10.29.2004

The current issue of Ploughshares is edited by Amy Bloom, and worth checking out. In her editor's bio, which is partially conducted as an interview, she makes a genius case for why fiction is more relevant today than ever:
Even against the obvious backdrop of chaos in the world, she still believes fervently in the importance of fiction, refusing to concede that it has been outrun by reality or the ever-spinning news cycle. “The need to understand things that happen right in front of us is no less than it ever was,” she says. “And the capacity of human beings to understand and make sense of things that happen far away is even more pressing than it was because we get the information, which doesn’t mean we have the insight or the understanding. All of which is an argument for first-rate journalism, which I am prepared to say is one of the tremendous needs of our society, like clean water. But the fact that we have a tremendous need for informed and intelligent reporting doesn’t mean that we no longer have a need for informed and informative and insightful and provocative fiction. Do we have to say, ‘Oh, we need trees but not rivers?’
And, because I can't stop quoting this woman, here is more from her introduction to the issue:
A friend of mine finds out from her agent (her editor never calls) that her book, her fourth, has been dropped from her publisher’s catalogue. The work is too difficult. A writer I know is told, “How about putting in some dogs? People love it when you write about dogs.” An editor I admire, at a magazine I have long admired, says, “We’re just not doing emotionally complex work.”

All I wanted to do in this issue was to find room for difficult work, for emotionally complex work, for work that didn’t have dogs where they didn’t belong and for work that loved the word, as well as the story, and believed in telling a story that mattered, in a way that stayed with me, stayed with you, and didn’t shy from imagination or get coy about facts.
This issue includes fiction by Thomas Beller, Bob Bledsoe, Rebecca Brown, Ron Carlson, David Gates, Miles Harvey, Randa Jarrar, Rosina Lippi, Holiday Reinhorn, David Yair Rosenstock, Debra Spark, Jessica Treadway, nonfiction by Leslie Daniels, and more. Some of the stories and content are available online on a rotating basis, updated daily.

-Lauren

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