For the Young Who Want To

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That’s the title of a poem by Marge Piercy.  It begins, Talent is what they say you have after the novel is published and favorably reviewed. Beforehand what you have is a tedious delusion, a hobby like knitting. It ends, The real writer is one who really writes. Talent

Nob Hill

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We’re in a crosswalk on the steep crest of Nob Hill, it’s late, and a woman passes by.  This woman is or is not attractive.  This woman is or is not an acquaintance.  This woman is alone.  In the crook of her arm she holds a gilled leather handbag

Why I Reread Patricia Highsmith

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I came across Patricia Highsmith like a lot of people in my generation probably did—through the Hollywood movie version of her novel The Talented Mr. Ripley. There are many reasons to enjoy the movie, from the brilliant direction of Anthony Minghella to the weirdness of watching healthy Matt Damon

“No Orangutan”

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I began my public blogging career (brief though it may be) last week with “Start with A”, suggesting that teachers of poetry—who are frequently poets—might want to begin at a more basic level than many of us do. That included beginning with the literal level of a poem, because

Old Poems

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Old poems in U-Store-Its. Old poems in leather-tied journals, on loose-leaf foolscap ripply with weathermarks. Old poems on public websites. Old poems in stacks by the printer, in hidden folders on crashed hard drives. I go back to my old poems with a dry suspicion, a parental eye, poems

What I Reread: Something Wicked This Way Comes

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I’m not the world’s biggest fan of Ray Bradbury, or sci-fi in general (though I respect it plenty—its speculation on the future, its persistent social commentary, its relentless and somehow familiar glandular imagining). But every fall when I pick up Something Wicked This Way Comes, I feel the way

Teaching Poetry: Starting with A

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Our third guest blogger, Catherine Carter, is a poet whose poem “Arson in Ladytown” appears in our Spring 2011 edited by Colm Toibin.  Catherine will post on Fridays through August. Hello, Ploughshares readers—it’s my pleasure and privilege to be blogging here for the first time, and as you might

Rain

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Peter Kline, our second guest blogger, will post on Wednesdays through August.  Peter’s poems “Universal Movers” and “Revisionary” appear in our Spring 2011 issue edited by Colm Toibin. “For the rain it raineth every day.” -Shakespeare, Twelfth Night Weeks of rain here in San Francisco.  Pissing spritzes and forty-eight-hour

What I Reread and Why

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This week we welcome three new Get Behind the Plough bloggers to Ploughshares. The first is Angela Pneuman, whose fiction story “Occupational Hazard” appears in our Spring 2011 issue edited by Colm Toibin.  Angela will post on Mondays through August. When I started writing, one thing I never considered

Peace Out and Poetry Dialogue: Matthew Shenoda

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Today’s post is my last for the Ploughshares blog and it just happens to coincide with the beginning of Season Five of Friday Night Lights. Good times all around. Big ups to everyone who read my posts. I know they weren’t always directly related to the craft of writing,