Power Ballads

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Power Ballads Will Boast University of Iowa Press, October 2011 160 pages $16.00 This post was written by Lynne Weiss. A lot of writers are drawn to music. There is nothing scientific about this impression, but I think there are more novels, poems, and stories about music and musicians

Free Ploughshares! Special Poetry Issue

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Free Ploughshares time! For this week, we’re featuring our Spring 1982 special poetry issue, featuring an interview with Robert Bly and poems by Maxine Kumin, Jane Kenyon, Donald Hall, and Sharon Olds.   To win this issue, simply comment in the space provided below with a reason why you

An Interview with former Ploughshares Senior Reader Kate Flaherty

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Until recently, Kate Flaherty was our Senior Reader for fiction. We sat down and talked to her over e-mail about literary magazines, reading slush, and her own work. Ploughshares: Tell us a little about your literary life – what were the first important books for you, when did you

Wunderkind

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Wunderkind Nikolai Grozni Free Press, September 2011 289 pages $24.00 Anger, sarcasm, and longing fuel Nikolai Grozni’s autobiographical novel Wunderkind, set in the late 1980s in a communist Sofia that is stony, backlit red. Crows and ravens populate a landscape overwhelmed with death; necrologies are tacked to trees and

Innovators in Lit #8: Dalkey Archive Press

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It’s hard for me to give a succinct introduction to Dalkey, as they are one of my all-time favorite publishers, so I’m going to keep it brief: if you don’t have any Dalkey books on your shelves, run, don’t walk. They will set your world on fire. Associate Director

Non-Writing Things that Nevertheless Help Me Write: The Boston Red Sox

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When I told a friend my idea for these posts, she said, “That’s great. Post 1: beer. Post 2: scotch.” This rather snarky answer actually reinforced one of my goals for these admittedly egotistical pieces: All writers have their crutches and vices, and while alcohol is often one of

Rust Fish

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Rust Fish Maya Jewell Zeller Lost Horse Press, April 2011 77 pages $15.00 Maya Jewell Zeller’s bio tells us that she was “Born at home in the upstairs apartment of her parents’ gas station on the Oregon coast,” and this half-sentence provides exactly enough information to authenticate the stories

Free Ploughshares, featuring Yusef Komunyakaa

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It’s time for our weekly free Ploughshares contest! This week, we’re featuring our Spring 1997 issue, guest-edited by Yusef Komunyakaa and featuring work by Mark Doty, Marilyn Hacker, and Martin Espada. Interestingly, it also features a story by Carolyn Ferrell, whose short story collection Don’t Erase Me was accidentally

Silver Sparrow

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Silver Sparrow Tayari Jones Algonquin Books, May 2011 $19.95 352 pages This post was written by Margaret LaFleur. Reading Silver Sparrow, Tayari Jones’s latest novel, is much like playing a child’s memory card game. The cards are placed face down in front of you, and each turn you flip

Innovators in Lit #7: Matt Bell

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Matt Bell is an editor at Dzanc Books, where his duties include running the literary magazine The Collagist. He’s the author of How They Were Found (2010) and Cataclysm Baby (2012), as well as three chapbooks, Wolf Parts, The Collectors, and How the Broken Lead the Blind. This fall