Charles Baxter Archive

Sudden, Gradual Change

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I had been trying to get my 4-year-old daughter to put her face in the water at the pool for two years before she just suddenly did it one day—one night, really, near the end of this summer, the light dying, the rest of us standing poolside with our

Killing the Messenger: A Dual Interview with Charles Baxter and Viet Thanh Nguyen on the Importance and the Stigma of Didactic (APIA) Fiction

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Inside the craft-obsessed, time-warped fiction workshop where literary realism has reigned supreme forever, the Show-Don’t-Tell maxim serves an important function in critique.

Stories Strangely Told: Lore Segal’s “At Whom the Dog Barks”

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Lore Segal’s “At Whom the Dog Barks” is not so much concerned with cause and effect as it’s concerned with coincidence and pattern. Or perhaps coincidence is the name for cause and effect outside the realm of human perception.

What Writers Can Learn From Visual Artists About Patterns & Meaning

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Patterns are everywhere and we rely on them to understand ourselves and the world. Theoretical physicists and cosmologists attempt to unlock the mysteries of our existence by searching for patterns. Behavioral scientists, psychologists, psychobiologists, criminologists, sociologist and cognitive scientists seek insight into human nature by studying patterns.

An Interview with Jennine Capo Crucet

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I first met Jennine on the dance floor in a barn on a summer night at Breadloaf. Or at least I like to remember it that way. She’s an electric person, both in the flesh and on the page. She says the unexpected, and also the uncomfortable and necessary. She’s

The Magic of Objects

Author: | Categories: Writing 2 Comments
“I would say that the moment an object appears in a narrative,” Italo Calvino writes, in Six Memos for the New Millennium, “it is charged with a special force and becomes like the pole of a magnetic field, a knot in the network of invisible relationships. The symbolism of

One Year In—Writing the Novel: Dean Bakopoulos

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After one year of writing my novel, I took stock of what I’d accomplished—which seemed like very little. Would writing always feel like flailing? How do novelists find their way through? For guidance, I turned to published novelists, whose interviews are presented in One Year In: Writing the Novel. Today’s novelist is Dean

Awards to Ploughshares Writers

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Our congratulations to the following Ploughshares writers who work has been selected for these anthologies: Best Stories: Jamie Quatro’s story “Sinkhole,” from the Spring 2012 issue edited by Nick Flynn, will appear in O. Henry Prize Stories 2013, selected by a prize jury of Lauren Groff, Edith Pearlman, and

Finding the Essential in the Literary Midwest

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About a year ago I was invited to participate on a panel of writers to talk about how being a Midwesterner fits into my life as a writer. It was a tough question. I was raised in Illinois, but had just finished a five-year stint in Texas and was

A Q&A Between Former Ploughshares Contributors Ethan Rutherford and Paul Yoon

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This guest post was contributed by Ethan Rutherford. —Andrew Ladd, blog editor. I recently moved, and while unpacking my books I stumbled upon an old issue of Ploughshares—Fall 2007, guest edited by Andrea Barrett. I don’t always keep my old literary journals, but I’ve kept this one because it