Roundup: Social Media, Technology, and Innovation

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.

We featured a post recently about literary magazine approaches to social media, and it got us thinking: How are writers being innovative with social media and technology? Enjoy this multi-faceted roundup.

From Ploughshares:

  • In our “Innovators in Lit” series we look at lit mags, editors, and writers on the edge. Here are our interviews with The Lit Pub, featherproof books, and an interview with Dzanc Books editor Matt Bell.

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Roundup: Reading it By Ear

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.

We’ve had a few posts lately at our blog about the aural aspects of writing, so we decided to roundup some posts on the connection of silent, physical writing to the act of reading, speaking, and listening.

From Ploughshares:

  • 4808475862_01243f6740We recently posted Amber Kelly-Anderson’s “Writing by Ear,” where she advises you to play with your words, Seuss-like.
  • Thomas Lee asks if you should really try to recreate how people really speak with your dialogue – or if it just sounds fake – in “The Way We Talk.”

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A Second Free Ploughshares Solo for Your Summer Reading

Klopstock450To help you bulk up your reading list this summer, we’re offering you a selection of our Ploughshares Solos free your Kindle (or Kindle app) for the first five days of the month. Last month we offered you a free copy of Gina Ochsner’s story “Pleased to Be Otherwise,” and now that it’s July we have a new summer reading offering to bring you: Robert Cohen’s “Klopstock, or The Distant Sound.” In 1924, hoping to cure his illness, Franz Kafka traveled to a sanatorium in Kierling, Austria, run by a Dr. Hugo Hoffman. He would spend his last days there. In Robert Cohen’s story, we see the end of Kafka’s life through Dr. Hoffman’s eyes. The doctor attempts to decipher the dying man’s enigmatic communications, scribbled on scraps of paper, while being harried by Kafka’s friend, Klopstock, and a young woman who has fallen in love with the then-unknown writer. As the case progresses, the once practical and upstanding doctor gets pulled deeper and deeper into his strange patient’s world. Here’s an excerpt:

Oh, it was quite the party they had going up there in twelve. The beer, the wine, the sponge cakes, the chocolate tortes, the bowls of berries and bananas and cherries…sometimes Anna was forced to make two separate trips to the incinerator in the morning just to dispose of all the debris. And this wouldn’t do. Good hygiene was a fundamental precept at Kierling. Covering the mouth with a handkerchief, throwing one’s cigarette ends into the fire—such measures were essential for preventing contagion. We could not abide the presence of wine bottles, fruit peels or bakery wrappers, to say nothing of all those ragged slips of paper strewn about, crumpled and torn, on which the patient had jotted the newest in his series of baffling little notes…

A lake doesn’t flow into anything, you know.

And that is why one loves dragonflies.

Show me the columbine, too bright to stand with the others.

“I don’t understand, Doctor,” Anna said, when we examined these writings together in my office. “What do they even mean?”

I hesitated. Anna was a robust, green-eyed young woman from Sierndorf, a nurse of great competence, efficiency, and spirit. I knew she had troubles of her own, that she sometimes quarreled with the kitchen staff, or disappeared in the middle of her shift only to return an hour later, clothes rank with smoke, her fine blond hair flustered by wind. But she was very fond of the patient in twelve, and these cryptic little phrases of his perplexed her. Either they were too abstract and obscure to decode, or too simple—it came to the same thing. Like a puzzle she moved them around on the desk, seeking clarity in new combinations. And I was no help. I lacked the energy, the patience; ultimately I lacked the time. For me, the involutions of the human lung, the caprices of our financial situation, the whimsical truancies of my professional staff—these were puzzles enough.

“They mean,” I said, “that we have entered the final chapter.”

You can download your copy of “Klopstock, or The Distant Sound” here. Enjoy it for the month of July, and then come back for your next free Ploughshares Solo in August.

