"Her exchanges with Americans in small towns and rural communities are inspiring an appreciation of poetry and history – and remind us that poetry has value for all of our lives." The Library of Congress appointed Tracy K. Smith to a second term as the 22nd Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry for 2018-2019. For her second term, Smith edited an anthology called American Journal: Fifty Poems for Our Time, which will be published by Graywolf Press in association with the Library of Congress. Pair with: our review of Smith's memoir, Ordinary Light.
If you were like this writer when you were growing up, you knew -- nay, believed -- that Sonic the Hedgehog was better than Mario, full stop. At The Verge, Trent Volbe explains the Blue Blur’s greatness, including a sample from the Green Hill Zone soundtrack to illustrate the games’ sick bass grooves.
"And now An American Marriage, with its ruminations on masculinity, married life, and what constitutes marital debt, manages the trick of arriving at the right time while also feeling utterly untethered to just one era." BuzzFeed News profiled writer Tayari Jones about her life, oeuvre, and fourth novel, An American Marriage. Pair with: Jones's 2017 Year in Reading entry.
"To get me through a 550-page collection, the stories must be very good indeed. These are." When Lionel Shriver participated in our Year in Reading ritual several years back, she dedicated her reading diary to William Trevor, who just passed away. "Trevor’s writing is so perfect that you don’t even notice it’s perfect," she wrote. "He mainlines pure narrative directly into your veins. The words never get in the way; the words, like their author, disappear."
"Just because I’m a woman, don’t assume that I automatically empathize with a brooding 20-something Elizabeth-Bennett-type protagonist. (Trust me, I don’t.) This doesn’t mean I can’t design ... a biography on Susan Sontag—or, for that matter, a spy novel, a political satire, or a memoir about a Japanese game show host set in outer space. I can do all of these things. Because it’s my job to design book covers." Over at The Literary Hub, a cover designer wonders why she's always offered a particular type of book.