Culture & Literature
Poets & Writers Magazine

Poets & Writers Magazine September - October 2015

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

1 min.

For information about more than two hundred graduate programs in creative writing, visit our MFA Programs database, which includes details about deadlines, class size, core faculty, and more. To get the big picture of the MFA landscape, with specifics regarding funding, tuition, teaching opportunities, application fees, and more, download MFA Nation 2016: A Compendium of Graduate Programs in Creative Writing. As you consider your MFA options, consult the Speakeasy message forum for advice from other writers in the community about graduate programs, writing contests, literary agents, and more. Read the expanded interview with editor Dawn Davis by Michael Szczerban as well as past installments of the Agents & Editors series. Listen to the third episode of Ampersand: The Poets & Writers Podcast, featuring Ann Beattie and Joshua Bodwell in conversation; an interview with Ken…

2 min.
editor’s note

ONE WORD THAT GETS BANDIED ABOUT A LOT IN WRITING circles is community. Finding your community. Engaging with your community. Relying on your community for advice and support. It all sounds pretty good. But what does the word really mean? One definition: “a group of people living in the same place or having a particular characteristic in common.” And another: “a feeling of fellowship with others, as a result of sharing common attitudes, interests, and goals.” Applied to us, here: We’re all writers. We all belong to the writing community. Which is great, and that feeling is palpable. It’s empowering to know there are so many other people who feel as passionately about writing as we do. But I think it’s a little more complicated. To say we’re all members…

2 min.

AGENTS & EDITORS When I started to read Michael Szczerban’s interview with agents Claudia Ballard, Seth Fishman, Melissa Flashman, and Alia Hanna Habib (Agents & Editors, July/August 2015), I thought, “Oh, they look so young.” By the next page I said, “Wow! They work so hard, care so much, and know their trade!” It’s great to peek into the working lives of these dedicated people. I am thankful for this necessary information. My anxiety regarding the writer-agent relationship is greatly reduced, my fear of messing up a query letter is better managed, and my confidence and ability to trust an agent to care about what matters to me is increased. My experience growing up in an orphanage after World War II allows me to impart an authentic story in my writing,…

6 min.
hong kong mfa program closes

This past April, the City University of Hong Kong announced the abrupt closure of its low-residency MFA writing program, which had been running for just five years. The news came as a shock to both faculty and students, as the program had in a brief period established a rather remarkable international reputation, not least for its focus on diversity and literary daring. Word of the shutdown came in the wake of the so-called Umbrella Revolution last fall, when hundreds of thousands of protesters packed the streets of Hong Kong to demonstrate against new voting restrictions and wider threats to free expression. Several City University students and faculty saw a clear connection between the movement and the shutdown of the MFA program, and launched a fierce protest against it. Despite their…

1 min.

JOANNA SCUTTS is a writer and critic in Queens, New York. She is on the board of the National Book Critics Circle. Her website is joannascutts.com. MARWA HELAL is the cofounder of FEN Magazine. Her work has appeared in the American Book Review and Egypt Today Magazine. Follow her on Twitter, @marwahelal. Her website is marshelal.com. RACHAEL HANEL is the author of We’ll Be the Last Ones to Let You Down: Memoir of a Gravedigger’s Daughter, published in 2013 by the University of Minnesota Press. TRAVIS KUROWSKI is the editor of Paper Dreams: Writers and Editors on the American Literary Magazine, published in 2013 by Atticus Books. His website is traviskurowski.com. ANDREW MCFADYEN-KETCHUM is a poet, an editor, and a lecturer at the University of Colorado in Boulder. He is the author of a…

3 min.
page one

“‘Oh pussycat, I’m so glad to hear your voice,’ the girl’s mother said on the telephone.” Purity (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, September 2015) by Jonathan Franzen. Ninth book, fifth novel. Agent: Susan Golomb. Editor: Jonathan Galassi. Publicist: Jeff Seroy. “My midway journey, my emancipated eyes / like runaways, exposed, and the row homes stacked / again, colorless drab LEGO blocks.” Roll Deep (Norton, August 2015) by Major Jackson. Fourth book, poetry collection. Agent: None. Editor: Jill Bialosky. Publicist: Lauren Maturo. “In my earliest memory I’m three years old, running down the hall of our old house in Henderson, North Carolina, a small, gray-shingled one in a stand of oak trees on a hilltop overlooking Ruin Creek.” Barefoot to Avalon (Atlantic Monthly Press, August 2015) by David Payne. Sixth book, first memoir. Agent:…