Mysterious Moophy Sweezy

There’s a letter from DeWitt Henry to Paul Hannigan in the Ploughshares archives at Emerson College. Mostly just Henry worrying about what needed doing before issue 3/2, the issue he asked Hannigan to edit could be promised. Some money matters—“…since we lost our $5,000 state grant to Alice James, everything depends on the success of 2/4. I think the prospect is fairly definite that it will earn back enough ($3,500) to publish 3/1….”—and a few notes re. possible contributors. My favorite is this,
I might have had fiction from Gilbert Sorrentino on the line for you, but he sent me an excerpt for 3/1 I couldn’t get anyone to like, and he’s sworn off people who solicit then choose. Enough boring things at his age, he says, then to put up with that, unquote.
Too bad, too—Hannigan liked Sorrentino’s work (read Hannigan on Sorrentino here).

A little later in the letter, “I’m sorry Sorrentino’s out, because I liked the Williams essay he did in Am Rev and that’s the kind of stuff I imagine you’d like.”

The issue happened. There’s fiction by Russell Banks, Paul Metcalf, Harry V. Murphy, and Moophy Sweezy. And Moophy Sweezy was Paul Hannigan, I was right, this confirmed by John Batki. An excellent discovery, as it means Hannigan published two fine short stories in Ploughshares—“The Slot People” and “Boomerang Tears,” and there’s more short fiction, unpublished, including “Badboy,” which I referenced in my introduction to the Selected. About short stories, Hannigan wrote in October of 1994, “...reduced to reading a short story by Joyce Carol Oates. I loathe Joyce Carol Oates—and I hate short stories.” Too bad, that—I love Hannigan’s short stories.

There’s no J. Gladstone, either: the portfolio and the cover art are by none other than Batki himself.

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