Discover Lasell

Kenneth Calhoun Publishes Work in Award-Winning Literary Journal

August 29, 2019

Cover of Ploughshares Summer 2019 featuring work by Associate Professor Kenneth CalhounAssociate Professor of Graphic Design Kenneth Calhoun was recently published in the award-winning literary journal, Ploughshares. Calhoun, who also serves as department chair for art and graphic design at Lasell, had work included in the journal's summer issue, edited by Pulitzer Prize winner Viet Thanh Nguyen.

The story, "Doorway to Darkness," tells the tale of a professor whose traumatic experience during a shelter-in-place drill ultimately leads to a nervous breakdown, erratic behavior, and subsequent firing from his position. He returns to his childhood home for a seemingly harmless visit with his parents, but secret motivations connected to a shooting in the area rise to the surface.  

"I have wanted to publish a story in Ploughshares for decades," said Calhoun, whose work was included among selections from renowned authors Roxanne Gay, Elizabeth Strout, Laila Lalami, and Patricia Engel. Below is an excerpt from his work.  

When I finally returned to Southern California, I expected to find the locals in the grips of apocalyptic fear, arming themselves and venturing out from fortified homes only for the most necessary provisions. The area had recently suffered a brutal terrorist attack, during which over a dozen people were gunned down while attending a retirement party. The killers were themselves killed by an army of black-clad cops on a quiet suburban street. Were there any unclaimed spent shell casings hidden in the parkway weeds? Any dried blood down in the creases of asphalt? On the news reports, I had noted the citrus trees, waterstarved lawns and white mailboxes in the background, so like the street of my childhood home that I was now being driven to from our small, yet somehow international, airport.  

Additional stories by Calhoun were accepted for publication by Ninth Letter, St. Petersburg Review, and Santa Monica Review, all due to be published within the year.