The Ploughshares Blog in 2014

It’s the time of year when I always seem to find myself saying: we’ve got big things in store. Last year it was our announcement that the Ploughshares blog was “becoming its own, separate creature.” This year, if you’ll permit a slightly hokey extension of that metaphor, that creature is shedding its first skin.

Contrary to what you might think, there’s not a Literary Magazine Blogs for Dummies manual out there that we’ve been referring to since we re-launched the blog last January—or, if there is, the Paris Review has been holding out on us—and so our first twelve months we had a lot of fun trying stuff out to see what our readers liked most. Admittedly, this process was not totally without principal nor totally scientific, but it has given us a better idea of what works in this format. And that means in 2014 you can look forward to more of our most popular features from last year, including Ali Shapiro’s comics for (and about) poets; Amy Jo Burns’s “Episodia” series; Lyndsey Reese’s “The Best Story I Read in a Lit Mag This Week” series; and Rebecca Makkai‘s always-hilarious musings on the world of writing and publishing.

If you’ve been following some of our more recent series, including Rebecca Meacham’s “One Year In—Writing the Novel,” or Gretchen Henderson’s “People of the Book,” you’ll also continue to find those here. And meanwhile, we’re giving some of our other series an overhaul—so you can expect a new regular writing prompt from our former book reviewer Anca Szilagyi, and more opportunities for you to contribute to the blog via our open calls for submissions: Writing Lessons, Writers and Their Pets, and our new feature “Writers Do It Best.”

Publishing the blog for a year has also given us a much better idea of what people aren’t writing about very often, so another thing you can look forward to this year is new contributors discussing topics that haven’t had much attention here before—such as Latino literature, courtesy of regular HuffPo contributor Daniel Peña, and sports writing, courtesy of regular McSweeneys contributor Miles Wray. We’re also happy to welcome another new blogger, Steph Auteri, who will be providing, among other things, book recommendations for all the non-book people in your lives.

Finally, we’re also excited to introduce our new, weekly column, headed up by our returning blogger Tasha Golden and our new contributor Eric Nelson: the Ploughshares Round-Down. In this space, rather than providing a round-up of all the week’s fresh and most talked-about links—an unwieldy corpus that frankly we get exhausted just thinking about—Eric and Tasha will trade off picking just one recent sensation from the bloggersphere/twitterverse/buzzkitchen, and discussing that topic at more length and in more detail. It may not help you keep up with everything the internet’s talking about from week to week, but it will, hopefully, give you something to think about while you’re at it.

That’s not all you can expect from the Ploughshares blog this year, of course, but as usual I don’t want to give away all the surprises. So come again, keep on reading, and have a wonderful 2014.

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