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The Lover’s Inventory by Cyril Wong

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  Cyril Wong’s latest book of poems, The Lover’s Inventory, begins with an epigraph by Emerson: “Poetry teaches the enormous force of a few words, and, in proportion to the inspiration, checks loquacity.” That this is the last book Wong may be publishing for a while is a pity

The 2015 Ploughshares Count

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Last year, we announced our gender statistics following the release of the 2014 VIDA Count. We’re keeping with the tradition this year, and are happy to announce our count for 2015. The gender identity, race, sexuality, and disability disparities in the publishing industry are concerning, and we hope that making

Do-Overs: Worth doing?

It isn’t cool to like archetypes anymore. Utter a name like Carl Jung or Joseph Campbell out loud at your MFA program and you’re likely to get a healthy dose of side-eye. Or, a knowing look that says oh, cute. I remember when I thought it was that simple,

Laughs Online

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In 2003, when I first moved to New York at eighteen, I remember reading The Onion at various coffee shops, clutching it in a mittened hand in Washington Square Park. The Onion was also online then, of course. It’s been online since 1996, which is crazy considering what the Internet looked like

Was This Review Helpful to You?

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Oh, where to even start? I wanted so badly to like this book. The New York Times called it “a trenchant masterpiece,” and it has blurbs from three Nobel Prize winners. So I had sky-high expectations. I anticipated a book that would change my world, that would help me

The Best Short Story I Read in a Lit Mag This Week: “The Know-It-All” by Jeff Spitzer

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Some narrators announce their unreliability in the opening sentences of a short story (see Matt Sumell’s “All Lateral”), and in this way their skewed vision of the world serves as a stylistic lead, drawing readers in. In “The Know-It-All,” from the latest New Ohio Review, Jeff Spitzer creates a

The 2014 Ploughshares Count

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VIDA released its much-awaited 2014 Count last night, contributing important data to a conversation that seems to have been getting louder over the past couple of months. The gender disparity in the world of literature is far-reaching, with every facet of publishing coming, quite rightly, under scrutiny. We at

Do-Overs: A Little Leary

Fox’s Empire really wants you to know it’s so King Lear. In the pilot, Lucious Lyon—music mogul, owner of Empire Entertainment and father to three sons—gathers his kids in the board room to talk about how he won’t be able to run things forever. “What is this? We ‘King

Social Media and Literature

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I seem a little less in love with literature because of social media. My apologies to the Ploughshares staff who have to Tweet about this post, but it’s true. For a few months I was an intern for an online literary magazine, helping with their social media. I’d done

A Knack for Names

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I once read (though the source is now lost to me) that the names of the characters in a novel do the work of telling the reader what world he’s in. Musicality, characterization, hints at a character’s gender, ethnicity, and social status—all of these are important in a name.