Culture & Literature
Poets & Writers Magazine

Poets & Writers Magazine September - October 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

THERE ARE FEW LIVING NOVELISTS WRITING IN ENGLISH who command the level of reverence that our cover subject has achieved over the past forty-two years, since his first novel, Grimus, was published in 1975. Toni Morrison is up there with him. As is Philip Roth. J. M. Coetzee, Margaret Atwood, Ursula K. Le Guin. Certainly there are others, but still, exclusive company. Perhaps add Don DeLillo, whom Salman Rushdie clearly admires, if the references to him in Porochista Khakpour’s interview with Rushdie are an accurate gauge. At one point in their wide-ranging conversation, Rushdie talks about his resistance to labels, making it clear that he wouldn’t be terribly fond of this parlor game of mine. “If someone tries to put me in a particular box, I immediately want to be…

3 min.

THE LUCK OF THE AGENT Thank you for Michael Bourne’s article “Agents as Editors: Understanding the New Author-Agent Relationship” (July/August 2017). The piece highlights agents who work with fiction writers but did not give an example of the lucky matchmaking that occurs between agents and nonfiction writers. As a writer who is passionate about historical events that capture stories of lost individuals and generations, I was grateful to find agent Jake Elwell of Harold Ober Associates, who was equally passionate and has read every nonfiction book on the subject. He helped shape my manuscript, and I feel very lucky for our match. PEARL DUNCAN New York, New York Please make the agent spotlight (“We Mean Business: Twelve Agents Who Want to Read Your Work” by Kevin Larimer, July/August 2017) a regular thing. It’s the…

4 min.
the american writers museum

What do Tupac Shakur’s“Dear Mama,” Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Jack Kerouac’s 120-foot scroll upon which he famously penned On the Road, and Martin Luther King Jr.’s “Letter from Birmingham Jail” all have in common? They are on display, side by side, at the American Writers Museum (AWM) in downtown Chicago, which officially opened its doors to the public in May. A museum focused solely on the nation’s writers and writing, the AWM is the first of its kind in the United States. Founder Malcolm O’Hagan, an Irish engineer and scientist who lives in Washington, D.C., was inspired by the Dublin Writers Museum, which opened in 1991. “I love literature, in particular poetry, and just love spending my time with Irish writers there,” O’Hagan says. “When I looked…

1 min.

ANDREW MCFADYEN-KETCHUM is a freelance writer, editor, ghostwriter, and writing coach. His poetry collection, Ghost Gear, was published by the University of Arkansas Press in 2014. His website is andrewmk.com. MAGGIE MILLNER teaches creative writing at NYU, where she is pursuing her MFA in poetry. Previously, she served as Poets & Writers Magazine’s Diana and Simon Raab Editorial Fellow. MARWA HELAL is a poet and journalist who lives and teaches in Brooklyn, New York. She is the winner of BOMB Magazine’s 2016 Poetry Contest and the author of the poetry collection Invasive species, forthcoming from Nightboat Books in 2019. Her website is marshelal.com. DANA ISOKAWA is the associate editor of Poets & Writers Magazine. KEVIN LARIMER is the editor in chief of Poets & Writers, Inc.…

3 min.
page one

“Everyone in Shaker Heights was talking about it that summer: how Isabelle, the last of the Richardson children, had finally gone around the bend and burned the house down.” Little Fires Everywhere (Penguin Press, September 2017) by Celeste Ng. Second book, novel. Agent: Julie Barer. Editor: Virginia Smith Younce. Publicist: Juliana Kiyan. “What I hope (when I hope) is that we’ll / see each other again,— // … and again reach the VEIN // in which we loved each other...” Half-light: Collected Poems 1965–2016 (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, August 2017) by Frank Bidart. Ninth book, poetry collection. Agent: None. Editor: Jonathan Galassi. Publicist: Steven Pfau. “Genus Jackson was killed in Cotton County, Georgia, on a summer midnight in 1930, when the newborn twins were fast asleep.” The Twelve-Mile Straight (Ecco, September 2017)…

4 min.
literature and the environment

In 1992 in Reno, Nevada, a group of scholars and writers founded the Association for the Study of Literature and Environment (ASLE) to promote interdisciplinary research and conversation about the connections between humans and the natural world. Comprising professionals in both the humanities and the sciences, ASLE encourages collaboration, supports environmental education, and convenes a community around the twin goals of literary excellence and ecological sustainability. Now, twenty-five years later, the organization is more robust—and necessary—than ever. The intersections of poetry and conservation biology, or speculative fiction and environmental activism, may not seem intuitive. But in the early 1990s many scholars working at the crossroads of these increasingly siloed disciplines sought a way to share ideas and enlist creative, scientific, and ethical advice from specialists in other fields. With the advent…