Seen and Heard

While much of it may not be widely reported by the “mainstream press”, there’s always something exciting, interesting or just plain strange happening in the world of literature and publishing. Here are just a few recent items of note:

— Spoken word sensation and social activist Saul Williams kicked off his North American tour last week and is scheduled to make at least two dozen appearances in various venues throughout the US and Canada. One show sure to make waves is his November 18th appearance at the 930 Club in DC with hip-hop MC Talib Kweli. Williams’ new album is now available and tour dates and further information can be found at

— New Line Cinemas announced on Monday that Oscar-winning screenwriter Ronald Harwood (“The Pianist”) was hired to begin the adaptation of the Gabriel Garcia Marquez epic Love in the Time of Cholera. There is no word on when the film is expected to be in theatres or on who might be cast to play the lovelorn protagonist Florentino Ariza.

— At North Carolina Central University, administrators have decided to withdraw the $7,000 annual budget for Ex Umbra, the student produced annual literary journal. The journal was first published in 1965 and was created to highlight the writings of students at the historically black college. The current submissions and planned issue now remain unpublished and this move seems to be another step in the wrong direction for the promotion of school-supported literature and arts funding in universities and beyond. It is unknown at this point if private funding or donations will come through to keep this journal on its feet.

— Beat icon Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Lou Reed, poet Li-Young Lee along with other writers, slam poets and notables have come together to create a unique blend of their talents in reVerse. A mix of genres, styles and messages, the collection of poems, songs and poem-songs includes 14 artists from Chicago, Los Angeles, New York and San Francisco. We heartily support such collaborations that dare to blur the lines of music, poetry and activism. Stay tuned for an upcoming review of this compilation, available in stores on November 15th.

— And last but not least … Billy Corgan, former front man of The Smashing Pumpkins, is now a best-selling poet. His new collection of poetry, Blinking With Fists, is currently at number 32 on the New York Times Best Seller list (hardcover fiction). Corgan just finished a 14-city book signing tour to promote the book. Meanwhile, another rocker is riding high on the best-seller list. Motley Crue bad boy Tommy Lee’s new autobiography Tommyland took the number 16 spot on the Times’ Hardcover Non-fiction list. From anecdotes about his marriages to Pamela Anderson and Heather Locklear to stories of porn stars, sex tapes, drugs, anger management and the rock and roll scene, we can only imagine that Tommyland will remain on the best-seller list for weeks to come.

These are the stories that caught our eye this week — tell us what you think and if your favorite author, poet or organization is making literary news, we want to hear about it.

7 Responses

  1. King’s ArrivalA co-worker of
    King’s Arrival

    A co-worker of mine, and grad. student at the local university, told me that Stephen King himself may, in fact, be showing up in this small town of mine to speak to the students….gonna have to sneak into that one.

  2. New Acid Drops TodayTom
    New Acid Drops Today

    Tom Wolfe’s new novel, I am Charlotte Simmons, hits bookstores today. To help ensure an accurate depiction of “hedonistic college life,” the 74-year-old Wolfe “spent about two years attending classes and observing life at Stanford University, the University of Michigan, Harvard University and Yale University…” Wolfe is best known for his books, The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test and The Right Stuff.

    Ref: CNN – Tom Wolfe goes to school

  3. The New York Times gave this
    The New York Times gave this book a really bad review. Not just typical bad, but the kind of bad they reserve for only a select few books every year.

    I don’t know what is up with Tom Wolfe. I liked “Right Stuff” and “Bonfire of the Vanities” pretty well, I guess, but I think at this point he has completely exhausted the huge reserve of counterculture cool he earned for “Electric Kool Aid Acid Test”.

  4. Writers Gathering in NYI
    Writers Gathering in NY

    I heard a good commentary on National Public Radio by Andrei Codrescu, Romanian-born poet and essayist, called “Recalling the New York City of Yore.” He recently met with a group of writers at a favorite bar hang-out in NY. One of the things they did there was write a poem together on napkins and then got up and read the poem to an audience. You can read about Codrescu here, and then click on ‘>>Listen to some of Codrescue’s commentaries’ on that page to hear what I heard today. The sound portion will be available around 7:30 PM.

  5. Experimental Poet in
    Experimental Poet in Minneapolis

    Kathleen Fraser, author of Translating the Unspeakable: Poetry and the Innovative Necessity and Discrete Categories Forced into Coupling, will be speaking at the Minnesota Center for Photography on Thursday, November 11. Fraser is former editor of the journal, HOW(ever), and founder of The American Poetry Archives (Poetry Center, San Francisco State University).


  6. Excellent news… this is
    Excellent news

    … this is great Caryn, especially for me, always wired and on the run I usually miss these gems from the media. Keep doing this, I’m especially interested in the Ferlinghetti/Lou Reed collaboration with other poets. Giving the web links is an added treat, thank you!

  7. I read an excerpt from the
    I read an excerpt from the book in Rolling Stone magazine and I liked it. In the same issue is an article by Hunter S. Thompson.

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Litkicks will turn 30 years old in the summer of 2024! We can’t believe it ourselves. We don’t run as many blog posts about books and writers as we used to, but founder Marc Eliot Stein aka Levi Asher is busy running two podcasts. Please check out our latest work!