Monday, February 23, 2015

Between the Lines: Literary Citizenship

by Zinta Aistars

Between the Lines is my weekly radio show about books and writers with a Michigan connection. It airs every Tuesday at 7:50 a.m., 11:55 a.m., and 4:20 p.m., on WMUK 102.1 FM, southwest Michigan's NPR affiliate. I am the host of Between the Lines.

This week's guest: Lori A. May.

Lori May

When Lori May moved from her native Canada to Detroit she became keenly aware of her need to be involved in her new literary community. May takes the responsibility of being what she calls a "literary citizen" seriously. In fact, during her years living in Detroit (she now resides in the Pacific Northwest), May wrote The Write Crowd: Literary Citizenship and the Writing Life (Bloomsbury, 2015), exploring what it means to be a literary citizen.
“It’s the buzzword right now,” says May. “But literary citizenship goes back centuries to Walt Whitman, the people’s poet, and probably before that. Literary citizenship is how writers and readers engage in the community to the betterment of the community.”
Credit Bloomsbury Press
May says that engagement can happen in several ways. Writers can mentor other writers. Writers and readers can review books as a way of supporting and promoting literature, especially new literature by unknown writers. Local academics can hold literary events. And everyone can shop for books at their independent bookseller.
Even if there isn't an independent bookstore in a 50-mile radius, May says, “That’s the wonderful thing about the Internet. You can shop independent booksellers’ websites. Most offer shipping across the country, and many across the world, so you can still support the independent bookseller.”
May says, “Readers can be the best literary citizens in waiting. It is the reader excited about a literary discovery who ...

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