Eve Ewing recently released her debut poetry collection, Electric Arches, and we dubbed it one of our must-read poetry books last month. Year in Reading alum (and another Millions favorite) Kiese Laymon called her for a Guernica magazine interview and the result is a wonderful discussion on shea butter, Jordans, writing with young people as her primary audience and Assata Shakur as a literary inspiration.
Flip through the blurbs on a recently published novel and you’re likely to come across a ton of stock phrases. Gary Shteyngart parodied this repetition — as well as other facets of the blurb-industrial complex — in a bit of improv last year. At The Morning News, Christine Gosnay writes about a poem that gave her a genuinely new reaction: the sense that she was “more than one person.”
The British Library has paid £32,000 for poet Wendy Cope‘s email archive. A far cry from stacks of personal letters, but seemingly the natural progression of things. According to Cope herself, many of the emails “are not interesting at all”. (via @BookBench)
If you’re a professor or mentor, it’s the time of year you should expect to be hit up for recommendation letters. You can find inspiration in Ralph Waldo Emerson’s recommendation letter for Walt Whitman, when the latter was seeking government employment despite his controversial poetry. “He is known to me as a man of strong original genius, combining, with marked eccentricities, great powers & valuable traits of character: a self-relying large-hearted man, much beloved by his friends.” Even if the government didn’t like Whitman’s work, we do; read our own Michael Bourne’s essay on the power of Whitman’s poetry.