” Lydia Davis Archive

Lydia Davis’s “Ethics” and the Instability of Logic

Author: | Categories: Critical Essays No comments
The short stories of Lydia Davis, in spite of their infamous brevity, often work on at least three levels. In the case of “Ethics,” a paragraph-long fiction that humorously interrogates the Golden Rule, the story works as a character study, a reductio ad absurdum argument, and a larger

The End of Things

Author: | Categories: Fiction, Reading No comments
Popular opinion says that during the holiday season, people either fall in love or reflect on their past year of life. Sometimes they do both, but it’s hard to manage these conflicting actions at the same time. One is active, expressive, and outward moving. The other is passive, observational,

Alternatives to Blast Open the Forms of Nonfiction

Author: | Categories: Reading, Writing No comments
Today’s nonfiction writers have at hand a number of forms other than the essay and the memoir. There’s the flash essay, of course, and literary journalism. Then there’s the catch-all form of nonfiction known as the lyric essay. So, what do they all mean?

Grace Paley’s “Wants”: Activism and Civic Involvement for Writers

Author: | Categories: Reading No comments
  After years of dodging PTO meetings and volunteer opportunities, I became involved in a school overcrowding issue in my town because I didn’t want my children’s class sizes to become enormous. The problem seemed simple at first, but soon enough I was attending school committee meetings, spending hours

The Ploughshares Round-Down: Why Louie Is Like Great Literature

Author: | Categories: Uncategorized No comments
Tasha Golden is on vacation from the blog this week, so covering for her on the Round-Down today is the writer Gila Lyons. Gila’s work has appeared in Salon, The Millions, The Morning News, Tablet, The Forward, The NY Press, The Faster Times, The Berkshire Review, and other publications. She lives in Boston,

Get Real! Or Maybe Don’t Get Real? A Conversation with Lincoln Michel (Part 2)

Author: | Categories: Reading, Writing No comments
Recently, on social media, Gigantic magazine editor Lincoln Michel questioned the label of “realism.” I write “realism,” and I’m branching into other genres, so I introduced myself and asked a few more questions. Our conversation, conducted over e-mail, spanned several days, topics, and now two blog entries for Ploughshares. Lincoln Michel’s fiction