“But poems are not poems if they make people feel dead. I want people to feel alive – even if it is alive with grief.” The Guardian profiles poet Danez Smith about poetry; race, gender, and queerness; and their poetry collection, Don’t Call Us Dead (a finalist for the National Book Award). Pair with: an essay on writing that gives shape and depth to victims of criminal injustice.
The publishing industry is changing quickly, and Jellybooks is helping it happen. The company gives out free e-books to readers in exchange for their consent to track their reading habits. This data goes back to publishers to be used in the market. Our own Nick Moran asks if e-readers are as green as we think.
“An ambidextrous cardsharp, who took losing as a personal insult; a proletarian agitator, who dressed like a dandy; a germ-fearing hypochondriac, smoking 100 cigarettes a day; a lady-killer with rotten teeth, causing a string of abortions wherever he went.” On the Soviet poet Mayakovksy.
After winning a $100,000 grant from the Andy Warhol Foundation, what do you do for an encore? How about staging “fifty days of lectures, discussions, and debates” about what the future ought to look like? How about enlisting the likes of Laurie Anderson, Samuel Delany, Rachel Kushner, and Norman Rush as ringmasters? How about having the entire thing take place in structures designed by artists José León Cerrillo and Adrián Villar Rojas? Triple Canopy‘s “Speculations” occupies MoMA’s P.S. 1 this summer
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.
“I realize that, like most fantasies, reality is likely to be more complicated. For starters, literary communities—like most communities—have echelons. They have cliques; they have ghettos. You are the wrong age, work in the wrong genre, don’t know the right people, don’t teach at the same program … Anyone who thinks this isn’t true is someone squarely at the center of his or her chosen circle.” On peripherality and the uncertain nature of literary community.