* Lev Grossman defends fantasy literature in The Wall Street Journal. It's sad that the genre still needs defending (sigh), but he does a very good job of it. And not coincidently, Grossman's own fantasy book, The Magicians, is a wonderful read. (Link via Ellen Kushner.)
* Bret Anthony Johnson contradicts the standard advice and tells writing students: "Don't write what you know," in a thought-provoking, beautiful article for The Atlantic.
* Steve Silberman writes movingly of the last days of the Beat poet Allen Ginsberg, in Long Shot Magazine.
* Carol Ann Duffy, the current Poet Laureate here in England (and author of the gorgeous myth-and-fairy-tale inspired collection The World's Wife), has just published a heart-breaking poem in response to the recent riots: "Birminghamham for Tariq Jahan."
* And speaking of Poet Laureates, I'm thrilled that Philip Levine has been named Poet Laureate in the U.S.. I love his poems, steeped as they are in a working class sensibility.
* Fiona Dunbar discusses Cinderella in the Fairytale Reflections series at Katherine Langrish's Seven Miles of Steel Thistles.
* Andy Lechter revisits some excellent, myth-steeped books during his Alan Garner Season, and posts one of my favorite Garner quotes.
* Christina Cairns shares an intriguing work in progress at A Mermaid in the Attic.
* Check out today's postcard from those crazy characters at John Barleycorn.
* And finally, I love this post by YA author Sarah Rees Brennan: "Ladies, Don't Let Anyone Tell You You're Not Awesome," on her LiveJournal page. (The link came via Holly Black, from a good post of her own.)