Monthly Archive:: June 2013

Fellow Mortals

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Fellow Mortals Dennis Mahoney Farrar, Straus and Giroux, February 2013 288 pages $15.00 In the wild, there are plants whose seeds lay dormant for long stretches of time, passive and unchanging, until scarified by a fire hot enough to breach their outer layers—and to ravage the landscape around them—so

From the Slush Pile: Readers Speak

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If there was a magic pill—you know lose weight, no exercise—to beat the slush pile and warm the hearts of editors straight to publication, I’d eat it and then dole it out to all of you. But we all know you have to do the work, show up every

The Crush Problem

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In my last post, I wrote about the Lonesome Dove Problem—i.e., my lifelong struggle to find a girthy novel as totally absorbing as Larry McMurtry’s masterpiece—and attempted to identify some common denominators shared by Lonesome Dove and a few other totally absorbing novels, so that I might be better

Episodia 1.8: Bromantics

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Call it phileo, call it friendship, call it brotherly love—any way you slice it, I’m a sucker for a good bromance. After my most recent post (which dipped a toe into the treacherous territory of love triangles), I started thinking about the other kinds of love available for us


Author: | Categories: Reading, Writing 3 Comments
In retrospect, I did everything wrong when I opened Emma Donoghue’s excellent story collection Astray. I didn’t check the author notes explaining the origins of each piece. I didn’t note the time: midnight. It didn’t occur to me that in a collection chronicling historical moments, there might be violence,

Writing Lessons: David Bersell

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In our Writing Lessons series, writing students will discuss lessons learned, epiphanies about craft, and the challenges of studying writing. This week, we hear from David Bersell, a recent graduate of the MFA program at the University of New Hampshire. David’s work has also appeared in Soundings Review, Volume 1 Brooklyn, The

Social Media in a Literary World

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George Bernard Shaw once said, “The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” Although the Irish playwright wasn’t aware of social media at the time, one could argue that his observation is even more valid in a time where we think more and

Ploughshares Fantasy Blog Draft Round 1 – Leave it to Cheever vs The Mighty Duck Palahniuks

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Editor: Robert Silvers Fiction Writer: Donald Barthelme Philosopher: Iris Murdoch Nonfiction Writer: Marguerite Young Poet: Paul Carroll Ghostwriter: Emmanuel Bove Editor: George Plimpton Fiction Writer: Kurt Vonnegut Events Coverage: Emily Dickinson Nonfiction Writer: Werner Herzog Poet: Melissa Broder Health and Living Columnist: Hunter S. Thompson It’s Round 1 of

Roundup: Is a Literary City in Your Summer Travel Plans?

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In our Roundups segment, we’re looking back at all the great posts since the blog started in 2009. We explore posts from our archives as well as other top literary magazines and websites, centered on a certain theme to help you jump-start your week. Summer has finally arrived, so

Writing By Ear

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A few weeks ago I was fortunate enough to attend a lecture by Margaret Atwood, during which, in response to a question about introducing students to literature, she emphasized the importance of storytelling. Not story reading. Storytelling. Stories are, she reminded us, “scores for the voice.” All those little