Longform Archive

The Power of Reading About Your Home

Jaquira Díaz’s 2019 memoir resonated deeply with me in a way that a bronzed Al Pacino never could, and that a book never had.

The Trials of Migraineurs

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I can understand why Roland Barthes, like many others, may have second-guessed the veracity of his migraines, this extreme—invisible—pain. Even with the blinds drawn, lying on my bed with a cold washcloth across my forehead, I wonder if what I am feeling is real.

Reading Know My Name and Things We Didn’t Talk About When I Was a Girl

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New memoirs by Chanel Miller and Jeannie Vanasco are about their rapes, but also about what it means to move through this world in a woman’s body. What has happened to Miller’s body and to Vanasco’s body connects them with millions of women globally and across time.

Writing Racist Characters

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There are uniquely white stories that all white people know intimately, and that we aren’t telling: stories of white people perpetrating racism.

Revisiting James Wright’s Shall We Gather at the River at Fifty-One

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It is an understatement to say that Wright’s fourth collection had its work cut out for it, and it is no surprise the reception of the book was dramatically and passionately mixed.

“I Refuse to Review”: Literary Criticism and Kim Hyesoon’s Autobiography of Death

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Kim Hyesoon’s poetry collection recognizes the necessity of tracing lives erased and extinguished by political repression, patriarchy, and capitalist imperialism.

Dirty Realism, Veteran Transition, and Contemporary War Literature

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Somewhere between “fiction” and “nonfiction” sits the military veteran, pen and paper in hand, wondering why they lived while their friends died.

Passing

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Edith Maud and Winnifred Eaton, sisters from the turn of the century, dealt with racial ambiguity throughout their lives, learning to navigate how others interpreted them in vastly different ways.

Living in Multiple Worlds: Immigration in Lucky Boy and The House of Broken Angels

When you immigrate, you bring an entire world along with you, a fifth limb impossible to detach, though internal and external forces demand its removal. Immigrants enter into a state of constant negotiation, deliberating what stays and what goes within their sociopolitical space.

The Other America

As Claudia Rankine’s new play The White Card premieres at Boston’s Paramount Theatre, Ploughshares is proud to publish Catina Bacote’s “The Other America,” which investigates police brutality and the failure of community policing in New Haven, Connecticut, discussing Rankine’s Citizen in relation to the author’s experiences.