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Poets & Writers Magazine

Poets & Writers Magazine September - October 2018

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.

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United States
Poets & Writers, Inc
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 funding, class size, core faculty, and more. Keep tabs on your applications to MFA programs using our Submission Tracker. Read the expanded interviews with Sam Sacks of the Wall Street Journal and Jennifer Baker, the editor of Everyday People. Check out our new weekly series Agents & Editors Recommend, in which we ask publishing professionals, such as agents Eric Simonoff and Julie Barer and editors Jeff Shotts of Graywolf Press and Kathy Pories of Algonquin Books, to share advice, anecdotes, insights, and new ways of thinking about writing and the business of books. And don’t forget about Writers Recommend, our long-running series featuring authors who suggest books, art, music, writing prompts, films—anything…

2 min
editor’s note

MY SON, AGE TEN, RECENTLY ASKED ME IF I HAD EVER BEEN afraid of the nighttime. He was brushing his teeth, anticipating the trudge upstairs, where, with his thirteen-year-old sister at summer camp—her bedroom door closed for three whole weeks, her teenage secrets safe on the other side—he had the top floor of the house to himself. It wasn’t that he was actually scared of anything, he hastened to add, but that he was grappling with his ability, as he put it, to “distort” his thoughts. This led to a rather anxious exchange in which he clarified that he can control his own opinions and theories just fine (if only we adults were so restrained) but not so much the images that come to mind during the dreaded time of…

2 min

LETTER Feedback from readers Alvin Irby deserves a standing ovation for starting Barbershop Books, a literacy program for young Black boys (“Barbershop Books” by Christine Ro, July/August 2018). Irby’s commitment and accomplishments are a blessing. Thank you. GARR PARKS Savannah, Georgia TRENDING Top tweets, Facebook posts, and other social media ephemera Hanif Abdurraqib’s profile of poet Terrance Hayes (“My Past and Future and Future Assassin,” July/August 2018) garnered praise from many of our 207,000 Twitter followers, including poet Aimee Nezhukumatathil (@aimeenez), who wrote, “I can’t remember such an insightful and well-written big feature of a poet in P&W,” and described the piece as “incredible—all the way down to the sentence level—a thing of beauty.” Another reader, Ayokunle Falomo (@AFalomo), shared his appreciation: “What a gift. What a time to be alive.” QUOTABLE QUOTES Lines from the previous issue…

5 min
saving millay’s home

In 1925 poet Edna St. Vincent Millay and her husband, Eugen Jan Boissevain, answered an advertisement for an abandoned blueberry farm for sale in Austerlitz, New York. They bought the property for $9,000 and named it Steepletop after the Steeplebush, a wild plant that studded the grounds with spiky pink blooms. Over the next twenty-five years, the farmhouse and surrounding seven-hundred-acre estate in the Berkshires near the Massachusetts border became Millay’s refuge, a haven where she could focus on her writing surrounded by forests, foothills, and wildlife. Today the house is open to the public and is run by the Millay Society, a nonprofit trust dedicated to preserving the poet’s legacy. When Millay died in 1950 her sister Norma moved into the house, and after Norma’s death in 1986 the estate…

1 min

ADRIENNE RAPHEL is the author of the poetry collections What Was It For (Rescue Press, 2017) and But What Will We Do (Seattle Review, 2016). Her work has appeared in the New Yorker, the Paris Review Daily, Lana Turner, Prelude, and elsewhere. JONATHAN VATNER is a fiction writer in Yonkers, New York. His novel, Carnegie Hill, is forthcoming from Thomas Dunne Books in August 2019. GILA LYONS has written about feminism, mental health, and social justice for the New York Times, Salon, Vox, Cosmopolitan, HuffPost, Good, and other publications. Find her on Twitter, @gilalyons, or on her website, gilalyons.com. DANA ISOKAWA is the associate editor of Poets & Writers Magazine. NAMRATA PODDAR is the interviews editor for Kweli, where she curates a series called “Race, Power and Storytelling.” Her fiction and nonfiction has appeared…

3 min
page one

“Barry Cohen, a man with 2.4 billion dollars of assets under management, staggered into the Port Authority Bus Terminal.” Lake Success (Random House, September 2018) by Gary Shteyngart. Fifth book, fourth novel. Agent: Denise Shannon. Editor: Susan Kamil. Publicist: Barbara Fillon. “It started with two births / as quiet as pinpricks // two translucent ripples / in the Colorado river // or two white breezes / kicking up clay” Perennial (Coffee House Press, August 2018) by Kelly Forsythe. First book, poetry collection. Agent: None. Editor: Lizzie Davis. Publicist: Mandy Medley. “One of the folktale archetypes, according to the Aarne–Thompson classification of these stories, tells of how ‘a mysterious or threatening helper is defeated when the hero or heroine discovers his name.’” Call Them by Their True Names: American Crises (and Essays) (Haymarket…