Monthly Archive:: July 2011

Lighten Up, Francis

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True confession:  I’m not a rabid fan of poetry readings. On one level this is, of course, fairly rampant hypocrisy, considering that I give readings and hope to give many more (and, someday, to be paid for some of them, but let’s not talk crazy.)  But on another level

The Chronology of Water

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The Chronology of Water Lidia Yuknavitch Hawthorne Books, April 2011 268 pages $15.95 “Little tragedies are difficult to keep straight,” writes Lidia Yuknavitch in The Chronology of Water. “They swell and dive in and out in great sinkholes in the brain.” The loss of her daughter, stillborn, is precisely

A Year Ago on the Ploughshares Blog

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2010 Amy Newman on Her Favorite Cashier and the Poetry of Everyday Moments July 27, 2010 In the Spring 2010 Elizabeth Strout issue, Amy Newman’s two poems, “Cat” and “Making Small Talk, the Cashier at the Grocery Store Inadvertently Creates a Religion,” illuminate qualities of everyday life that are

Free Ploughshares, Round Six: Seamus Heaney

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We’ve really enjoyed all of the great comments we’ve been receiving through this contest, and this week we’re excited to offer yet another fantastic back issue of Ploughshares to a lucky winner. It’s the all-poetry Spring 1984 issue guest edited by the Nobel Prize-winning poet Seamus Heaney, and featuring


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I am ready to launch my website. This is not something I’ve undertaken without long consideration.  After all, what does a website have to do with my writing?  Launching a website isn’t likely to lead me to write more poems – in fact, I spent hours trying to design

The Gambler’s Nephew

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The Gambler’s Nephew Jack Matthews Etruscan Press, May 2011 240 pages $15.95 Jack Matthews’ first novel, Hanger Stout, Awake!, was published in 1967, and his latest, The Gambler’s Nephew, is already the 23rd in his half-century career. Thankfully it’s never too late to discover a writer this pleasant to

Why I Reread “Leg” by Steven Polansky

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I return to “Leg,” a short story by Steven Polansky, in large part because I enjoy the way he covers my material—that is to say, the lives of believers in Protestant evangelical communities. This is not to say it isn’t his material, too. We can all write about whatever

A Year Ago on the Ploughshares Blog

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2010 Literary Conversations: guest post by Carol Keeley July 16, 2010 What is the writer’s process, and how can writers improve their own work? Carol Keeley uncovers a book series of literary conversations with older writers who offer advice to younger writers. Authors like Faulkner, Percy, and Marquez impart their

Once More, With Feeling, Part II

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Well, here we are again, and I’m sorry to say the blog has not been inundated with teachers explaining in great detail what they expect from their poetry writing seminars (looking at you, my people.)  Nor have students written in saying what their own most cherished projected outcomes for

The Ice Trilogy

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The Ice Trilogy Vladimir Sorokin (Translated by Jamey Gambrell) New York Review of Books, March 2011 704 pages $19.95 The Ice Trilogy, a newly translated work of fiction by Vladimir Sorokin, tells the tale of the 20th century’s tragedies and triumphs through the eccentric and abrasive narratives of—to be