon Island and…

4 min.
video games redefine the classics

Tracy Fullerton, a gamedesigner at the University of Southern California (USC), has felt a connection to Henry David Thoreau’s Walden ever since her father gave her a copy of the book when she was a kid. After rereading it during a stressful time in her life, Fullerton was inspired by Thoreau’s meditations in the novel—namely, how to meet our basic needs, refresh our souls, and connect with nature. “That spoke to me as a game designer,” she says. “I wanted to make a virtual experiment out of it.” Walden, a Game began to take shape. After ten years of development, the game is now nearing completion and is set for release later this year, to coincide with the bicentennial of Thoreau’s birth on July 12. In the game, players take on…