Author Archive

The Ploughshares Round-Down: The State of Poetry in the US

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Early last month, PEN International publicly condemned the killing of Thai poet Mainueng K. Kunthee. The poet had been shot to death on April 23rd, presumably because of his public criticisms of the monarchy and Thailand’s lèse majesté law.  Known as a poet of the people, Kunthee was immensely popular; his work “spoke of social justice,

The Ploughshares Round-Down: Hashtags and Heresy

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Hello again, Writers. So I was driving to New York City a few weeks ago for a conference at NYU, where I talked about the ways story and song benefit public discourse. To say I’d been obsessing over the political impact of storytelling would be an understatement. So maybe it’s no surprise that

The Ploughshares Round-down: Why “Don’t Feed the Trolls” Falls Short

Author: | Categories: Publishing Advice 3 Comments
Over the last two weeks, the internets have exploded with news about terrible comment sections and how to handle trolls. As writers, we know that since comment sections are where humanity goes to die (Ploughshares comments excepted of course), putting creative work online basically means exposing ourselves to the worst mankind has to offer. (Hooray!) Enter

The Ploughshares Round-Down: You’re Not That Busy.

Author: | Categories: Writing 6 Comments
Meet the Busy Brag: social media’s hate-worthiest addition to the human experience. I am important, cry the crafted tweets and updates, because busy. Did you guys happen to notice I’m busy? If not, here are some pics about my busy. It’s a good thing you’re not as busy as

The Ploughshares Round-Down: Ditch the Publishing Gods

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In mid-March, Time published the first ever in-depth interview with Jonathan “Jony” Ive, the Senior Vice President of Design at Apple. In it, Ive described the experience of working toward an excellent—and aesthetically pleasing—product: Steve and I spent months and months working on a part of a product that, often, nobody

The Ploughshares Round-Down: “Die Empty”

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If you’re on Twitter, you likely noticed that a new tool took over the twitterverse last week, allowing everyone to identify and re-post their very first tweets. My first? Ahem: I retweeted a friend’s observation that “The writers of the show He-man were frickin’ geniuses”. I mean, obvs my friend spoke truth. Still, by taking that

The Ploughshares Round-Down: Creativity Is Neither Magic Nor Madness

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At the end of 2009, I was hunched in the passenger seat of a van, weeping down a midwest interstate. We’d just recorded an album with a Grammy-winning producer, paying for it with months of fan-funding hype. And we were touring to promote it, planning to release it ASAP,

The Ploughshares Round-Down: Waiting on a Job? Grad School? Publisher? Wait Better.

Author: | Categories: Writing 2 Comments
Okay Writers. Confession: my last couple months disappeared in helpless Waiting: to hear from an interested publisher, to hear about grant funds, to get word on research, jobs, schools, where the hell I’ll be living in six months… It’s excruciating. And I’m not alone. Thousands of you are sending

The Ploughshares Round-Down: Hey Poets. Get in the News.

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YOU GUYS. On January 29th, headlines declared that a poetry-loving schoolteacher in Russia killed his friend for asserting that prose was “the only real literature.” (Read the (short) story here.) Um. This is not how you should get in the news. But neither is this: in response to the poetry murder,

The Ploughshares Round-Down: Why “Do What You Love” Is Bad Advice

Author: | Categories: Writing, Writing Advice 6 Comments
In 2005, Steve Jobs gave a now-famous graduation speech at Stanford University. “You’ve got to find what you love,” he said. “Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great