Here’s a thought experiment: Let’s say you’re a lover of poetry. Maybe you like to read our poetry excerpt series; perhaps you eagerly await our monthly must-read poetry lists. Now, a step further: perhaps you write poetry? Might you be looking for a place to submit said poetry (and have been energized, instead of dejected, by Glen Cadigan’s recent essay on submissions)? Is it possible that you have not yet compiled the highly detailed spreadsheet of poetry journals, submission dates, and contests that every aspiring poet must make before sending out a single poem for consideration? To get you started, Meimei Xu of The Adroit Journal has put together a list of the best places to submit poetry in 2019. Complete with information on submissions periods, links to past issues, and blurbs about the history and mission of each journal, the list includes both big names, like Ploughshares and The Kenyon Review, and lesser-known gems, like Diagram and Waxwing.
In therapy, “the thing” is, traditionally, what’s not discussed, that which both therapist and patient avoid. “You only know it,” writes clinical psychologist Natasha Stovall, “by the silence and illogic that surrounds it, and the extremes to which the patient will go to erase any sign of it in their own mind, and in their therapist’s, too.” In her essay for Longreads, Stovall asks: “What if whiteness is the thing?” How do we treat whiteness?
Image Credit: Pxhere.
In 1994, Maya Angelou cooked a meal of crowder peas, okra, and beef for a crowd of 150 people. The dinner was in honor of Toni Morrison—who had been awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature the previous year—and U.S. Poet Laureate Rita Dove. Although Angelou is less often associated with cooking and food writing, she would go on to write two underrated cookbooks, Mayukh Sen writes in an article for The Guardian. In Hallelujah! The Welcome Table and Great Food, All Day Long, Angelou’s food writing “hums with the same vibrancy that marks her more prominent work.”
“A group of young, attractive, if somewhat emotionally crippled people, who otherwise seem to have things going for them, have decided upon a secret pact to effectively end their futures. They want you to join them. Dinner parties at other people’s houses are involved.” For McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, Erika Vause asks the question that needed to be asked: Does this harrowing plot summary describe a critically acclaimed film of the 2010s, or does it describe your PhD program? (Spoiler alert: It’s both.) Pair with this list of horror films about writers from the archives and you’ve got a real scarefest on your hands. We’re laughing, but we’re also crying.
Novelist of our hearts Toni Morrison died Monday night, her publisher reports, at the age of 88. Morrison won the 1988 Pulitzer Prize for fiction for her best-selling, groundbreaking novel Beloved, and was the first black woman to win the Nobel Prize in Literature, in 1993. She wrote 11 novels as well as children’s books and essay collections, and, as editor at Random House, was responsible for publishing a new wave of writing by black authors, including work by Angela Davis, Gayl Jones, and Toni Cade Bambara. Most recently, she was the subject of Toni Morrison: The Pieces I Am, a literary documentary about her’s life and career. The film’s director, Timothy Greenfield-Sanders, said of Morrison, “She ‘cracked the ivory tower’ of the publishing world and did all of this while she was writing her own incredible novels, teaching college, and raising two boys as a single mother.” She also had the dubious honor of being named one of our Octogenarian Hotties back in 2016.
Photo credit: Kingkongphoto & www.celebrity-photos.com from Laurel Maryland, USA [CC BY-SA 2.0]; © copyright John Mathew Smith 2001
Shannon Watts was in college when the massacre at Luby’s Cafeteria in Killeen, TX occurred. She was a young mother with small children at the time of Columbine. A slightly older mother when Virginia Tech happened. And the Gabby Giffords shooting. And Sandy Hook. And El Paso. For the L.A. Review of Books, a conversation on gun violence, “thoughts and prayers,” and Watts’s new book Fight Like a Mother, which chronicles the founding of grassroots action network Moms Demand Action. “An experience I’ve had over and over is waking up to the news of a horrific shooting tragedy in this country and then my day is done. … Similar to secondhand smoke, in this country, we have secondhand trauma from gun violence because it is so ever-present.”
The Center for Fiction announced its 2019 First Novel Prize Longlist yesterday. The award is given to the “best debut novel published between Jan. 1 and Dec. 31 of the award year,” and the prize-winning author receives $10,000.
Here is the 2019 longlist (featuring many titles from our 2019 Book Preview) with bonus links when applicable:
The Bobcat by Katherine Forbes Riley
The Dearly Beloved by Cara Wall
Disappearing Earth by Julia Phillips
The Falconer by Dana Czapnik
Fall Back Down When I Die by Joe Wilkins
The Farm by Joanne Ramos
Goodnight Stranger by Miciah Bay Gault
The History of Living Forever by Jake Wolff
The Gone Dead by Chanelle Benz
The Most Fun We Ever Had by Claire Lombardo
The Paper Wasp by Lauren Acampora
A Particular Kind of Black Man by Tope Folarin
A Prayer for Travelers by Ruchika Tomar
A People’s History of Heaven by Mathangi Subramanian
Tears of the Trufflepig by Fernando A. Flores
Tinfoil Butterfly by Rachel Eve Moulton
The Water Dancer by Ta-Nehisi Coates
We Cast a Shadow by Maurice Carlos Ruffin
The 2019 shortlist will be announced in September, and the winner will be announced at The Center for Fiction’s annual Benefit and Awards Dinner in December.
What happens—to you, to your career—when the “woman” in “woman writer” no longer applies? For Catapult, Lio Min writes about a journalism career built, in part, on being an “Asian American woman” who writes about “Asian American women’s issues”—and then about no longer being one of those things. “For as long as I’ve been a writer, I’ve been a woman writer,” Min writes. “Here’s the catch: Over the course of the past few years, I have begun to feel like a stranger in my body. The more I wrote about girls and women, the more distanced I felt from the figure I saw in the mirror.”Photo by Nayanika Mukherjee
Every decade or so, writes George Packer in his review of Dorian Lynskey’s The Ministry of Truth, it’s the same old line: “[George] Orwell got it wrong. Things haven’t turned out that bad. The Soviet Union is history. Technology is liberating.” But these arguments miss the point: “Orwell never intended his novel to be a prediction, only a warning.” For The Atlantic, Packer asks what 1984 means in today’s America.
We’ve thought a lot about Leonard Cohen over the years. We’re perhaps, uh, not the only ones. Recently, Cohen’s love letters to Marianne Ihlen sold for a whopping $876,000. While Ihlen and Cohen’s love is recorded in songs like “So Long, Marianne,” these letters appear to preserve something more quotidian: the writing and publication of Cohen’s novels. Referring to his debut, The Favorite Game, Cohen wrote that the literary critics have “all screamed about the wild undisciplined dirty book, so it’s selling quite well.”