Pamuk Wins Nobel
Recently on trial for offending the concept of Turkishness, novelist Orhan Pamuk won the Nobel literature prize. Pamuk’s novels include the popular and critically acclaimed Snow and My Name is Red.

Finalist for the National Book Awards Announced
Here are the works and authors nominated for the National Book Awards: Fiction–Mark Danielewski’s Only Revolutions, Ken Kalfus’s A Disorder Peculiar to the Country, Dana Spiotta’s Eat the Document, and Jesse Walter’s The Zero; Nonfiction–Rajiv Chandraswekaran’s Imperial Life in the Emerald City: Inside Iraq’s Green Zone, Timothy Egan’s The Worst Hard Time: The Untold Story of Those Who Survived the Great American Dust Bowl, and Peter Hessler’s Oracle Bones: A Journey Between China’s Past and Present; Poetry—H.L. Hix’s Chromatic, Ben Lerner’s Angel of Yaw, Nathaniel Mackey’s Splay Anthem, and James McMichael’s Capacity.

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Why the Flurry about Frost’s Poem?
Jennifer Howard asks, “Why the hoopla about an unpublished Robert Frost poem?” In the past few weeks, bloggers and the media have made noise about the Virginia Quarterly Review publishing an unpublished Frost poem. The publication has an essay by Robert Stilling, who discovered the poem, and another by poet Glyn Maxwell. Howard notes that several scholars know the whereabouts of several unpublished Frost poems.

Google’s Literacy Project
Reuters reports that Google Inc. has a Web site dedicated to literacy. Google hopes that it will combat global illiteracy and bolster its own educational credentials. Meanwhile Google released the top 10 most viewed tests in English for a week in September. They include Diversity and Evolutionary Biology of Tropical Flowers by Peter K. Endress, Merriam Webster’s Dictionary of Synonyms, Measuring and Controlling Interest Rate and Credit Risk by Farnk J. Fabozzi, Steven Mann, and Moorad Choudhry, Ultimate Healing: The Power of Compassion by Lama Zopa Rinpoche, The Holy Qur’an as translated by Abdullah Yusuf Ali, Peterson’s Study Abroad 2006 by Thomson Peterson, Hegemony or Survival: America’s Quest for Global Dominance by Noam Chomsky, Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary of English Usage, Perrine’s Literature: Structure, Sound and Sense by Thomas R. Arp and Greg Johnson, and Build Your Own All-Terrain Robot by Brad Graham and Kathy McGowan.

Who Needs Poetry?
“It’s just what people need right now–a high dosage, intensive injection of lyricism, beauty, and passion.” So says
John Burnside, poet, writer, and chair of the Forward prize for poetry. That’s the lead of Greig Watson report for the BBC.

Then Jeff Gordinier writes for the poetryfoundation.org: “This poetry thing—it’s starting to worry me. The way some people talk about it, you’d think reading a poem every morning was like swallowing a capsule of cod liver oil: it sharpens your vision, expands your lungs, wards off the plague. It’s a psychic antitoxin. It reconnects you with the world around you. It’s good for you.”

Fitch Talks
Andrea Hoag interviews Janet Fitch about how she wrote White Oleander and her new novel Paint It Black.

Politics & Poetry
“Young poets today are casting aside the dreamy ‘hello trees, hello flowers’ bardic stereotype and choosing instead to tackle the hot political issues of the day–or so found the judges of the 2006 Foyle Young Poets of the Year Award,” writes
Michelle Pauli.

Robertson Wins Forward
Robin Robertson won the Forward Prize for Poetry, making him the first poet to win both best collection and best first collection prize. He won the best first collection for A Painted Field in 1997. His collection Swithering won the more recent award. Swithering beat out Seamus Heaney’s District and Circle.

Be Immortalized
Irish writer Jason Johnson will auction off chances to become a character in his third novel at http://www.woundlikcer.com. Why is the 37-year-old holding the auction: For the money.

How-to Literature
In recent months, the book publishing industry, especially in England, has come out with a series of how-to literature books: How to Read a Novel by John Sutherland, How Novels Work by John Mullan, and Fifty Ways to Read a Poem by Ruth Padel.

Googling of Literature
During the past ten years, companies such as Yahoo and Google have altered the Internet environment, creating more access to more activities for the average computer user. With its book program along with the Gutenberg Project, the Open Content Alliance, and the Open Document Foundation, these two companies–along with many others–will dramatically alter how and what people read while providing wider access to original material for billions throughout the world.

Too Many Good Books?
“This fall, the largest number of new titles by brand-name authors in recent memory is hitting bookstores, adn the publishing world is asking itself an unusual question: Can there be too many good books?” That’s the start of Josh Getlin Los Angeles Times essay “Booked-up Publishers Could Be in a Bind.” More interestingly and not addressed is the question: Can there be too much good writing out there? Look at the number of new titles being published by literary imprints–small and large. Without an increase in the number of readers, aren’t we as writers and publishers just asking the same number of people to read more? Can the reader base expand?

How Did He Find that Poem?
Virigina Quarterly Review just published “War Thoughts at Home” by Robert Frost, which remained lost for decades. Graduate student Robert Stilling discovered it while doing research at the University of Virgina. Scott McLemee talks to Stilling about the discovery.

Novels about Poets
Colum McCann, author of Zoli which is about a Romani poet, pics the top 10 novels about poets: Stone by John Williams, My Life as a Fake by Peter Carey, The Book of Laughter and Forgetting by Milan Kundera, Fugitive Pieces by Anne Michaels, The Wing of Things by Sean O’Reilly, Shadow Box by Antonia Logue, Winslow in Love by Kevin Canty, Snow by Orham Pamuk, The Dog Fighter by Marc Bokanowski, and Portrait of the Artist by James Joyce.