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

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 start making your travel plans. Intending to do some literary-themed vacations or road trips this year? Here’s a list of places where you can get your bookshopping, writing inspiration, and literary geekiness on:

From Ploughshares:

A while back we did a “Literary Boroughs” series of book-ish and book-y places around the US and the globe. Here are some destinations (in the form of a helpful itinerary):

  • 2036277618_912f1fcdacSince Ploughshares is based in Boston, we’ll start off with our lovely Beantown’s rich literary history (in two parts here and here!).
  • Head down to Baltimore, the self-named “The City That Reads,” tour its many bookstores, and brush up on your Poe history.
  • Fly out to Denver, where there are some great book events and nonprofit writing centers.
  • Head up to Portland and visit Powell’s, home to over a million used and new books.
  • End your trip in Seattle spending time writing at the many (many!) coffeeshops.
  • Need someplace further afield? Head to Berlin, Prague, Dublin, or Madrid.

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Roundup: Literary Father’s Day

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.

In honor of Father’s Day we bring you thoughts and considerations from the literary world on fathers: their influence on writers, some famous literary father-son duos, best/worst fathers, and Atticus (no need to say more):

From Ploughshares:

  • 3027420185_6ef72e4a97Joshua Howes writes on the inspiration of his father for his short story “Run” from our Winter 2011-2012 issue.
  • James Crews talks about his poem “My Father in the Rustling Trees” from our Winter 2012-2013 issue.
  • David Thacker used his experience as a first time father to compose his poem “Haloed Flotsam,” featured in our Winter 2012-2013 issue.
  • Check out our Ploughshares SoloThe Elegant Solution” that Jim Tilley wrote about his mathematician father.
  • Dani Shapiro writes about her grandfather’s life and influence on her essay “Evil Tongue,” featured in our Fall 2012 issue.

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Roundup: We Are Family

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 is here, and it’s the perfect time for family picnics, family barbecues, family visits, family… Writers, needless to say, have a long history of being inspired by family in many glorious and terrible ways. Here are some insights to remember (and some families to compare to) when you find yourself sighing heavily at the umpteenth outing.

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Roundup: Summer is for Lovers (and Writers)

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.

If Grease has taught us anything, it’s that summer is the time for lovin’, and if your inbox has taught you anything, it’s that wedding season is upon us. Here’s a roundup of posts about the often volatile, sometimes emotional, and ever dynamic relationships between writers, readers, and work.

From Ploughshares:

Our Reading Period is Open!

i1035 FW0.9The Ploughshares reading period is now open! Starting today (June 1), and through the rest of the year, you can submit your fiction, poetry, and nonfiction to us.

Called “a magazine that has published a good deal of what has become our significant contemporary American literature” by Literary Magazine Review, Ploughshares has published the earliest works of many of today’s most respected writers, including Thomas Lux, Susan Straight, Carolyn Chute, Edward P. Jones, Howard Norman, Melanie Rae Thon, Sue Miller, Mona Simpson, Ethan Canin, Tim O’Brien, Robert Pinsky, and Jayne Anne Phillips.

We encourage you to read our submissions guidelines thoroughly before you send us your work, but here are some things that you need to know:

For more information please visit our website. Happy writing!

Let Ploughshares Stock Your Summer Reading With Our Solos – For Free!

Pleased450Along with the arrival of bright days of sunshine, relaxation, and hopefully a vacation or two, comes the important question at the advent of summer: What will you be reading? We at Ploughshares want to give you some excellent pieces to spend your time with – and we want to give them to you for free.

This summer you can enjoy a Ploughshares Solo free on your Kindle (or Kindle app) for the first five days of the month, starting with Gina Ochsner’s sharply written story “Pleased to Be Otherwise,” available June 1-5. Meet Timi, an Uzbekistani finding his way through a world of untameable camels, dreaming of Evil Knievelesque stunt glory on his sputtering motorbike, finding solace with his friends as they go “Internetting” to find the newest videos of the Mexican soap opera they’re addicted to, all the while pursuing (and perhaps falling short) of a God that may be Muslim or Baptist. A brilliant, comic look at an almost unknown country and its fascinating contradictions. Here’s an excerpt:

Morning clarifies like a migraine: bright and noisy. Continue Reading

Roundup: Writers and Their Mentors

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. This week we bring you posts about writers and their mentors.

From Ploughshares: