Solvitur Ambulando

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Guest post by Carol Keeley Solvitur ambulando–a phrase that dates to Diogenes: “it is solved by walking.” If writers had a flag, this could be its inscription. Feeling stuck or distracted? Stressed, uninspired, rageful, confused? Go for a walk. For more than a quarter-century, Schopenhauer kept the same daily

Mark Kraushaar on Struggle

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Our Spring 2010 issue includes the poems “Arthur” and “The Cat and the Fiddle” by Mark Kraushaar. The first poem mourns the slow loss of the speaker’s friend to anger, a revelation found during the pair’s walk. And the second deals with the common struggle of raising a child.

Ernest Trova World

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Guest post by Bridget Lowe I have always lived in relationship to the objects around me, sharing an intimacy with inert matter that can yield both exhilarating and excruciating results–plastic and primary colors make me feel physically ill (especially in combination), while natural wood or perfectly faded paint can

David Kirby on Time and Samurai

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David Kirby’s poem “Baby Handle” appears in our Spring 2010 issue. It transports us to a Samurai sword-fighting lesson in Tokyo, and introduces us to a teacher who reminds us that sometimes the idea “isn’t to win, / it’s not to lose.” Kirby centers the experience with Western imagery,

Laughing into the Abyss

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Guest post by Scott Nadelson My parents went out of their way to warn me about A Serious Man, the most recent film by Joel and Ethan Coen. They’d seen it a week before I did, with several friends from their gated golf community in West Palm Beach, and

In the Spirit of Catherine of Siena

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Guest post by Carol Keeley I grew up in small town in Michigan with thick-armed trees and noble Victorians, lush farm produce, a turn of the century Opera House. It’s leafy, kind, conservative, and typically Midwestern but for the blessed Adrian Dominicans–a tribe of women I sorely wish were

Behind the Scenes at Ploughshares

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Some authors mail poems on loose-leaf paper. Others are solicited by guest editors. With so many different voices collaborating on one magazine, we understand that readers and writers are curious how many cooks are in the Ploughshares kitchen. Here’s an effort at de-shrouding some of the mystery. How exactly

Doreen Gildroy on the Wholly Other

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Doreen Gildroy’s poem “Celestial Room” appears in our Spring 2010 issue. Excerpt from “Celestial Room”: I remember when I was four a book seemed from heaven and then, when I was eight, it seemed a field. It continues to explore and reflect upon the obsessive, captivating power of voice–be

The Art of Half-Hearted Hobbying

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Guest post by Scott Nadelson A good friend of mine has a theory about the fundamental difference between poets and fiction writers: Poets have hobbies and fiction writers don’t. He happens to be a fiction writer and of course has no hobbies. As further evidence, he names another friend,

The Conceit of Wisdom

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Guest post by Carol Keeley Garrison Keillor kicked the beehive with his recent death-of-publishing op-ed. The reaction was vigorously optimistic, with a little messenger-mocking. The backdrop to this volley was BookExpo America, widely described as funereal. As usual, I agree with everyone. Keillor is right that the era of