Endowed in perpetuity by the Glenna Luschei Fund for Excellence

"Poems as an outlet for shock and grief": an Interview with Marianne Kunkel

by Kelsey Conrad

Marianne Kunkel is Editor-in-Chief at Missouri Western State University's national undergraduate journal, The Mochila Review, and has been published in several journals including the Missouri Review, the Notre Dame Review, Hayden's Ferry Review, and Rattle. She is the author of The Laughing Game, and her book of poetry, Hillary, Made Up will come out in September.


Kelsey Conrad: Your book, Hillary, Made Up, is set to release in September.  The book seems political by nature, but one thing that I found particularly interesting is how much it seems to revolve around makeup, and the idea of putting on a face.  When during the writing process did that idea start to emerge, or was it one that you started with?

Alberta Clipper: 6/27/18: "On Friendship and Maxine Kumin" by Alberta Arthurs

by Gayle Rocz

On June 27, 1693 the first women’s magazine was published in London. Titled Ladies’ Mercury, it was a spinoff of John Dunton’s The Athenian Mercury. This “magazine” filled one sheet front and back, and was mostly made up of an advice column aimed to attract both women and men. Admittedly, Ladies’ Mercury was no feminist crusade. It only lasted for about four issues and it was published by a man. However, it was the first time anyone thought that women might need or want a specialized publication.

"Read. Read read read read read.": an Interview with Carmen Maria Machado

by Sarah Fawn Montgomery

Our Creative Nonfiction Essay Contest is open for submissions. Want some insight into what this year's judge, Carmen Maria Machado, is looking for? Read on! 

Your most recent book, Her Body and Other Parties, is a collection of short stories; your forthcoming book is a memoir. How do you conceptualize genre? Much of your work resists arbitrary borders, bending boundaries as part of craft—how does the construct or fluidity of genre influence your choices as a writer?

"But I prefer to answer zero questions about it": An Interview with Terrance Hayes

by Ilana Masad

A few weeks ago, I received an advanced reader copy of Terrance Hayes's new book, American Sonnets for My Past and Future Assassin, out June 19 from Penguin Poets. I set up an interview with the poet through his publicist, and then sat down to research everything I didn't know about him. Of particular interest was this video from the MacArthur Foundation, where I discovered that Hayes is a visual artist and musician as well as a poet.

So You Wanna Win a Book Prize?

In honor of the Prairie Schooner Book Prize (open now!), we've revived our interview series about publishing the first book. This week poet Stephanie McCarley Dugger, winner of the 2014 Vella Chapbook Contest, talks about letting go of deadlines, dashes vs. white space, and the importance of feeling connected to a larger writing community.

How many books have you published, and where?

I have one full-length collection, Either Way, You’re Done (Sundress Publications), and one chapbook, Sterling (Paper Nautilus Press).

So You Wanna Win a Book Prize?

In honor of the Prairie Schooner Book Prize (open now!), we've revived our interview series about publishing the first book. This week poet Ángel García, winner of the 2018 CantoMundo poetry prize, talks about resisting the expectations of the first book, the usefulness of self-imposed limitations, and eavesdropping on your own poems. 

How many books have you published, and where?

Teeth Never Sleep is my first book, forthcoming from University of Arkansas Press in the Fall of 2018.

Describe the process of constructing your first manuscript. How did you conceive of ordering the collection?

So You Wanna Win a Book Prize?

In honor of the Prairie Schooner Book Prize (open now!), we've revived our interview series about publishing the first book. This week poet Kristi Carter, author of Cosmovore, talks about the importance of becoming familiar with the agendas of presses, wearing out your obsessions, and the surreal feeling of having two books picked up in the same month.

1. How many books have you published, and where?

On The Winner of the 2017 Prairie Schooner Book Prize in Poetry

by Katie Pryor

When I started Susan Gubernat’s The Zoo at Night, I felt naïve. I felt young. Facts about American history, Irish legends, and words I did not know gathered in the drain of my mind and I embraced it. I embraced it because sometimes Twitter exhausts me, sometimes the weight of my desire for youthfulness disgusts me. The truths of Gubernat’s collection are blunt and revealed slow. They take time. They have taken time.

Mary Ruefle, commenting on our obsession with talking about poems instead of reading them, says that no poet can teach us anything until they’re dead. I would argue, perhaps, that no poet teaches us anything until they are older, until some time has passed. I don’t mean to undermine the young; I am twenty-nine years old. What I mean to say is that I needed Gubernat’s longer view, I needed her to confound me, to further me along past the current limits of my senses.  

"We’re all constantly messing up and all constantly changing": an interview with Andrea Gibson

by Ilana Masad

Andrea Gibson’s newest book, Take Me With You, is a pocket-sized collection of one-liners, couplets, greatest hits, and longer form poetry. Reading straight through it will fill your heart to the brim, while taking it slow will provide droplets of necessary insight and humor into otherwise gray days. Andrea Gibson was kind enough to speak to assistant nonfiction editor Ilana Masad about their work. Click here to buy Take Me With You.


Ilana Masad: Because your poems often include a musical element, a rhythmic element, but also work on the page, written down, I wonder—what is your writing process like?

"That writing should challenge readers with the most difficult truths": An Interview with Heather Johnson

by Sarah Fawn Montgomery

Heather Johnson is the winner of our 2017 Summer Nonfiction Contest for her essay "Nowhere Place," which is forthcoming in our Spring Issue. Click here to subscribe to Prairie Schooner today.


Sarah Fawn Montgomery: Your essay, “Nowhere Place,” describes both a literal space, “a nowhere place surrounded by mesas, embedded in a valley of sand and weeds,” as well as a mental space, a “sense of unbelonging even to my own self.”  How did you go about writing about the Navajo Indian Reservation and dissociation? What freedoms and challenges did each present?

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