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Book News: Former Poet Laureate Robert Hass Wins $100,000 Poetry Prize

Thursday, August 28, 2014

The daily lowdown on books, publishing, and the occasional author behaving badly.

  • Former U.S. poet laureate Robert Hass has won the $100,000 Wallace Stevens prize for "outstanding and proven mastery in the art of poetry" from the Academy of American Poets. Hass is much-lauded: he was a MacArthur Fellow, won a National Book Award in 2007, and shared a Pulitzer Prize in 2008, among other prizes. (Read two of his poems here.) The Academy of American Poets also announced the winners of six other awards, including Tracy K. Smith, who won the $25,000 Academy of American Poets Fellowship, and Rigoberto González, who won the $25,000 Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize. The awards will be presented at a ceremony in October.
  • Female journalists — and CNN's Piers Morgan — get disproportionate abuse online, a new study finds. Salon reports: "[M]ore than 5 percent of the messages a woman [journalist] receives online will be abusive or derogatory in nature, on average. Piers Morgan, whom researchers rank as the No. 1 receiver of hate tweets per day, gets 8.4 percent negative comments — putting him not that far ahead of the average female journalist when it comes to fielding vitriol. The study does note that men still receive the highest proportion of abusive tweets overall — but they're also primarily the ones disseminating hatred."
  • Novelist Ben Lerner talks to Parul Sehgal about writing fiction: "What interests me about fiction is, in part, its flickering edge between realism and where a tear in the fabric of a story lets in some other sort of light."
  • For Flavorwire, Emily Temple takes on "New Adult" literature and asks, "Why do we think 18-25 year olds need another stepping stone — whether actual or intellectual — before they make it to full-on adult literature?"
  • The New York Times asks Mohsin Hamid and Thomas Mallon whether where they live affects how they write. Hamid says, "I suspect Nadine Gordimer might not have written July's People had she not lived in South Africa. And J. R. R. Tolkien's The Hobbit might have read a little differently had he been a resident of Osaka instead of Oxfordshire. Places do things to you."
  • In a new single for the Atavist, Empathy Exams author Leslie Jamison writes about a whale whose song was audible to the human ear — but not, apparently, to other whales. It's excerpted in Slate: "A legend was born: the loneliest whale in the world. ... The song ... was quickly becoming a kind of sentimental seismograph suggesting multiple storylines: alienation and determination, autonomy and longing; not only a failure to communicate but also a dogged persistence in the face of this failure."
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