Roundup: Summer is for Lovers (and Writers)

In our Roundups segment, we’re looking back at all the great posts since the blog started in 2009. We explore posts from our archives as well as other top literary magazines and websites, centered on a certain theme to help you jump-start your week.

If Grease has taught us anything, it’s that summer is the time for lovin’, and if your inbox has taught you anything, it’s that wedding season is upon us. Here’s a roundup of posts about the often volatile, sometimes emotional, and ever dynamic relationships between writers, readers, and work.

From Ploughshares:

Roundup: Now That You’ve Graduated…

In our Roundups segment, we’re looking back at all the great posts since the blog started in 2009. We explore posts from our archives as well as other top literary magazines and websites, centered on a certain theme to help you jump-start your week. This week we bring you posts about what to do now that you’ve graduated.

3075710214_e521eb2d4bFrom Ploughshares:

From Around the Web:

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Roundup: On Reading

As we look forward to updating the Ploughshares blog for the new year, we’re also looking back at all the great posts since the blog started in 2009.  Our roundups explore the archives and gather past posts around a certain theme to help you jump-start your week.  This week we have posts on reading.

We’ve been doing a lot of roundups on aspects of writing, so I think it’s time we take a look at the other half of the Ploughshares equation: reading.  A literary magazine, after all, cannot survive without a healthy readership.  Also, at a reading last week at Emerson College, Tobias Wolff said “All the writers I know are voracious readers.”  So whether you are a reader, or a writer/reader, here are some posts on the state of reading.

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Roundup: Writing advice, tips, and lists

As we look forward to updating the Ploughshares blog for the new year, we’re also looking back at all the great posts since the blog started in 2009.  Our roundups explore the archives and gather past posts around a certain theme to help you jump-start your week.  This week we have posts on with writing advice, tips, and lists.

Last week we saw someone tweet this collection of writing rules from famous writers.  We loved the lists of rules so much, this week we gathered posts that contain writing advice and tips (some in list form).

Roundup: Finding Time and Space to Write

As we look forward to updating the Ploughshares blog for the new year, we’re also looking back at all the great posts since the blog started in 2009.  Our roundups explore the archives and gather past posts around a certain theme to help you jump-start your week.  This week we have posts on finding time and space to write.

Some writers have the luxury of structuring their lives around writing, but most of us are juggling a combination of work, classes, family, and everyday tasks like laundry and taking out the garbage.  Our guest bloggers are here to help with advice on finding time and space to write.

  • If you prefer to listen to music while you write, you might appreciate Michael Klein’s post “Music to Write By.”
  • Finally, if you are someone who works best with a deadline, then you might be interested in National Novel Writing Month.  The challenge, to write 50,000 words in November, is a great excuse to sit down at your desk and work.

Image – Flickr: Nick in exsilio

 

Weekly Roundup: Revision

As we look forward to updating the Ploughshares blog for the new year, we’re also looking back at all the great posts since the blog started in 2009.  Our weekly roundups explore the archives and gather past posts around a certain theme to help you jump-start your week.  This week’s theme: revision.

If you are still a young writer, like me, revision may be intimidating.  More experienced writers may struggle with when to stop revising.  Fortunately, our guest bloggers are here to help!

  • For those just learning to revise or any who would would like to take a fresh look, Eric Weinstein posts about his introduction to revision (re-visioning a piece) and discusses the inherent pros and cons in “Which a Minute Will Reverse”.

And Then We Came to the End

That’s it,” my thesis advisor said. “You’re done.”

I still have a month left of classes, but with my thesis velo bound and signed, it’s hard not to feel like my MFA is complete. I’ve got a bunch of new writer-friends (having come into the program with none; most of my friends in college were engineers), a book-length collection of poems, and soon, a piece of paper that (theoretically) qualifies me to sit in front of a bunch of undergraduates and learn them a thing or two about writing.

Speaking of: I’ve learned a lot during my two years at NYU, and in keeping with the semi-literary wanderings Ploughshares has been gracious enough to let me inflict on y’all every Wednesday for the past few months, here’s a few of them.Continue Reading

Those Who Can, Teach

It’s a question every newly minted, card-carrying poet/fiction writer faces after graduating from an MFA program: should I go and teach creative writing to pay the bills and make connections while I finish my Great American Poetry Collection/Novel? Or should I get as far away from academia as possible?

I was lucky to get and keep a job at a company I really enjoy working for throughout the Great Recession, so I’m not inclined to head off into the wild blue yonder of postsecondary education anytime soon. The question does nag at me, though: do I eventually want to teach? Or do I want to follow in that grand tradition of poets like T. S. Eliot, William Carlos Williams, and Wallace Stevens, each choosing to make writing his life, but not his livelihood?Continue Reading

Exit Strategy

In six weeks, I’ll be done with my MFA. No more workshops, no more craft classes, no more hanging out in the creative writers’ house, no more external structure or deadlines. It’ll be back to the years B.P.S. (Before Poetry School): making my own schedule for writing, revising, and submitting work, and not being accountable to anyone other than myself.

I’m excited, a little nervous, and a little sad.

For the past two years—and for the first time, really—I’ve had the benefit of a community of working writers, a physical hub for my writing life where I can go to work on and revise my writing, and the opportunity to take classes with some of the most talented poets and writers in the country. While I’ll be glad to downgrade to a less hectic existence come May, I’m going to miss having all this input and reinforcement. Writing poetry is generally a solitary exercise, and earning my MFA introduced me to the social and collaborative aspects of the craft for the first time. Continue Reading

Pro Forma, Pro poetica

Some of you would accuse me of never having had any formal instruction in Latin. Some of you would be correct!

If you crack open an issue of a nationally distributed literary magazine these days, you’re unlikely to see a lot of traditional sonnets, villanelles, ballads, or other formal poetry that at one time dominated the art. Most creative writing courses don’t actively encourage the writing of formal poetry (or any strain of poetry in particular, which is probably a good thing), and few teach students scansion—the analysis and visual representation of poetry’s metrical qualities.

I think poetry suffers from this inattention, though.Continue Reading