“Since his release, in 2005, he has graduated from the University of Maryland and Warren Wilson College’s low-residency M.F.A. program, been a Radcliffe Fellow at Harvard, received an N.A.A.C.P. Image Award, got married, and had two sons. ‘I’ve added some fancy stars … so now I’m like Felon Plus.’” Take a look at this fascinating New Yorker profile of Reginald Dwayne Betts: poet, memoirist, ex-convict-cum-lawyer, and family man.
We are now over a week into Amazon’s boycott of the indie press e-books distributed under the Independent Publishers Group. IPG is taking a stand against Amazon’s hardline negotiations during the retail giant’s annual contract review, and 5000 titles are no longer available through the Kindle store. Last week Jim Hanas, author of the digitally and independently published Why They Cried, spoke out against Amazon to champion other e-readers and e-book retailers. The renegotiations are taking place across the industry, though, as Melville House’s Dennis Johnson puts it, “major industry figures at the big houses in New York — facing similar cutthroat demands from Amazon for their own annual contracts — remain silent… This isn’t over yet.”
The British critic, essayist, and novelist John Berger died yesterday at his home in France, reports The New York Times. Probably best known for his book of art-criticism-as-philosophy Ways of Seeing, which was turned into a popular BBC series and sold more than a million copies, Berger also won the Booker prize for G. in 1972 and was nominated again in 2008 for an epistolary novel, From A to X. The Guardian has rounded up some of his quotes, including the apt-feeling “[h]ope is not a form of guarantee; it’s a form of energy, and very frequently that energy is strongest in circumstances that are very dark.”
Do you love poetry, but often wish you were monitored on more government watchlists? Well, now you can scratch both of those itches by purchasing Poetry of the Taliban, a new anthology endorsed by and published on the group’s website. Unsurprisingly, the book has garnered its share of criticism, but as Melville House’s Kelly Burdick notes, it also has a coalition of allies and proponents.
“The last thing your creative brain needs is a klaxon shouting WRONG while you’re in the middle of a creative thought. Eventually, as you use Neo, you’ll stop thinking about spelling and typos. This will push your creativity to the next level. You can always step through a spell check any time you like. But not while you’re writing.” Hugh Howey, author of the Wool series, proposes a new word processor called Neo.“I’m currently talking with programmers and consultants on how to get this done,” he writes on his blog, describing the application’s potential features. “Might be a decade before anything comes to light, so don’t hold your breath. But I’m willing to invest the time and money to make this a reality.” Pair with programmer Philip Hopkins‘s meditation on code and writing.