Critical Mass

Spotlight on Blogs

By Rigoberto Gonzalez

I attended a forum recently in which MFA graduate students impressed upon the audience the importance of reading blogs as a way to stay in the loop and keep abreast of the goings-on in the literary world. And when I wholeheartedly agreed, I was duly asked which blogs I would personally recommend. I had to think for a moment and I gave an on-the-spot reply, but I promised to relay a more substantial response once I went home and thought about it more carefully.

Of course, besides Critical Mass—which is Number One on my list—the eight blogs I highly recommend are:

1. Practicing Writing

With thanks to the blog’s guru Erika Dreifus, who collects plenty of information about publishing opportunities and shares it. Truly, a citizen writer.

2. Hayden’s Ferry Review

Based in Arizona State University (my alma mater—go Sun Devils!), this is one of the two journal-linked blogs that does more than tout its own publication horn. The other is

3. Ploughshares.

It’s very easy to appreciate the creativity of the staff writers, who are working hard to showcase other writers.

4. Silliman’s Blog

He needs no introduction. He knows all. He reads all. He links.

5. Poeta y Diwata

Definitely a cut above, award-winning poet and political activist Barbara Jane Reyes gives readers plenty to think about. Whether or not you agree with what she has to say, you have to admit hers is a fresh perspective on all things poetry and beyond.

6. Tayari’s Blog

Novelist Tayari Jones has her finger on the pulse of contemporary publishing. She takes a classy approach to blogging and casts a wide and influential net across the blogosphere.

7. Maud Newton

Also a woman with industry savvy, Maude Newton gives readers an unforgettable reading experience, from funny to downright thought-provoking.

8. Galleycat

And of course, nothing’s wrong with a little dish.