Reading Archive

What Do Taylor Swift and Faulkner Have in Common?

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Um, the answer is this guy. Hey Writing World, meet Amos Heller: The much-loved, many-fanned bass player for Taylor Swift. (And, ahem, for Ellery.) I’m introducing you to him because—(#truth)—Amos’ literary prowess would put many of us to shame. When I first I got to know Amos, he was always making reference to

The Books We Teach #2: Interview with Roxane Gay

Author: | Categories: Reading, Writing 2 Comments
The Books We Teach series will feature primary, secondary, and post-secondary educators and their thoughts about literature in the face of an evolving classroom. Posts will highlight literary innovations in teaching, contemporary literature’s place in pedagogy, and the books that writers teach. In the spirit of educational dynamism, we

The Courage For Compassion

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At AWP 2013 in Boston, author Melanie Rae Thon read the following during the panel “The Literary Legacy of Andre Dubus.” Ploughshares founding editor DeWitt Henry attended the panel, and thought the piece was so beautiful that, with Melanie’s permission, we are reproducing it here. —Andrew Ladd, blog editor In

“The Word River Doesn’t Know Edges”: A Playlist for Patricia Smith’s Blood Dazzler

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Patricia Smith’s Blood Dazzler, a 2008 poetry collection inspired by Hurricane Katrina, reads like a broken heart.  It is open and honest and raw.  The voices of those who survived Katrina, and those who did not, are both unspeakably sad and incredulous.  “Louisiana,” says one nursing home resident in the

The Books We Teach #1: Interview with Matt Bell

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The Books We Teach series will feature primary, secondary, and post-secondary educators and their thoughts about literature in the face of an evolving classroom. Posts will highlight literary innovations in teaching, contemporary literature’s place in pedagogy, and the books that writers teach. In the spirit of educational dynamism, we

Binding Community: North Branch Projects Turns Pizza Boxes into Books

Author: | Categories: Reading, Writing 5 Comments
It’s a digital age, but we’re still mad for paper! Even as readers embrace the connectivity and convenience offered by iPads and Kindles, there are still many good reasons to celebrate a book’s physicality. In Ploughshares’ Book Arts series, we’ll be looking at some of the artists, curators, and

My Ideal Bookshelf* (*For Today)

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The package arrived earlier than expected, its corners sharp, its weight hardbound. I tore open the seal and inhaled its out-of-print mustiness. This was the book with all the answers. This book contained all I needed in the world right then. Giddily, I flipped through photos of crosscut saws

An Interview With Aurora Anaya-Cerda, Founder of La Casa Azul Bookstore

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In an age where bookstores are closing, independent bookseller and former middle-school teacher Aurora Anaya-Cerda opened the doors of La Casa Azul Bookstore, in East Harlem, last June. I first heard about La Casa Azul through some of my online communities including Letras Latinas, VONA, and a small group

Gatsby and Locusts: The Daily Fitzgerald vs. West Prize Fight Inside of My Head

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When I was a child I had action figures. Articulated plastic made to look like men from television and the movies. To make them fight I danced them around each other until I smashed them against each other. I smashed them again and again. None of the grace with

How Much of Your Salary Would You Spend on a Book?

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Last year my husband, Adam Stumacher, and I moved to Guatemala so we could work on our novels. That was the plan. Our first week there, he worked diligently, often using Freedom on his computer so he could stay focused on his daily word count goal. Me? Not so