This past Wednesday Tracy K. Smith officially began her term as the new U.S. Poet Laureate. After adding her name to the guest book traditionally signed by poet laureates upon the start of their one year term, she read aloud from previously published poetry collections and introduced new work. Ron Charles from the Washington Post reports “[a]mong her most powerful new pieces were ‘found poems’ constructed from archival letters that African American veterans sent to President Lincoln asking for pensions they were owed.” Smith is the first poet laureate appointed by the new Librarian of Congress, Carla Hayden. Stay tuned for her upcoming efforts to engage rural communities in poetry discussions.
“Eventually, the judicial bureaucracy begins to seem almost as destructive as the rapist.” Domenica Ruta writes on Emily Winslow’s Jane Doe January and Joanna Connors’ I Will Find You, two books that probe our culture’s failure to address sexual violence. Pair with a piece on poetry as a response to sexual violence.
You may have not known there’s a national arm wrestling championship. Joshua Davis found out when he saw an eye-catching flyer. When he found himself drafted onto Team USA, he turned the experience into his first big magazine piece. At The Rumpus, an interview with the author of Spare Parts.
Over at the Observer, Brent Underwood writes on how he self-published a fake book on Amazon. He sold a total of three copies, enough for him to earn the #1 Best Seller badge in several categories. Now his fake book has landed an actual book deal and is available in paperback.
Young Money author Kevin Roose provides a glimpse at “What the Future of Reading Looks Like.” His prediction does not bode well for the makers of e-readers, though, and it’s not because e-books are on the wane. On the contrary, it’s because “when people read e-books, they’re doing it on their existing tablets and smartphones, not on devices built expressly for reading,” he writes. (Related: this may have a positive effect when it comes to rising carbon emissions.)