Maya Angelou died on Wednesday at the age of 86. An obituary in the New York Times praises her “directness of voice.” The Wall Street Journal says she will be “remembered above all as the ‘people’s poet.’” The LA Times calls her “a diva of American culture.” At the Poetry Foundation, read a sampling of her poems.
“I want to say to you that you are graduating at a difficult time, when everything you might have taken for granted in a capitalist democracy, including certification by institutions of higher education and consequent stable employment, is more problematic than ever.” The Baffler has reprinted author Siddhartha Deb‘s New School commencement speech.
A new stage work titled The Source, which is inspired by WikiLeaks and Chelsea Manning, will premiere at the Brooklyn Academy of Music’s Next Wave Festival. The Source will feature music composed by Ted Hearne with a libretto by Mark Doten, whose anticipated debut novel, The Infernal, will be published by Graywolf in February 2015.
Capital New York reports that The American Prospect, which is now published bimonthly, will likely reinvent itself as a quarterly for financial reasons.
Electric Literature launched a new website this week, and has hired a new online editor, Lincoln Michel, formerly of the Minus Times and the author of Upright Beasts, a story collection forthcoming from Coffee House Press.
James Patterson has donated $268,000 to independent bookstores, including San Francisco’s Green Apple Books and Moe’s Books in Berkeley. This is the second round of gifts this year; all told, he’s spent more than $535,000. He plans to give a total of $1 million.
Salon explores Amazon’s relationship to literary nonprofits, many of which rely on the company for key funding. A number of the organizations that Salon asked for comment declined to respond—a “scary sign of Amazon’s massive power.”