Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Poetry Pairing: Let's Go For a Swim

Ploughshares' Spring 2012 issue is a stunner. From Jamie Quatro's story "Sinkhole" to Andrew Meredith's nonfiction "The Removers" and I can't leave out Mary Jo Bang's poem "Practice for Being Empty," this whole issue is a fire giving life to a tired campsite.

Lauren Groff's essay "Swimming: A Plan B Essay" is a brilliantly written piece comparing the process and passion of a swimmer with that of a writer. Groff writes, "Full immersion, of course, is the highest level of anything." If this essay doesn't inspire one to write, I don't know what else can. I hope you are as moved by it as I am. This one's going on my office bulletin board.

Bob Hicock's poem "Learning to Swim" came to mind when reading Groff's essay. Learning to swim is finding one's salvation, no matter how you look at it.

Is there anything else you'd pair either of these pieces with? What do you think is the most compelling part of Groff's essay?


  1. I can't think of a perfect pairing now, but wow, Groff's essay. Thank you so much for pointing me to it. Something I'll share with other writers and students. This process--writing--is so much like trusting our bodies on top of water, isn't it? Trusting that another stroke will keep us from sinking and instead propel us into some good unknown.

    1. You're welcome, Emily. I'm happy you're passing it on. Keep swimming. ;)