Tracy K. Smith has been named poet laureate by the Library of Congress. Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden said that Smith was chosen for her ability to make weighty issues accessible through poetry. “These aren’t simple poems,” she said, “but they are direct, and you can get into them based on your experience.” In an interview with the Los Angeles Times, Smith said that she hoped to use the role to transcend the country’s political polarization. “We’re so much more important to one another as individuals . . . than we are as social categories,” she said. “It’s important to think about those sources that are saying, wait, you have a mother, and this is your relationship with her, this is what you wish could be different, and this is what you wish you could return to. I have a mother too, and she looks nothing like yours, but we can have something to say to each other. Those are the kind of conversations that art fosters.”
Margaret Atwood offers an annotated guide to season one of Hulu’s The Handmaid’s Tale.
HuffPost laid off nearly forty employees yesterday, including military correspondent David Wood, who won a Pulitzer in 2012 for his work on the site. On the same day, Vocativ laid off its entire text-based editorial staff. The website now plans to focus exclusively on video content.
The Intercept is conducting an internal investigation into the link between their publication of a classified NSA document and the arrest of alleged leaker Reality Winner.
In the New York Times Book Review, Adam Kirsch explains why the world needs critics and why politicians, like writers and artists, need to accept outside critiques—even if they don’t agree. “In politics, as in art, the right to criticize is really the right to make an independent judgment of reality,” he writes. “Democracy relies on a citizenry informed and active enough to make such judgments; in a democracy, we are all critics.”
Gabriel Sherman reports that Fox News has decided to change their network’s motto. Instead of “Fair & Balanced,” Fox will now be marketed as: “Most Watched. Most Trusted.” Sherman writes that the new tagline, which was coined by founder Roger Ailes, is “like the New York Times giving up ‘All the News That’s Fit to Print.’”