Look2 Essay

The Regular Reading Period is open. 

This series seeks to publish essays about under-appreciated or overlooked writers. The Look2 essay should take stock of a writer’s entire oeuvre with the goal of bringing critical attention to the neglected writer and his or her relevance to a contemporary audience. The writer can be living or dead and from anywhere in the world (if there are good English translations available). Essays should make note of biographical details that are pertinent to the writer’s work.

Examples of such essays include Stewart O’Nan’s piece on Richard YatesJoan Acocella on Sybille BedfordGore Vidal on Dawn Powell, and Ploughshares’ DeWitt Henry on Brian Moore.

We accept Look2 essay queries during our regular reading period, open from June 1 to January 15 at noon EST.


Manuscript Guidelines

We will only accept queries for this series–not completed essays. Queries should be 1-2 pages and should include some details about the subject, how you plan to organize your discussion, and why you are particularly suited to write the piece.

Cover Letters

We encourage you to include a short cover letter with your submission. It should reference:

  • Major publications and awards.
  • Any association or past correspondence with a guest or staff editor.
  • Past publication in Ploughshares.
Contributor Honorarium

Payment is upon publication:

  • $45/printed page, $90 minimum per title, $450 maximum per author.
  • Two contributor copies of the issue.
  • A one-year subscription.
Simultaneous vs. Multiple Submissions

We do not consider multiple submissions, so please send only one query at a time, either by mail or online. Do not send a second submission until you have heard about the first. Simultaneous submissions to other journals are welcome as long as they are identified as such and we are notified immediately upon acceptance elsewhere.

If you are working on submissions with an agent, or are an agent submitting work on behalf of an author, please read our note on simultaneous submissions with an agent.


Submit Online

Submit via our online submission manager

If this is your first time submitting, you will need to create an account before uploading your document. To do this, click “My Account” at the top right corner of this page. To submit, all users must be logged in. We will only accept queries submitted through our website. Do not e-mail or mail us your queries.

  • There is no fee for online submissions to the Look2 series.*
  • Upload your submission as a Word (.doc, .docx), rich-text format (.rtf) file, or PDF. No .Pages, .txt, or Open Office Documents.
  • Upload only one file containing a 1-2 page query.
  • Type or paste your cover letter into the provided “Cover Letter” field.
  • From the drop-down genre menu, be sure to select the appropriate genre of the work you are submitting. Please select “Look2” for Look2 queries.

*The fee on the submission manager page indicates that a $3.75 submission fee is required; once you select “Add to Cart,” your cart will reflect a $0 balance.

Accessing Your Submissions

You can view the status of your current submission as well as a list of your past submissions at any time by logging in to your account and clicking “My Submissions.”

Notifications and Queries

Your query will be reviewed in a timely manner. Please wait to receive a response before attempting to submit another query. Please note that the submission manager will only allow you to have one active submission at any time, and this includes submissions of poetry, fiction, or nonfiction. If you would like to withdraw your submission, please email us.