Monthly Archive:: February 2011

A Reader’s Crush

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Deborah Eisenberg.  Martin Amis.  Steve Almond.  Alice Munro.  Penelope Fitzgerald.  Jim Harrison.  Anne Carson.  W.G. Sebald.  Michael Ondaatje.  John Updike.  These are some of the authors whose books, in recent years, I have all but inhaled, many of them in rapid succession.  As I suspect most book lovers do,

Poetry Dialogue: Gabrielle Calvocoressi

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This week’s post was originally going to be about literary reading etiquette, complete with some suggestions for how to behave as a reader before, during, and after an event. But Gabrielle Calvocoressi read as part of the River Styx at Duffs Reading Series here in St. Louis the other

Interview with Olena Kalytiak Davis

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I don’t know how much needs to be said or written about Olena Kalytiak Davis: won the 1997 Brittingham Prize, lives in Alaska, post-confessional (blah blah blah), shattered sonnets from Tin House, Best American Poetry selection of “Six Apologies Lord,” etc. She also has some of the best music

Judgment Day: The Literary Competition

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Last winter I was asked to judge two short-story contests, one for my graduate writing program and the other for a local chapter of a national arts organization.  Not surprisingly, I was flattered and a little excited to have been asked to serve as judge.  What a novelty to

Jump Shots and Stand-Up Vampires

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The day after I played the best game of my middle school basketball career, I read an article explaining the physics of the jump shot. According to the author, there is only a two-ounce difference in pressure between a shot that hits the front of the rim and one

Interview with Rhett Iseman Trull, editor of Cave Wall

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I’m not sure the Ploughshares blog is the perfect venue to feature an interview with the editor of another literary journal, but I’m 100% sure that those who read Ploughshares 1) probably know about other literary journals, and therefore could (and I’d argue should) be interested in them, and

How False Is Your Reality?

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Not long ago, I attended a reading in Chicago that featured a talented Brooklyn-based novelist and a long-time friend of hers who had recently published a memoir.  During the Q & A session that followed their reading, an attendee asked the memoirist if she had ever considered writing fiction. 

“Oh, Indeed”: What The Wire Taught Me About Poem Endings

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Disclaimer: For those who haven’t experienced David Simon’s HBO series The Wire, you should probably tune out now and hit up your Netflix. Same thing goes to those Wire fans who haven’t finished Season Four. I don’t want to spoil the narrative arc of the season for you. *

Interview with Jennifer Boyden

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Before I even begin talking about Jennifer Boyden I have to hold myself back a little, and that’s because I happened to travel to New York in the summer of 2002, and I happened to bring with me a copy of a lit journal, and in that journal was

Best-Worst Enemy: On Publishing My First Book

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I had been writing fiction for fifteen years and publishing stories in literary journals for ten when Supriya Bhatnagar, the publications director at AWP, called me on a mid-May day in 2009.  Listening to her brief message an hour later, I wondered if some pages were missing from the