Six Advisory Editors Make Poets & Writers’ Fifty Most Inspiring Authors List

Six of Ploughshares’ Advisory Editors have been chosen as some of the most inspiring authors in the world in a list compiled by Poets & Writers Magazine. Cornelius Eady, Donald Hall, Kathryn Harrison, Philip Levine, Tim O’Brien, and C.D. Wright have all guest-edited issues of Ploughshares. All are bold, innovative, and talented, and most definitely deserve the recognition they have been given.

The list was made to feature “fearless, inventive, persistant, beautiful, or just plain badass,” authors, those who “shake us awake, challenge our ideas of who we are, embolden our actions, and, above all, inspire us to live life more fully and creatively.”

Congratulations to our wonderful Advisory Editors! The full list can be viewed here.

Stephanie Brown, Winter 2009-10 contributor

steph[1].JPGStephanie Brown is the author of two books of poetry, Allegory of the Supermarket and Domestic Interior. She is the manager of a regional public library in Irvine, California. She helps organize the monthly Casa Romantica Reading Series for poets and fiction writers in San Clemente, California, where she resides.

An excerpt from “The Census: 2010″:

Named after the Romantic poet who swam the Grand Canal,
The bewildered surfer lives with his girl, his boy in a duplex by the shore.

View the Winter 2009-10 issue here.

After the jump, Stephanie writes about the process of composing “The Census: 2010″ and “A Dear Devoted Husband,” two poems that appears in the Winter 2009-10 issue of Ploughshares, guest-edited by Tony Hoagland.

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Adrian Blevins, Winter 2009-10 contributor

adrian blevins.jpgAdrian BlevinsLive from the Homesick Jamboree was released by Wesleyan this fall. The Brass Girl Brouhaha (Ausable Press, 2003) won the 2004 Kate Tufts Discovery Award. Blevins is also the recipient of a Rona Jaffe Writer’s Foundation Award, a Bright Hill Press Chapbook Award for The Man Who Went Out for Cigarettes, and the Lamar York Prize for Nonfiction. She teaches at Colby College in Waterville, Maine.

An excerpt from “The Waning”:

When you’re sixteen with pristine nipples it’s hard to imagine

you’ll go a little bit blind one morning years later trying to read a bottle…

View the Winter 2009-10 issue here.

After the jump, Adrian writes about the process of composing “The Waning” andCountry Song,” two poems that appear in the Winter 2009-10 issue of Ploughshares, guest-edited by Tony Hoagland.

Jane Anne Phillips says in her wonderful little essay “Outlaw Heart” that writers were as children “too intensely involved, […] precocious […] in what [they] remembered, in the emotional burdens [they] took on.” I hope it doesn’t sound melodramatic for me to say that this was, anyway, always my problem as a child and still is: I pay too much attention to all the wrong things. And my eyes are always wrecked with this seeing and the worry that comes with it. Meanwhile I really agree with what Dean Young says in a recent Poets & Writers about “prescription and intention [being] traps,” so maybe all I can say about these two poems is that they came from a worrying-seeing place that wrecks me and that I hope it happens again, since releasing such feeling-thoughts does produce, for a second, anyway, a certain kind of relief from having to pay too much attention to all the right things, whatever they are.

Meg Kearney & Regie Gibson Featured at Concord Poetry Center

Ploughshares‘ author Meg Kearney (Vol. 27/2, Fall 2001) and Regie Gibson will be featured at the Concord Poetry Center’s Open Mic Poetry Series, 3:00 pm February 7, 2010, in the Emerson Umbrella for the Arts, 40 Stow St., Concord, Mass.

Meg Kearney’s latest collection, Home By Now (Four Way Books) made the Poetry Foundation’s contemporary bestseller list in November 2009. She has taught poetry at the college level and was Associate Director of the National Book Foundation, sponsor of the National Book Awards, for more than ten years. Her poetry has appeared in Ploughshares, Poetry, Agni, and many other journals and anthologies, and has been featured on Poetry Daily and Garrison Keillor’s “A Writer’s Almanac.” She is the director of the Solstice MFA in Creative Writing Program at Pine Manor College, Chestnut Hill, MA. Her picture book, Trouper the Three-Legged Dog, is forthcoming from Scholastic in 2012 and will feature illustrations by E. B. Lewis. A native New Yorker, Kearney now lives in New Hampshire.

Author, songwriter, and educator Regie Gibson has performed and taught in seven countries, most recently Monfalcone, Italy, where he received the Absolute Poetry Award for performance and writing. He is a National Poetry Slam Individual Champion, and has been featured on NPR and HBO. He is an instructor at Grubstreet, Inc. His work has appeared in a number of journals and anthologies, including The Harvard Divinity Bulletin, The Iowa Review, Poetry Magazine, and The Good Men Project: Stories from the Front Lines of Modern Manhood. His first collection of poems, Storms Beneath the Skin, received the Golden Pen Award. In 2007 he founded Neon JuJu, a literary music ensemble.

