In 2012, we established Ploughshares Solos, a digital-first series for longer stories and essays, which is edited by Ploughshares Editor-in-Chief Ladette Randolph. New Solos are published regularly and are available for download on your Kindle, Nook, iPad, or Kobo.
Eight-year-old Leeza hates the boys on twenty-fifth street. Worse than anything, she thinks, after they spit on her and tell her she smells. At home, Leeza's stepmother shows her no sympathy, scrubbing her skin raw and ordering her to chew gum. When the teasing from the "beady-eyed" twins on twenty-fifth takes a dangerous turn, so does the tension between Leeza, her stepmother, and her father.
Colin, a newly divorced lecturer of critical theory, wants to spice up his life. He attempts to learn Russian, gives online dating a go, and even entertains the idea of becoming an alcoholic—but nothing sticks. So when two young women he’s never met before ask him to party, he ignores the red flags and climbs into their car.
When asked out by a pastor, the sarcastic narrator of “Confession” lets intrigue get the best of her and agrees to a date. The two meet at a bar and instantly develop feelings for each other. Between drinks, the couple gets into a lively discussion of truth, sin, and, much to the narrator’s surprise, sex. Will the confessions revealed over the night bring them closer together, or stop their growing attraction in its tracks?
Orphaned during the Siege of Sarajevo, Marina—now a teenage figure skating star—returns to Bosnia for the first time since an American family adopted her as a baby. Tag along with Marina as she discovers the true meaning of family, learns about her heritage, and explores the war torn city that could have been her home.
Addie doesn’t know who left the footprints in the snow outside her house, but she’s convinced it’s someone seeking revenge for the horrific crime her son committed a year ago. Follow Addie as she tries to uncover the trespasser's identity and come to terms with the actions of a son she loves but can’t understand.
It's been years since the woman in "Biting the Moon" has seen her former lover Felix, a famous, Oscar-winning composer. But upon hearing the news of his sudden death, she mourns his loss by revisiting moments of their former life. Jumping in time from the pair’s first encounter at an artists’ colony to their rendezvous in cities across the US, the path the narrator takes toward acceptance is much like the jazz the couple loved so much: winding, unexpected, and beautiful.
Izzy Gam wants to be buried on the Mount of Olives, known as "the number one place for a Jew to be buried," as the resurrection is supposed to begin there. Unfortunately, it turns out that his planned resting place is already occupied, as is every other place in Israel that his increasingly flustered family tries to put him.
In this touching and humorous essay, John Philip Drury recounts coming of age during the Vietnam Era. With a low draft number and an exit from college looming, Drury faces the imminent possibility of fighting in a war that he opposes. In the meantime, he tries and abandons a dream to become a songwriter, labors mightily to lose his virginity, and looks to the adult world around him for models of what he most wants to be -- an artist.
Amanda is living alone in the house where her mother, now dead of cancer, once grew up, when a Facebook friend request puts her back in touch with a cousin, John. After months of seeing his life flicker across her screen, she learns he has moved to a community led by a mysterious Jason Wilson. John refers to him as “one of the greatest thinkers of our time,” but his friends are worried that Wilson may in fact be a cult leader. Pressed by John’s ex-girlfriend, Amanda visits the community.
Sofia is in a rut. Her dissertation work is stalled, and her life seems to be one gray day after another. When an elderly scholar, Monsieur Charles Vinson, invites her to his house in Villeneuve-les-Avignon for the summer, cataloging his dead father's papers and writing, she jumps at the offer. There, she spends her days flipping through relics of the past century, burrowing deeper into the troubled history of the Vinson family.