Monthly Archive:: April 2012

Gatekeepers (Part Three), on comparing apples to desperate, near-extinct marsupials braving the Pacific in coconut dinghies

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At its most basic, a literary editor’s job is a series of “either/or” decisions, or a long and hopefully-not-very-drunken game of “would you rather”: the editor takes a stack of poems/stories/essays and weighs them against each other to choose what gets published and what does not. This is the

The Death of Poetry?

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  With Easter and Passover falling early in April, Poetry Month began in full earnest later than usual here in New York City, about the middle of the month. While some continue to wait their turns in line to decry the end of poetry in these United States, the

Women in Trouble: Clover Adams

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Clover Adams: A Gilded and Heartbreaking Life Natalie Dykstra Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, February 2012 336 pages $26.00 Clover Adams, best known as the genteel and witty wife of nineteenth century writer Henry Adams, was a hobbyist photographer who killed herself at age forty-two by drinking her chemical developer. However,

A Night at the Pub

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Last Friday was Ploughshares’s special 40th Anniversary reading at Joe’s Pub, in New York City—in collaboration with the wonderful Writers Studio, who were helpful and gracious hosts throughout. The event featured our fiction editor, Margot Livesey, alongside a foursome of guest editors past and present: Yusef Komunyakaa, Nick Flynn, Elizabeth

Book People

Author: | Categories: Writing 1 Comment
Apparently, E.L. Doctorow once taught a course that only had one book on the syllabus. The class read the one book and decided from there what the next book should be. If it was Jane Eyre, somebody might then suggest The Wide Sargasso Sea, which was a prequel and

Hearing Voices: Women Versing Life Presents Marina Tsvetaeva

Author: | Categories: Writing 4 Comments
  Up to the age of four, as my mother testified, I told only the truth, but after that I must have come to my senses – Marina Tsvetaeva I made an Easter quiche yesterday, and as I worked I thought about Marina Tsvetaeva, what I could tell of

Gatekeepers (Part Two), why my pop-music philistinism makes me fear for the poetic canon

Author: | Categories: Publishing, Writing 8 Comments
  Gatekeeper, seasons wait for your nod. / Gatekeeper, you held your breath, / made the summer go on and on.—Feist Here’s a confession, Ploughshares readers: I’m a musical dinosaur. I have an unabashed love for Green Day and Counting Crows, and I’ve listened to Wu Tang Clan’s 36

A Land More Kind Than Home

Author: | Categories: Book Reviews 1 Comment
A Land More Kind Than Home Wiley Cash William Morrow, April 2012 $24.99 320 pages I don’t want to obscure the issue here, so I will be brief: A Land More Kind Than Home is a book you will be excited to read—that is, if you’re still in this

Half Moon Pose and the Writer’s Split Consciousness

Author: | Categories: Writing 10 Comments
You can get into Half Moon pose in any number of ways, but here’s the sequence I like best: 1. From down dog, lift your right leg, inhale. 2. Step the leg between your hands into a low lunge, exhale. 3. Rise up into Warrior I, inhale. 4. Windmill

Racetracks in America, For Example

Author: | Categories: Writing 1 Comment
When I was writing Track Conditions, a memoir about my mostly drunken experience as a groom to Swale, the 1984 Kentucky Derby winner, a strange thing happened to my body—it went back to the way it looked during the time the book was written about. Through diet and exercise