Culture & Literature
Poets & Writers Magazine

Poets & Writers Magazine November - December 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

SINCE ITS LAUNCH IN 2006, THE BROOKLYN BOOK FESTIVAL has grown into one of the country’s premier literary events. Held on a Sunday in September at Brooklyn Borough Hall and surrounding venues, the festival attracts some of the biggest names in contemporary literature. (Margaret Atwood and Salman Rushdie were among this year’s headliners.) But the readings and panels aren’t confined to the festival’s main stages; clubs, parks, bookstores, theaters, and libraries across the borough host a weeklong series of film screenings, parties, and author appearances. It was at one of these so-called Bookend events this year that I had the pleasure of talking again with Eric Obenauf, the editorial director of Two Dollar Radio, an independent press based in Columbus, Ohio. Obenauf had organized a conversation between novelists Masande Ntshanga…

6 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. DEAR PRESIDENT At the outset of “Dear President: A Message for the Next Commander in Chief From Fifty American Poets and Writers” (September/October 2016), you declared: “It turns out something pretty great happens when you ask writers to convey, without a lot of political grandstanding, what is most important to them. The contours of some of America’s biggest issues...start to come into sharper focus, the collective discourse rises above the rhetoric of political pundits, and the pomp and circumstance of the political process falls…

5 min.
lit mag gives voice to homeless

Every Tuesday morning, twenty to thirty writers gather in a meeting room in the basement of the Cathedral Church of St. Paul on Tremont Street in Boston. Each member of the Black Seed Writers Group gets a pen and a yellow legal pad and, after catching up with one another, sits down and gets to work. The writing they produce will eventually fill the pages of the Pilgrim, a literary magazine celebrating its fifth anniversary this December. The Pilgrim looks like just about any of the small literary magazines lining the shelves of local bookstores and cafés, but it is different in one major respect: Its contributors are all part of Boston’s homeless community. The Pilgrim is the brainchild of James Parker, a contributing editor and cultural columnist for the Atlantic.…

1 min.

ADRIENNE RAPHEL is the author of What Was It For (Rescue Press, 2017) and But What Will We Do (Seattle Review, 2016). Her work has appeared in the New Yorker, Paris Review Daily, Poetry, Lana Turner Journal, Prelude, and elsewhere. She is a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and a doctoral candidate at Harvard University. MAYA C. POPA is a writer and teacher based in New York City. Her website is www.mayacpopa.com. CHRISTINE KOUBEK is a teacher and writer whose work has appeared in the Washington Post; Bethesda; Brain, Child; and Coastal Living, among many others. She received her MFA from Fairfield University. Her website is www.christinekoubek.com DANA ISOKAWA is the associate editor of Poets & Writers Magazine.…

2 min.
page one

“It was the first day of my humiliation.”Swing Time (Penguin Press, November 2016) by Zadie Smith. Sixth book, fifth novel. Agent: Georgia Garrett. Editors: Ann Godoff and Simon Prosser. Publicist: Juliana Kiyan. “In the old joke, / the marriage counselor / tells the couple who never talks anymore / to go to a jazz club because at a jazz club / everyone talks during the bass solo.”The Rain in Portugal(Random House, October 2016) by Billy Collins. Eleventh book, poetry collection. Agent: Chris Calhoun. Editor: Andrea Walker. Publicist: Barbara Fillon. “What should I do with my life? my notebook from 2005 reads.”I’ll Tell You in Person (Emily Books, October 2016) by Chloe Caldwell. Third book, second essay collection. Agent: Chelsea Lindman. Editor: Emily Gould. Publicist: Alyson Sinclair. “This is the last barricade, firebreak, red…

4 min.
the shakespeare sonnet project

In 2013 actor and director Ross Williams, founder of the nonprofit New York Shakespeare Exchange, set out to film all 154 of Shakespeare’s sonnets, each performed by a different actor in a New York City location. After raising nearly $50,000 through a Kickstarter campaign, filming began. The original deadline was Shakespeare’s 450th birthday (April 23, 2014), but the project’s aim—to merge the literary and visual arts, and bring the poetry of William Shakespeare to the poetry of New York City—quickly proved more ambitious than expected. As Williams and his team—made up of producers, a copy writer, and text coaches—began to film the sonnets, it became clear that the project transcended a mere collection of recitations. Each video became an artistic object in its own right. “This project is unlike any I…