Author Archive

Introducing… The New Ploughshares Blog!

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The Ploughshares blog has changed a lot since we first launched it in 2009. Back then, it was mostly a supplement to the magazine—a clearinghouse for announcements, extra contributors’ notes, and all the other little tidbits that wouldn’t fit elsewhere. Over the years we added more original material, too,

Are You My Mother?

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Are You My Mother? A Comic Drama Alison Bechdel Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, May 2012 304 pages $22.00 This post was contributed by Kim Liao. As a nonfiction writer, I envy visual artists. They get a palette of colors and canvases and, as a result, a vocabulary at their disposal

A Day in the Life at 826CHI

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This post was contributed by Julia Ventola. Tucked away in the heart of Chicago’s Wicker Park, 826CHI is a thriving non-profit writing and tutoring center, dedicated to Chicago’s six- to eighteen-year-old students.  It is a member of Dave Eggers’ national organization, at which, throughout the country, volunteers and staff

On Writing “Victoria Falls Hotel,” by Reese Okyong Kwon

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Reese Okyong Kwon’s story, “Victoria Falls Hotel,” appears in our Winter 2012/13 issue, edited by Ladette Randolph and John Skoyles. I first came across a mention of the Korean phenomenon of fake funerals on Alexander Chee’s excellent blog, Koreanish. The idea stayed with me, and I started to wonder

On Writing “Telemetry,” by Matthew Neill Null

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Matthew Neill Null’s story, “Telemetry,” appears in our Winter 2012/13 issue, edited by Ladette Randolph and John Skoyles. About ten years ago, I backpacked onto this mountain, the site of a logging ghost town, to do some fishing.  I hadn’t been there before and didn’t realize how low and

On Writing “Haloed Flotsam,” by David Thacker

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David Thacker’s poem, “Haloed Flotsam,” appears in our Winter 2012/13 issue, edited by Ladette Randolph and John Skoyles. “Haloed Flotsam” is from a manuscript about pregnancy from a first-time father’s perspective. My wife and I have two daughters, and when our second was on the way, the experiences of

Blurbese: “best”

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Santa’s not the only one who makes lists in December: come the end of the year, anyone who’s ever expressed a passing literary opinion has their own rundown of the year’s best books. But book reviewers rarely use these lists as an opportunity to promote the year’s objectively “best”

On Writing “My Father in the Rustling Trees,” by James Crews

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James Crews’s poem, “My Father in the Rustling Trees,” appears in our Winter 2012/13 issue, edited by Ladette Randolph and John Skoyles. This poem was written during my first winter in Lincoln, Nebraska—where it’s hard not to hear things in the endless, unbroken wind that blows across the plains.

On Writing “Visit #1,” by Afaa Michael Weaver

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Afaa Michael Weaver’s poem, “Visit #1,” appears in our Winter 2012/13 issue, edited by Ladette Randolph and John Skoyles. “Visit #1” is a result of a concern I had for my son who, at one point, struggled with issues that are prevalent in black urban communities where laws that are

On Writing “A Hologram State of Mind” by Maria Terrone

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Maria Terrone’s poem “A Hologram State of Mind” appears in our Winter 2012/13 issue, edited by Ladette Randolph and John Skoyles. As a poet and citizen of the 21st century, I have an ambivalent relationship with technology. Long resistant to getting a “smartphone”—sensing imminent addiction—I eventually succumbed, and my