Monthly Archive:: October 2011

Innovators in Lit #12: Michele Filgate

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I first met Michele Filgate when she was the events coordinator at the wonderful RiverRun Books in Portsmouth, NH. She is now the events coordinator for the equally awesome McNally Jackson. In addition to her career in indie bookselling, Michele is an accomplished critic—she contributes regularly to Bookslut and The

The Importance of Community

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Initially, I think, the new writer figures they are committing to an Emily Dickinson life: isolated and lonely, accompanied only by a pen and paper. The life of a writer, however, has to be populated by others. It took me a long time to realize this. After college, I

This Is Not Your City

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This Is Not Your City Caitlin Horrocks Sarabande Books, June 2011 224 pages $15.95 This post was written by Hannah Gersen. There are no small epiphanies in Caitlin Horrocks’s short stories, only huge, life-changing decisions. In her debut collection, This Is Not Your City, her protagonists commit crimes, seduce

The Language of Flowers

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The Language of Flowers Vanessa Diffenbaugh Ballantine Books, August 2011 336 pages (includes appended floriographic dictionary) $25.00 Victoria Jones, the troubled heroine of Vanessa Diffenbaugh’s debut novel, has just been emancipated from California’s foster care system, after a childhood surrounded by “too many children and too many bottles of

Innovators in Lit #11: New Directions

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New Directions was founded in 1936, when James Laughlin issued the first of the New Directions anthologies, which introduced readers to the early work of William Saroyan, Marianne Moore, Wallace Stevens, Delmore Schwartz, Dylan Thomas, John Hawkes, Denise Levertov, James Agee, and Lawrence Ferlinghetti, among others. New Directions recently

Book Review Editor Speaks: Literature of Place

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In this week’s reviews on the blog, Claire Blechman calls Ned Zeman’s new book, Rules of the Tunnel, “a very L.A. memoir.” (“In the Manhattan version,” she adds, “we’d be spending lots of quality time in the patient-writer’s head.”) Julia Lichtblau seems to be getting at the same issue,

The Follow-Up: Josh Weil

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I’m going to be talking to a few authors whose first books I admired and see what they’re working on in terms of a second book. One of the things that interests me here is how writers move from a shorter form to a longer one. Talking about the

Literary Brooklyn

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Literary Brooklyn, The Writers of Brooklyn and the Story of American City Life Evan Hughes Henry Holt and Company, August 2011 352 pages $17.00 This post was written by Julia Lichtblau. Pick a published writer these days, and odds are strong their bio mentions Brooklyn. Historically, too, there’s a

Free Ploughshares!

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This week in our free Ploughshares contest, we’re featuring our Summer 1980 issue, guest edited by Gail Mazur and featuring an interview with Robert Pinsky, work by James Tate and Marianne Boruch, and a Richard Wilbur essay on Elizabeth Bishop. To win this issue, comment below detailing why you

The Rules of the Tunnel

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The Rules of the Tunnel: A Brief Period of Madness Ned Zeman Gotham Books, August 2011 320 pages $26.00 You’re Vanity Fair Senior Editor Ned Zeman. And you’ve been very depressed. You’ve gone through six therapists, done a stint at Maclean, and finally ended up taking the treatment of