creative nonfiction Archive

Review: A BESTIARY by Lily Hoang

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Not all rat mazes have corridors. For the Morris water navigation task, it is as it reads: a rat must learn to fare in water. It is placed inside a pool and must swim to the other side.

Reconstruction: How the Lyric Essay Rendered One Body After Trauma

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1. I didn’t start writing lyric essays until I found out I had cancer. The melanoma buried in my right cheek was at first missed, and then misdiagnosed in its severity. Clark’s stage IV, they told me. Likely in my lymph nodes, but they wouldn’t know until my third

Review: SUBLIME PHYSICK by Patrick Madden

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When reading Sublime Physick, the yin-yang symbol comes to mind, as Madden cites academic thinkers and essayists from generations past, alongside contemporary popular icons, usually of the musical variety, specifically his personal favorites like John Lennon and Geddy Lee.

The Autobiography of the Imagination: Toward a Definition

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The autobiography of the imagination writes itself, one could say. It writes every time we write, every time we dream or daydream. It is its own captain’s log, the transaction and receipt. It reveals the self to make the self into a stranger, twisting the I to wring out

Reading Across the Great Genre Spectrum: A Cheat Sheet for Transliterary Consumption

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When I teach creative writing at the college level, one of the tasks I always assign early on in the semester is to have my students pick out a short work outside (preferably diametrically opposed to) the student’s preferred genre, read it, and offer a brief informal presentation of

Impossible to Pin Down: Truth & Memory in Nonfiction

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Nonfiction as a genre confronts the discordance between memory—a slippery, subjective entity that can be the antithesis of truth—and actuality. Roy Peter Clark writes of the “essential fictive nature of all memory.” Mark Kramer and Wendy Call, editors of Telling True Stories: A Nonfiction Writers’ Guide from the Nieman

Daily Details Made Monumental

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Exterior details lend themselves to the interior landscape of a character or narrator. What one chooses to notice, how one describes an object, says more about the speaker than it does about that thing. A character who spends a whole paragraph noticing someone’s unwashed, unkempt hair tells the reader

New Ploughshares Solo: “Found Wanting: A Memoir of Misreading” by Robert Howard

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We are proud to announce the publication of our newest Ploughshares solo, “Found Wanting: A Memoir of Misreading,” by Robert Howard. The Ploughshares Solos series allows us to first publish longer stories and essays in an affordable digital format, then in our annual Ploughshares Solos Omnibus Collection. For more

How Narrative Nonfiction Keeps Me Sane

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Years ago, feeling creatively unfulfilled at my full-time publishing job, I took a continuing education class at The New School on pitching creative nonfiction to the glossy mags. Throughout the course of the semester, we worked our way through Robert S. Boynton’s The New New Journalism, which contained a