Guest Bloggers Archive

Hearing Voices: Women Versing Life Presents Marina Tsvetaeva

Author: | Categories: Writing 4 Comments
Up to the age of four, as my mother testified, I told only the truth, but after that I must have come to my senses – Marina Tsvetaeva I made an Easter quiche yesterday, and as I worked I thought about Marina Tsvetaeva, what I could tell of her

Gatekeepers (Part Two): why my pop-music philistinism makes me fear for the poetic canon

Author: | Categories: Publishing, Writing 8 Comments
Gatekeeper, seasons wait for your nod. / Gatekeeper, you held your breath, / made the summer go on and on.—Feist Here’s a confession, Ploughshares readers: I’m a musical dinosaur. I have an unabashed love for Green Day and Counting Crows, and I’ve listened to Wu Tang Clan’s 36 Chambers

Half Moon Pose and the Writer’s Split Consciousness

Author: | Categories: Writing 10 Comments
You can get into Half Moon pose in any number of ways, but here’s the sequence I like best: 1. From down dog, lift your right leg, inhale. 2. Step the leg between your hands into a low lunge, exhale. 3. Rise up into Warrior I, inhale. 4. Windmill

Racetracks in America, For Example

Author: | Categories: Writing 1 Comment
When I was writing Track Conditions, a memoir about my mostly drunken experience as a groom to Swale, the 1984 Kentucky Derby winner, a strange thing happened to my body—it went back to the way it looked during the time the book was written about. Through diet and exercise

Hearing Voices: Women Versing Life presents The Pomegranate Papers

Author: | Categories: Writing 8 Comments
As the recent VIDA graphs all too clearly indicate, there’s a wide disparity between the number of men and the number of women published in well-known literary journals. One explanation for the lack of women’s voices in literature may be that so many of us tend to our careers

Gatekeepers (Part One), in which I play my flute in a meadow and lament The Death of the Editor

Author: | Categories: Publishing No comments
Editors aren’t what they used to be. I admit that I don’t have much authority to say so: I’m young(ish), my editorial “career” spans a whopping four years, and I didn’t grow up with a quill-pen in the days before simultaneous submissions, hand-delivering my poems in the snow, up-hill

On Improvisation: a Farewell (For Now) to Blogging

Author: | Categories: Writing No comments
When asked about the experience of improvising Two Thousand Year Old Man with Mel Brooks, Carl Reiner famously said, “I always tried for something that would force him to go into a panic—because a brilliant mind in panic is a wonderful thing to see.” Panic (or, to use less

And Then We Came to the End

Author: | Categories: Writing 2 Comments
“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


Author: | Categories: Uncategorized 2 Comments
I’ve heard of a mythical thing that some writers get to experience: momentum. Like a heavy stone, a writing career starts out motionless and seemingly without hope of ever moving, but then it starts to roll, and, sometimes, builds speed. Momentum can happen to “good writers,” or so I’ve

On Quietness: an Interview with Brian Morton

Author: | Categories: Writing No comments
It wasn’t long into my semester in Brian Morton’s graduate fiction workshop at NYU when I realized that the understated manner in which he led the class was misleading. On the page, that same writer who led class so unobtrusively was one of the toughest critics I’d encountered, examining