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

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

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

Joy Rides

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In passing with my mind on nothing in the world but the right of way I enjoy on the road by virtue of the law… ––William Carlos Williams, Spring and All, XI There are no more guilt-free Sunday drives, no cleanly joyful joy-rides.  And maybe there never were.  Maybe

Fifth Chance at a Free Issue of Ploughshares

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W have another great back issue just waiting to be read this week, as a part of our free Ploughshares contest occurring in honor of our upcoming fortieth anniversary. Today, it’s the all-fiction Fall 2004 issue, guest edited by Amy Bloom and featuring stories by Thomas Beller, Debra Spark,