Poets & Writers Magazine November/December 2021

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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2 minutos
editor’s note

DURING THE FINAL WEEKS OF PRODUCTION FOR THIS ISSUE, my children, like millions of others, took their first steps into a school for full-time, in-person instruction after an extended, exasperating absence. To say I rejoiced is an overstatement; I was just happy they no longer had to rely on their parents, or screens, for a social life. With the kids out in the world again, our dinner conversations got a welcome infusion of new topics, the first being their teachers. I’ve taken a special interest in how our kids respond to their new English and literary arts teachers, of course, and while some instructors have been more inspiring than others, I’m happy to know they are receiving a literary education, even as they step over and around the stacks of…

2 minutos

LETTERS Feedback from readers Although I can be identified by pretty much all the attributes of white masculinity listed by Namrata Poddar in “We Build It Ourselves: A Roundtable on Race, Power, and the Writing Workshop” (September/October 2021)—“cis, straight, able, upper or middle class, Western, Judeo-Christian”—I never thought they added up to my feeling part of any collective experience of whiteness in the workshops I’ve participated in. My first workshop took place at night after work, in the basement classroom of a church, where we squeezed ourselves into desks made for primary school students and read our weekly assignments in subdued and quavering voices. A lot of us were white, some of us weren’t, the masculine contingent was vastly outnumbered, and all of us were afraid. Our instructor, an accomplished writer, wrote…

4 minutos
the african poetry digital portal

This past spring, Claire Jimenez and Olufunke Ogundimu, two graduate students at the University of Nebraska in Lincoln (UNL), were juggling a number of tasks, including teaching undergraduates and writing their own books. Still, when professors Kwame and Lorna Dawes offered them graduate research assistantships at the African Poetry Digital Portal, the university’s massive, multi-institutional archive of African poetry, they knew they couldn’t turn it down. “It was a great opportunity,” says Ogundimu, and Jimenez agrees. “I was inspired by the scope and impact of this project and its collaboration with so many different institutions, scholars, and writers,” she says. “I’d get the opportunity to create spatial visualizations and build bibliographic profiles of writers such as Kofi Awoonor and Wole Soyinka. I was excited.” The African Poetry Digital Portal is a…

1 minutos

DESTINY O. BIRDSONG is the author of the poetry collection Negotiations, which was published by Tin House in 2020, and the triptych novel Nobody’s Magic, forthcoming from Grand Central Publishing in 2022. EMMA HINE is the author of the poetry collection Stay Safe, which received the Kathryn A. Morton Prize and was published in January 2021 by Sarabande Books. GIL A LYONS’s writing on mental health and social justice has appeared in the New York Times; O, the Oprah Magazine; Cosmopolitan; and other publications. DANA ISOK AWA is a writer and editor living in New York City. She is the managing editor of the Margins, the literary journal of the Asian American Writers’ Workshop, and a former senior editor of Poets & Writers Magazine. JULIAN RANDALL is a Living Queer Black poet from Chicago.…

3 minutos
page one

“By the time you read this, you may have figured it out.” My Monticello (Henry Holt, October 2021) by Jocelyn Nicole Johnson. First book, story collection. Agent: Meredith Kaffel Simonoff. Editor: Retha Powers. Publicists: Clarissa Long and SallyAnne McCartin. “I was thinking, while making love, this is beautiful—this / fine craftsmanship of his skin, the texture of wintry river.” Burying the Mountain (Copper Canyon Press, October 2021) by Shangyang Fang. First book, poetry collection. Agent: None. Editor: Michael Wiegers. Publicists: Laura Buccieri and Marisa Vito. “My mom almost got scammed this one time, not long ago.” Concepcion: An Immigrant Family’s Fortunes (Riverhead Books, October 2021) by Albert Samaha. Second book, first memoir. Agent: David Patterson. Editor: Rebecca Saletan. Publicist: Glory Anne Plata. “The first time Emi and Frida traveled to the US, it…

4 minutos
pen international marks a century

This year PEN International, the global organizat ion that defends and champions free expression for writers worldwide, turns one hundred. British poet, playwright, and peace activist Catharine Amy Dawson Scott founded PEN in London in 1921 to unite writers after the devastation of World War I. PEN vice president emerita Joanne Leedom-Ackerman (a former member of the board of Poets & Writers, the nonprofit organization that publishes this magazine) explains that “Dawson Scott felt that if writers could know and read each other, they could help break down nationalism and the barriers between countries.” That’s exactly what PEN has been doing for a century: Today PEN International boasts around one hundred fifty global chapters in over one hundred countries that help to support writers in exile, fight for writers facing…