Not Unlike…

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The Blue Tower Tomaz Salamun (translated by Michael Biggins with the author) Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, October 2011 96 pages $22.00 Editor’s note: P. Scott Stanfield holds a Ph.D. in English and teaches literature at Nebraska Wesleyan University. Recently, I challenged him to see how many literary references he could

“Free Ploughshares” Review: Spring 1980

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Issue: Spring 1980 This is a review of a back issue of Ploughshares. The author won our “Free Ploughshares” contest that we hosted earlier this year and agreed to review his/her free issue. This post was written by C. Wallace Walker. Enjoy! As a child I fell in love

End of American Magic

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End of American Magic by Christopher Locke Salmon Poetry / Dufour Editions, Sept. 2011 76 pages $21.95 Arthur Miller may have pronounced the American Dream dead in Death of a Salesman, but Christopher Locke’s new book of poetry, End of American Magic, implies such a pessimistic assessment isn’t wholly accurate.  Like

“Free Ploughshares” Review: Fall 2004

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Issue: Fall 2004 This is a review of a back issue of Ploughshares. The author won our “Free Ploughshares” contest that we hosted earlier this year and agreed to review his/her free issue. This post was written by Julia Brown. Enjoy! In the Fall 2004 fiction issue of Ploughshares,

My Anthology

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After kindly reading some of my paeans to my favorite stories, people have asked me what the rest of my anthology would look like. To limit myself, I’ve decided to only include stories released since 1980, which seemed like a nice, round year, and I would argue that the

Blue Nights

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Blue Nights Joan Didion Alfred A. Knopf, November 2011 208 pages $25.00 This post was written by Jaya Aninda Chatterjee. “We tell ourselves stories in order to live,” wrote author and cultural critic Joan Didion in The White Album, her chronicle of the revolutionary politics of the 1960s and ’70s.

Winter Books: Anti-Beach Reads, Ski Reads, and Skillbuilders

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There are many different ways to respond to the weather that is bearing down on this part of the world. Alcohol is an old strategy; SAD lamps are a newer one. For our money, nothing beats books. Here is a wintry mix of our literary strategies for getting through

The Ecstasy of Influence

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The Ecstasy of Influence: Nonfictions, Etc. Jonathan Lethem Doubleday, November 2011 464 pages $27.95 Have you ever found, after a long trip with a friend, that you’ve grown tired of their voice? That approximates how I felt after reading Jonathan Lethem’s most recent collection of prose, The Ecstasy of

Innovators in Literature: Instant Replay, Part 2

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For my last ever Ploughshares blog post (double sniff!), I bring you Part 2 of the Innovators in Literature Instant Replay. Many thanks to everyone who contributed to “Innovators in Lit,” read and commented on the interviews, and helped spread the word. After talking to 15 amazing literary innovators, I can’t help

A Conversation with Jamil Zaki About Empathy and Writing

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I met Jamil Zaki at the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference in 2004. I had recently been in an, ahem, altercation, and the first thing that our workshop leader Daniel Wallace did upon greeting us was point at me and say, “So what’s your story?” After I sheepishly described the