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?”
The 87th annual California Book Awards, which “recognizes the state’s best writers and illuminate the wealth and diversity of literature written in California,” announced this year’s finalists. The nominees include Rachel Khong‘s Goodbye, Vitamin, Viet Thanh Nguyen‘s The Refugees, and Zinzi Clemmons‘s What We Lose (here’s the full list). From our archives: The Millions’ interview with Khong.
ICYMI Colin Kaepernick was named GQ‘s 2017 Citizen of the Year a few weeks ago. In light of this honor two of his closest friends “have compiled a list of ‘Freedom Dream’ resources spanning close to two centuries—including books, essays, films, documentaries, songs, and museums—that can help readers, viewers, and listeners to understand race as the central political, cultural, economic, social, and geographic organizing principle of our nation, past and present. For it is only when we acknowledge the centrality of race in dictating the outcomes of life and death in the United States can we begin to work toward meaningful forms of racial justice.” Find the books, music and movies that helped inspire Kaepernick (and that will enlighten you too) here.
Bookish men of New York. Are you listening? Good. On February 13th, Housing Works is hosting a “Literary Speed Dating” event… except they currently have a slight problem. There are literally too many women signed up for the event. If this isn’t enticing enough for you to buy a ticket immediately, perhaps a $4 discount will be. Simply enter the event code “TOLSTOY” when you buy online – or visit this link directly. Now, hurry. Think of which book you’ll bring with you. You know, the one you’re “just kinda, like, reading for fun at the moment.”