essay Archive

Review: A TWENTY MINUTE SILENCE FOLLOWED BY APPLAUSE by Shawn Wen

Author: | Categories: Book Reviews, Nonfiction No comments
If Marcel Marceau as a performer and a French man was cheeky, brilliant, and impossible, it seems no accident the title of Wen's book-length essay is what it is.

Sight Lines: An Interview with Poet Sandra Marchetti

Author: | Categories: Interviews No comments
Sandra Marchetti is the author of Confluence, a collection of poetry from Sundress Publications (2015). She’s also written four chapbooks of poetry and lyric essays, and she is a lecturer in interdisciplinary studies at Aurora University near Chicago. I interviewed her about her latest chapbook, Sight Lines.

On the Art of Perspective: Christopher Castellani & Maggie Nelson

Author: | Categories: Reading, Writing, Writing Advice No comments
“I want to tell you what happened on the way to dinner.” Christopher Castellani‘s The Art of Perspective: Who Tells the Story begins with that simple phrase, the driving force of storytelling: the author has something they want to convey. Which quickly leads us to the issue of how

Notes on the State of Virginia: Journey to the Center of an American Document, Queries IV and V

This is the third installment of a year-long journey through Thomas Jefferson’s Notes on the State of Virginia. You can read previous installments here and here. ** Query IV: A notice of its mountains Query V: Its cascades and caverns I walked into Queries IV and V thinking Jefferson

Reconstruction: How the Lyric Essay Rendered One Body After Trauma

Author: | Categories: Writing No comments
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

The Best Essay I Read This Month: “Good For You” by Scott Korb

There have already been many great essays of 2016, but what really stuck to me this month was Scott Korb’s “Good For You” in the Winter 2016 issue of the Virginia Quarterly Review. The essay spans a lot of life’s bigger touchpoints—cancer, spirituality, parenting, aging and the prospect of

“Sometimes she is a space” : Janice Lee’s Reconsolidation: Or, It’s the ghosts who will answer you

Author: | Categories: Book Reviews, Poetry, Reading, Writing No comments
Taking up the mantel of memory and elegy is no easy task, but Janice Lee’s new book Reconsolidation: Or, it’s the ghosts who will answer you embraces the ghosts. The text is not so much a reflection on writing, loss, memory, and death, but a twisted projection of those

Inclusivity & Authorship: Second-Person Pronouns

Author: | Categories: Writing No comments
Used poorly, second-person reads like a trope; used well, second-person as a narrative device adds inclusivity to literature, raises questions of authorship, and helps an author communicate politically-charged topics like globalization, race, and gender. Mohsin Hamid utilizes second-person in his novel, How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia,

Impossible to Pin Down: Truth & Memory in Nonfiction

Author: | Categories: Reading, Writing, Writing Advice No comments
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

New Blog Feature: Writing Lessons

Author: | Categories: Events 6 Comments
We’re excited to announce a new feature for the Ploughshares Blog geared towards writing students: “Writing Lessons.” In this feature writing students will discuss lessons learned, epiphanies about craft, and the challenges of studying writing. The exciting part of this feature is that we want to hear from you, writing