Soft Skull editor in chief Mensah Demary’s plans for the press; Sophie Haigney on citations in fiction

Mensah Demary

Soft Skull Press’s editor in chief, Mensah Demary, talks to Catapult about his work at the indie press. Of his plans for the future, he says: “To evolve it into a house of diverse literary artists where each writer feels Soft Skull supports and respects their work. I intend to encourage readers to visit Soft Skull’s backlist and spend some time with it.” The interview is part of Catapult’s Don’t Write Alone vertical, which features resources, advice, and writing opportunities.

For Commonweal magazine, Anthony Domestico reviews new poetry collections by Michael Robbins (Walkman) and Hannah Sullivan (Three Poems). Robbins’s last collection, Alien vs. Predator, Domestico writes, “borrowed the beats of hip hop,” while his new collection “sounds like country music.”

Writing about Blake Bailey’s biography of Philip Roth for The Nation, Jeet Heer asks, “Why did it take a sexual assault scandal to raise red flags about a deeply flawed biography?”

At The Drift, Sophie Haigney writes about literary citations and how googling “has become built into the act of reading,” particularly “when readers assume that authors and narrators are one and the same.” It’s also become a fixture of the writing process, for novelists and critics alike. Haigney offers a works cited of sorts of her own essay, but notes that it is incomplete: “I missed a million things I ‘should have read,’ and felt bad, as I always do, about everything I don’t know and will never know. I did some writing, and meanwhile other things happened in my life that may have been more relevant than anything I have described above.”

Boston Review concludes its four-part series of reading lists celebrating National Poetry Month with a feature on award-winning poets, including Destiny O. Birdsong, Reuben Jackson, and E. J. Koh.

Iris Chyi, an associate professor and researcher at The University of Texas, Austin, has published a detailed study of how COVID-19 has affected US newspapers’ digital and print circulation.

The former commissioner of cultural affairs for Chicago, Michelle T. Boone, has been appointed as president of the Poetry Foundation. The former president and board chairman both resigned last spring after an outcry urging the foundation to do more to support writers from marginalized communities. The foundation had just released a brief statement in support of anti-racist movements that more than 1,800 signees of an open letter found wanting.