Culture & Literature
Poets & Writers Magazine

Poets & Writers Magazine November - December 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

THE WRITERS I HAVE THE PRIVILEGE OF TALKING WITH these days have one thing in common: They are all incredibly busy. I believe the most precious gift one could offer a creative person is time: unscheduled, unencumbered, unhurried time. But when I hear how busy writers are—when I see the work they’re doing, and I feel the level of engagement and the urgency that it represents, and I understand the extent to which writers are pushing themselves to create art, to express themselves, and to make meaning out of the mess, and the occasional miracle, that is happening all around us—my first reaction is not to bemoan the absence of wide-open time for our creative writers. Mostly I feel a profound sense of pride. I am reminded that there is…

3 min.

CONSIDER MORE NOVELLAS Thank you for Douglas Trevor’s article “Consider the Novella: Making the Case for a New Workshop Model” (September/ October 2017). I love reading novellas, and I recently shortened one of my novel manuscripts to novella length. I noticed, however, that all of the novellas Trevor mentions in his article are written by men. For several years I have been compiling a list of novellas written by and about women on Goodreads. I have also added women writers to the “List of Novellas” Wikipedia page. Some of my favorite novellas include The Awakening by Kate Chopin, Phaniyamma by M. K. Indira, The Fifth Child by Doris Lessing, The Member of the Wedding by Carson McCullers, The Housekeeper and the Professor by Yoko Ogawa, and Madame de Treymes by Edith…

4 min.
the african poetry book fund

It is not surprising that several world-class writers collaborated to bring the African Poetry Book Fund (APBF) to life. Nor is it surprising, given the vast number of prolific African American and African-born writers in America, that such a fund—whose mission is to celebrate and promote the poetic arts of Africa—could have its roots here. What might be surprising, though, is that the APBF is based not on either U.S. coast, or in one of the nation’s largest, most multicultural cities, but in Lincoln, Nebraska. The heart of the Corn Belt. Willa Cather country. The home of Go Big Red football. Nebraska’s distance from Africa is wide, but the connection is not so unlikely. Lincoln and other parts of the state have long welcomed refugee communities: Vietnamese, Hmong, Sudanese, and, most…

1 min.

BELINDA ACOSTA is a writer based in Nebraska. She is currently working on her third novel, which is set in 1970s Lincoln, Nebraska. DANIELLE SHAPIRO is a freelance writer and editor living in Jackson, Wyoming. Her website is www.danielle-shapiro.com. JONATHAN VATNER is a fiction writer in Brooklyn, New York. His novel, The Chelmsford Arms, is forthcoming from Thomas Dunne Books in Fall 2018. 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, a contributing editor at Electric Literature, and the social media director and a writing instructor for the Sackett Street Writers’ Workshop. She is the editor of the forthcoming short story anthology Everyday People: The Color of Life (Atria Books, 2018).…

3 min.
page one

“Why do people keep asking to see / God’s identity papers / when the darkness opening into morning / is more than enough?” Devotions: The Selected Poems of Mary Oliver (Penguin Press, October 2017) by Mary Oliver. Thirty-fourth book, twenty-seventh poetry collection. Agent: Charlotte Sheedy. Editor: Ann Godoff. Publicist: Elisabeth Calamari. “When Marvin Gaye sang the National Anthem at the 1983 NBA All-Star Game, he knew he was going to die soon.” They Can’t Kill Us Until They Kill Us (Two Dollar Radio, November 2017) by Hanif Abdurraqib. Second book, first essay collection. Agent: None. Editor: Eric Obenauf. Publicist: Eric Obenauf. “August 7. When I tell you that my white name is Cedar Hawk Songmaker and that I am the adopted child of Minneapolis liberals, and that when I went looking for…

4 min.
aligning literature and the news

Ayear ago BeenishAhmed was working as a daily news reporter in Washington, D.C., tracking big stories and crafting them into articles that would help her readers make sense of the world around them. Although she knew her work was important, Ahmed, thirty, grew frustrated with the nature of the news cycle—especially in an era of shocking political headlines by the minute—which often makes it difficult for readers to develop a detailed understanding of important issues. “I just felt like there was more to contribute,” she says by phone from her home in New York City, “and that there was a way we could go deeper while also working with the fact that people have limited bandwidth for what they can take in.” An avid reader, journalist, and creative writer, Ahmed turned…