For more information, visit or call 978-897-0054.

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Ploughshares’ Winter 09/10 Issue Hits the Stands

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Ploughshares is proud to announce that the Winter 2009/2010 issue, guest-edited by Tony Hoagland, will be available for purchase on December 15, 2009. The issue, which includes work from writers such as Mark Halliday, Nic Pizzolatto, and Rebecca Makkai, showcases Hoagland’s taste, and, as always, the Ploughshares aesthetic.

In his introduction to the issue, Hoagland writes”So this issue of the noble Ploughshares, (whose name derives from its own countercultural game plan,) is full of scrutinizers, varnish-strippers, biters and scratchers, tantrum throwers, Missouri mules, and writers of exposé. You will find here a high percentage of aggression and hooting.”

Ladette Randolph, Ploughshares‘ Editor-in-Chief, adds, “As you would expect, if you know Tony’s work, his issue is lively, humorous, and touching.”

The Winter 2009/2010 issue is available for purchase here.


Tony Hoagland won the 2005 Mark Twain Award from the Poetry Foundation for humor in American poetry. His books of poems include What Narcissism Means to Me and Hard Rain. He’s also the author of Real Sofitikashun, a book of essays on craft (2006). He teaches at the University of Houston and in the Warren Wilson M.F.A. program.

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Lorrie Moore’s A Gate at the Stairs Chosen as one of the Ten Best Books of 2009 by The New York Times

moorelorrie.jpgFormer Ploughshares guest-editor Lorrie Moore‘s A Gate at the Stairs was recently chosen as one of the ten best books of the year by The New York Times Book Review. Moore guest-edited Ploughshares Vol. 24/2, a special all-fiction issue.

In an August review of the book, critic Jonathan Lethem called her “the most irresistible contemporary American writer: brainy, humane, unpretentious and warm; seemingly effortlessly lyrical; Lily-Tomlin-funny.” The novel stars Tassie Keltjin, a twenty year old Wisconsin student whose passion for life far exceeds her current abilities to live it. She takes a job as a nanny to an eccentric couple pending their adoption of a child, and embarks on an affair with a mysterious foreign student. Meanwhile, her younger brother enlists in the military after 9/11, causing Tassie to feel the pressure of both her family and her class upon her. A Gate at the Stairs is Moore’s first novel in over a decade.

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Linda Bamber, Winter 2009-10 Contributor

Linda Bamber

Linda Bamber‘s collection of poems, Metropolitan Tang, was published in 2008 by Black Sparrow Books. Her book on Shakespeare, Comic Women, Tragic Men, connecting issues of gender to matters of form, has been widely excerpted and anthologized. Her poems, stories, essays and reviews have appeared in such places as The Harvard Review, The Kenyon Review, Tikkun, The Nation, Raritan, and Ploughshares, which awarded her the Ploughshares Prize for her story “The Time-to-Teach-Jane-Eyre-Again Blues.” She teaches in the English Department at Tufts and lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

An Excerpt from “Tempo and Duration”:

Recently I attended a musical performance of which I heard almost nothing, which happens to me sometimes. The rest of the audience applauded wildly, so I guess it was really good. Across the curved, elliptical balcony railing I could see a man my father’s age who had heard every note.

View the Winter ’09-’10 issue here.

After the jump, Linda writes about the process of composing Tempo and Duration, a poem that appears in the Winter 2009-10 issue of Ploughshares, guest-edited by Tony Hoagland.

“Tempo and Duration”

Often things start for me with a connection between a “this” and a “that.” In this case, what moved me to sit on the floor of the gallery at the Met and take out my notebook was a connection in my mind between my father looking at art and the older gent I had seen taking in the music at the concert. Any mention of my father tends to remind me of his absence from this earth; and the occasion of the concert was also a sad story; so this piece began in an elegiac mode. (Its working title was “Endings.”) But as the narrative developed it seemed to include experiences whose endings were not their most notable feature–and not, in any case, particularly sad. Once I realized that the essay was more about tempo and duration than about loss, I found a lighter tone, letting go of some sadness and including some mildly comic moments (e.g., the guards shooing me out at the end of the day). I was pleased to find the final line, “There’s always another bus,” which in effect says the opposite of what I started out to say. I was pleased to arrive at an ending that says nothing really ends.

James Arthur, Winter 2009-10 Contributor

James Arthur‘s writing has appeared in The New Yorker, The New Republic, Shenandoah, and The Southern Review. He has received the Amy Lowell Travelling Poetry Scholarship, a Stegner Fellowship, and the Discovery/The Nation Prize, as well as fellowships to Yaddo and the MacDowell Colony. He currently lives in St. Louis.

View the Winter ’09-’10 issue here.

After the jump, James writes about the process of composing “On a Line by W. H. Auden,” a poem that appears in the Winter 2009-10 issue of Ploughshares, guest-edited by Tony Hoagland.

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