Monthly Archive:: February 2012

Five Books That Changed How I Think About Writing

Author: | Categories: Reading, Writing 1 Comment
The best books I’ve read haven’t just been good: they’ve changed the way I think about writing, they’ve challenged what I think a book can and should do, they’ve encouraged me to go back to older texts and read them in a new light. In short, they’ve not only

The Ploughshares AWP Book Review Competition

Author: | Categories: Book Reviews 1 Comment
There won’t be any book reviews on the blog this week, mostly because we think you should all be at AWP in Chicago instead, buying—and attending readings of—as many books as you can. More importantly, though, if you happen to be at AWP, make sure you also take some

William Giraldi

Author: | Categories: Contributors' Notes No comments
William Giraldi’s short story, “Hold the Dark,” appears in our Winter 2011-12 issue, guest edited by Alice Hoffman. “Hold the Dark” opens with this passage: The wolves came down from the hills and carried away the children of Chinook. The village lay wedged into a horseshoe beneath those white

One Man’s Approach to Writing Women Characters

Author: | Categories: Writing 11 Comments
“How do you write women so well? “I think of a man, and I take away reason and accountability.” – As Good As It Gets. The above, often-cited quote about how to write female characters is quite funny, but at least for me, not true. As a man, I

A Ploughshares Guide to #AWP12 Chicago

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AWP 2012 in Chicago is fast approaching, and boy, are we excited! AWP is an annual conference organized by Associated Writing Programs where writers, small and big presses, literary magazines, and writing programs gather to talk about writing, reading, and submitting. Apparently this will be the biggest AWP conference

Picking Up Where They Leave Off… an Interview with Randy Testa

Author: | Categories: Reading, Writing 1 Comment
Last week, I wrote about a disturbing trend I see in children’s movies. For this week’s post, I asked Randy Testa, Vice President of Education and Professional Development at Walden Media, to share some reflections on the process of adapting children’s books to screen. Randy Testa spent six years

Maia Evrona

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Maia Evrona translated a poem by Anna Margolin called “The Years.” It appears in our Winter 2011-12 issue, guest edited by Alice Hoffman. “The Years” opens with this line: Like women who are loved to the fullest and are still unsatisfied, Here, Evrona chronicles her experience translating Margolin’s poem:

Blurbese: “unflinching”

Author: | Categories: Book Reviews No comments
I think a lot of book reviewers were smacked as children. Some of them must have at least been bullied. How else to explain their admiration for the ability not to flinch? Just look at the first page of results when you Google “unflinching book review.” At the British

Things I Wish I’d Always Known

Author: | Categories: Writing 2 Comments
I was teaching undergraduate creative writing last fall, and toward the end of the semester a few of my students began asking me about how, exactly, one becomes a writer. They wanted to know what classes they should take, what sorts of things they should be thinking about or

The Last Holiday

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The Last Holiday Gil Scott-Heron Grove Press, January 2012 384 pages $25.00 “The first change that takes place is in your mind. You have to change your mind before you change the way you’re livin’ and the way you move.” —1991 We remember him as the bluesologist, the godfather