Willard Spiegelman’s provocative essay in the VQR’s recent State of American Poetry issue, “Has Poetry Changed?” incited quite a few responses. One of the better rejoinders came from William Childress, whose response, “Is Free Verse Killing Poetry,” raises some excellent points. “Poetry needs readers, not writers,” writes Childress. “But how many poets read any poetry but their own?”
"Why on earth would you start a literary magazine?" In an essay for The New Yorker Stephen Burt offers a wide variety of answers, from promoting a new genre to promoting one's friends. His article pairs well with our own Nick Ripatrazone's lit mag question and answer: "What is the wider cultural influence of literary magazines? I am not sure there needs to be one."
Ayobami Adebayo is interviewed by Abigail Bereola for Hazlitt and it's fantastic. They discuss proverbs, romantic love, sickle cell anemia and writing your first book. "At the risk of sounding very narcissistic, I’m going to say I write for myself ultimately. And maybe my sister. I think that when I’m working, it’s very difficult for me to think about an audience, perhaps because sometimes it gets a bit overwhelming. I’m trying to figure out so many things that I really don’t start thinking about the idea that other people might read this thing until, 'Oh my God, it’s publication day' and I have a panic attack like 'Oh my God, what have I done?' I think the awareness of an audience is something I’m just coming into because this is a first book."
Recommended Reading: Return to Oakpine author Ron Carlson’s short story, “How Things Have Actually Changed Since We Did Secede from the United States.”
"A collection of previously unpublished short stories and poems from Capote’s youth" have recently been rediscovered and will soon be available in print for the first time, reports The New York Times. Unfortunately the first published pieces will only be available in German translations until a full English collection is released in 2015, and we have a feeling Google Translate isn't a good option for getting a readable version early.
You may have heard that E.L. Doctorow passed away last week. The Ragtime and Billy Bathgate author was known for his mastery of historical fiction. At The Guardian, Michael Chabon offers a tribute, arguing that Doctorow found a way out of the binary trap between postmodernism and realism.