First Free Ploughshares: Lorrie Moore

The actual issue you could be getting at your home. Includes desperate plea to be read.

This issue of Ploughshares from Fall 1998 is just dying to be read. Lorrie Moore guest-edited this all-fiction issue with tender loving care, and selected work by Mona Simpson, Robert Boswell, Charles Baxter, and Gish Jen.

Here’s a post on how this works. Leave a comment with some info on why you love Lorrie Moore, or someone in this issue, if you’d like the be the lucky reviewer of this issue. Tomorrow I will select and contact the commenter who I think will treasure this issue, and send it to them for free.

Fan us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter to hear about the weekly free Ploughshares as soon as it is posted, or subscribe to our blog feed.

UPDATE: I’ve made my selections, and so this posting is now CLOSED. We’ll be doing this every week, so there will be plenty more chances for free issues. Stay tuned!



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About Andrea Martucci

Andrea Martucci was the managing director of Ploughshares Literary Magazine from 2009-2013. She earned both a BA in Writing, Literature, and Publishing and an MA in Integrated Marketing Communication at Emerson College in Boston, MA. Prior to Ploughshares she founded a lifestyle magazine, worked at a newspaper, and edited a screenplay. Currently she is the VP of Marketing at AdSpace Communications, and can be found on Twitter @AndrejaJean
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8 Responses to First Free Ploughshares: Lorrie Moore

  1. dmg says:

    I “found” Lorrie Moore and Charles Baxter at about the same time, and firmly believe that the alternate realities of Anagrams and The Feast of Love saved my life. At its simplest, that’s how writing works when authors make it apparent that they love their characters.

  2. Christina Hitchcock says:

    Gish Jen was one of the first multi-cultural authors I introduced to my college composition classes when I started teaching 11 years ago. Not only did Gish Jen serve as an introduction for many of my students to multi-culturalism, it helped them to ask their own questions about identities – their own and those of the people are them. What makes us who we are is a running theme and one we never tire of exploring. It is the center riddle of our lives.

  3. Sarah Madges says:

    My roommate handed me Lorrie Moore’s “A Gate at the Stairs” when I said my brain was flooded with hyperliterate writers. She said Moore was a witty writer without pretension, and I’d add that she’s got a handle on pathos without the maudlin. No one else could have written that book, and no one else could have left me laughing, cringing, and crying the way she did.

  4. Tassie says:

    I got into Lorrie Moore late (A Gate at the Stairs). A lot of people hated on that book but I found it a worthy showing of her talent. From there I started to read her stories.

  5. Lynette D'Amico says:

    I am a latecomer to Lorrie Moore. I had heard of her, but I didn’t make an effort to read her because of several misapprehensions I had about her work: I thought she was a New York or a New Yorker writer. I thought she just wrote about unhappy straight women. I thought her male characters were clowns. I thought she had a preoccupation with dead babies. I admit that I didn’t know anything. Then I recently read “Real Estate” from her collection Birds of America.

    “Real Estate” is written from the perspective of Ruth, a woman married for twenty-three years to Terrance, a serial adulterer. Ruth has lung cancer and is in the third year of a five-year prognosis, which gives her a fifty-fifty chance of survival. Ruth is anticipating her own death, and while waiting to die, she and Terrance decide to buy a new house. Her husband sells her on the idea, “We’ve soiled the nest, in many respects.” The house they buy is a ramshackle farmhouse that needs renovation and is infested with bats, carpenter ants, raccoons, squirrels, and a teenage boy who has been living in their attic. With the encouragement of her friend, Carla, Ruth learns to shoot a gun at a firing range, an idea born of the ant exterminator’s suggestion that the only way to get rid of the crows is to shoot them. Intersecting with the story of the acquisition and restoration of the house, is a story about Noel, a lawn service worker whose girlfriend leaves him because he doesn’t know any songs to sing even if someone were to put a gun to his head.

    I love this story because Moore takes the already high stakes circumstances of life and death and infidelity and then turns up the heat with home renovation and infestation and singing songs at gunpoint. I love this story because Ruth’s response to the discovery of her husband’s affairs is to laugh, which Moore conveys with a page and a half of “Ha! Ha! Ha!” etc., which seems like the perfect excessive response to the excessiveness of love betrayed and the irredeemability of death.

  6. Robert Warwick says:

    I remember laughing out loud reading some of her stories in Birds of America, and finding myself close to tears with others. I like a writer who has the ability to make me laugh and cry. I bought A Gate, but have managed to overlook it again and again, having the notions she’s not going to eff with my emotions in this particular work.

  7. I have to admit, I am not a diehard Lorrie Moore fan. Though she is incredibly talented, intelligent, and witty, I often feel she makes her characters the butt of her own jokes. I am, however, a forever-fan of Charles Baxter. He is a writer who breathes humanity, nuance, and pathos into his characters, and watching how those dimensional characters propel plot upon themselves is always a revelation. Pairing his style with an editor like Lorrie Moore is an exciting match and I’m sure she could bring elements out in his work not normally there.

  8. Joellyn Powers says:

    I have too many reasons why I love Lorrie Moore, but the one that stands out most in my mind is her story How to Become a Writer. I firmly believe that no other writer other than Moore could have written a story so effectively in the second person and made me re-read it so many times that I could probably recite the first paragraph from memory. Moore writes with a flow that isn’t human, but in its “un-humanity” it illuminates the humanness in all of us. That’s why her second person works – because it’s us – and her- she’s writing about.