Pan Redux?
What gave Geraldine McCaughrean the nerve to write a sequel to Peter Pan? asks the Guardian.

The Politically Correct Becomes Incorrect?
Lionel Shrivere argues in The Australian that “fiction may be the last refuge of the outrageous, the last redoubt of Orwell’s thought crime. Moreover, even the freedom to be outrageous in fiction is under threat.” Her essay provokes thinking. In the West, we readily condemned nation’s for trying authors for violating “Turkishness.” She wonders if the attempt to embrace all people into a culture is not leading to a similar crime against the state of inclusion.

Two Poems by Cohen
The Guardian has published “The Cigarette Issue” and “Seisen is Dancing” by Leonard Cohen.

Hornby Tells ‘All’
In an essay entitled “The Complete Polysyllabic Spree,” Erica Wagener interviews Nick Hornby. He says: “When I started being review, I thought, ‘Oh god, I really want to know if my book’s any good or not.’ I don’t read any of them any more, but when you read two people side-by-side and one of them is saying you’re a moron and the other is saying you’re a genius, you think: Okay, so now I’m being asked to choose whcih of tehse people is the cleverer. Because I’d kind of like to know the right answer. And then after a while you just give up.”

Amis Lets It Rip–Yet Again
In the last month, Martin Amis released two works about radical Islam. Guardian writer Rachel Cooke flies from London to the Hamptons on Long Island to interview the author. He, like Hornby, stopped reading reviews: “You’re minding your own business. Then you see the strap-line on the [Lodon] Times: ‘Martin Amis is Shit.’ So it’s a drive-by shooting.”

Rushdie Interviewed
James Campbell of the Guardian interviews Salman Rushdie.

Poets Awarded
Carl Phillips recently received the Academy of American Poets’ Academy Fellowship, receiving $25,000. The academy selected the poet based on his work during the past 20 years.

MacArthur Fellowship winner and Sterling Professor Emeritus at Yale University John Hollander will be the new Poet Laureate for Connecticut starting next year. The 76-year-old poet will succeed Maryilyn Nelson. The state pays $1000 a year for the position.

Meanwhile the Poetry Foundation has named Jack Prelutsky as the First Children’s Poet Laureate, a $25,000 prize.

Frost Poem Discovered
The Virginia Quarterly Review (VQR) next week will publish a poetic tribute to a friend killed during The Great War by Robert Frost. University of Virginia graduate student Robert Stilling discovered the poem while during research with some Frost papers.

Burnside on Non-Fiction
In commenting on a letter written by Sharon Olds to Laura Bush, John Burnside writes: What makes this document powerful is, in part, its stylistic elegance, as it treads the fine line between political protest and the courtesy that any civilized human being owes to others, no matter how reprehensible their actions. Its effectiveness is enhanced…by the trust that a famously rigorous poet inspires; by the authority of one whose main pursuit is not money or fame but artistic integrity.

Palmer Wins Poetry Award

September 9, 2006

Palmer Wins Wallace Stevens Award
The Academy of American Poets has award Michael Palmer the $100,000 Wallace Stevens Award for his proven mastery of poetry. The 63-year-old poet will receive the award on November 8 at the Lang Auditorium at the New School, 55 W. 13th St., New York City. The event is free and open to the public.

The Devil Is in the Potter
According to the Vatican’s chief exorcist, the devil is in the Harry Porter, and so the vigilant Father Gabriele Amorth condemned J.K. Rowling’s wizard as evil. (Several years ago, I was coaching basketball teams for a Catholic grammar school. The kids came up with a name and logo for their teams—the Wizards. It was nixed by the principal.)
The Sidney Morning Herald also reminds us that great thinker Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger—now Pope—described the impish Potter as a “potentially corrupting influence.” Lynne Hume and Kathleen McPhillip edited a several of academic essays, stating that Medieval myths, comics, and fantasy superseded religious text in the popular mind set.

Google’s Free Books
Soon you will be able to download classic novels—those in the public domain—from Googles Book Search service, even though the service remains in BETA, meaning being tested. The plan calls for individuals to download the book as a PDF file (Acrobat).

Nye Talks with Hirschfield at WRMEA
“Why are we so monumentally slow / Soldiers stalk a pharmacy: / big guns, little pills. / If you tilt your head just slightly / It’s ridiculous.” As Robert Hirschfield reminds us in this essay from the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs. Then I heard: And did those feet in ancient time / Walk upon England’s mountains green? / And was the holy Lamb of God / On England’s pleasant pastures seen?
I wonder what Blake would have asked Nye, who was born in St. Louis more than half a century ago.

Gilbert and Slate Finalists for LM Poetry Prize
The Academy of American Poets has selected Jack Gilbert and Ron Slate as finalists for its $25,000 Lenore Marshall Prize. Past recipients include Philip Levine, Sterling A. Brown, Adrienne Rich, Thom Gunn, W.S. Merwin, Marilyn Hacker, and Charles Wright. The academy accepts submissions between April 1st and June 15th. Slate is featured on a podcast at the Houghton Mifflin Web site.

A Glimpse at Writers
Jane Ciabattari talks with Lily Brett at Canio’s Books in Sag Harbor, NY. Meanwhile William Hamilton talks with Edward P. Jones (author of the Pulitzer-wining The Known World) and his territory, called Washington DC. And Laura Miller talks about the eminence of style in regards to Marisha Pessl’s
Special Topics in Calamity Physics.