Being Published, and Then…

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Guest post by Fan Wu We’re all familiar with Anna Karenina’s famous opening: “All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.” It applies to authorship, too. All unpublished writers are alike–wanting to be published; each published writer is unhappy in his or her

The Lure of Nostalgia

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Guest post by Megan Mayhew Bergman “You can’t go […] back home to places in the country, back home to the old forms and systems of things which once seemed everlasting but which are changing all the time — back home to the escapes of Time and Memory.” –

Your Misery, Your Morphia: Thoughts on Charles Baxter and “Spiritual” Fiction

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Guest post by Greg Schutz In “Gershwin’s Second Prelude,” the first story in Charles Baxter‘s first book, the 1984 collection Harmony of the World, the elderly piano instructor Madame Gutowski leans back to admonish Kate, her pupil. “Now listen,” she says. “You children think you are so new with

E-books? E-books!

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Guest post by Fan Wu Larry, a retired history professor and a friend, emailed me recently to recommend a book he was reading. “It’s a must-read. I’ll lend it to you after I finish it,” he wrote. Fifteen minutes later, he emailed again. “Sorry, cannot lend it. I forgot

Learning the Taste of Stone

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Guest post by Megan Mayhew Bergman Donald Hall is a thing of beauty. I’ve had the pleasure of hearing him speak–seeing him speak–twice at Bennington. The second was in June 2009–six weeks after my first child was born, a week after attending my beloved mother-in-law, Anna’s, memorial service, and

Of Grape Gum and Glass Pens: Practicing Gratitude

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Guest post by Aimee Nezhukumatathil And so we have come to the end of summer, Dear Reader. As Fall starts a slow creep here through Western New York, my stint as a blogger for Ploughshares is at its end. I’m so grateful you’ve checked in on me here from

Back to School

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Guest post by Aimee Nezhukumatathil Dear Reader, As I type this, I can see that the usually quiet streets of my small town are now full and crowded by trucks with mattresses tied to the roofs, the various construction vehicles that peppered campus are slowly disappearing, and our big-box

The Pie Plate: Serving up a Slice of Travel through the Haibun Poetic Form

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Guest post by Aimee Nezhukumatathil Dear Reader, I am covered in ice and snow for most of the year. But summers here in Western New York mean a bevy of fresh fruit from any of the local cherry orchards, blueberry fields, or strawberry patches. I live within five miles

My Meta Blog

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Guest post by Bridget Lowe I still remember the first blog I ever saw–it must have been 2000 or so, and my friend Adam had created a place online for his hilarious interpretations of interracial buddy films of the 1980s and ’90s. I was completely enthralled and mystified by

Look Twice: Announcing Our New Cover Image

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(This post was written by Max Kaisler, who just completed a summer editorial internship in the Ploughshares office.) When you pick up the Jim Shepard issue of Ploughshares this fall, the first thing you’ll see is this image taken by photographer-couple team Bernd and Hilla Becher. At first glance,