Endowed in perpetuity by the Glenna Luschei Fund for Excellence

Listen to This, Listen to That: Everything's Environmental

by Dan Froid

In “Listen to This, Listen to That,” a new feature from Prairie Schooner, we pair episodes of our podcast series Air Schooner with songs that strike us as thematically relevant, insightful, or enjoyable complements.

Contributor Spotlight on Michael Bazzett

by Dan Froid

In a November 11 tweet, Michael Bazzett wrote, “#NaNoWriMo Tip #93: Imagine the words ‘Lacerating, ‘Cutting,’ and ‘Trenchant’ on the back cover as you dip your pen in blood.” That should give you some idea of his witty and slightly wacky Twitter persona—a persona that also carries over to his poetry. Bazzett manages to strike a balance between the amusing and the unnerving. Take , for example, “The People Who Came Afterward”:

From the Archives: Kit Yan

by Dan Froid

Last month, October, was LGBTQA+ history month, and we’re remembering last year’s visit from slam poet Kit Yan, who has been vigorously involved in Prairie Schooner activities. Every year, the LGBTQA+ Resource Center on the University of Nebraska’s Lincoln campus hosts a banquet celebrating the history of sexual and gender diversity as well as diversity within the campus and community. This year’s banquet took place last week, featuring a keynote speech by comedian Gloria Bigelow, an out lesbian and black woman who places issues of gender, sexuality, and race at the forefront of her work, tackling the ridiculousness of racism and what she calls “low lesbian esteem.”

Life and Literature: On Snap Poetry, #InstaFiction, Creative Distractions, and Prairie Schooner's New Social Media Efforts

by Cameron Steele

I am an unabashed proponent of #instapoetry. There are few distractions I love more than taking pictures with my iPhone, sifting through Instagram filters, and forcing myself to quickly come up with short poems to accompany the posts.

Of course, this #instapoet habit of mine is mostly a way to take a time out from the more hardcore poetry writing and increasingly stressful life as a grad student and freelance reporter. But it’s also, I think, more than that: Combining Instagram fun and poetry has also become a way to share my love of language, to force myself through writer’s block, and – above all – to connect through social media to other writers and poets.

Laboring in the Gray Zone: A Review of Herta Müller’s The Hunger Angel

by Okla Elliott

When Herta Müller won the Nobel Prize in 2009, many readers had never heard of her, despite a modicum of acclaim in the German press and despite having already had four novels translated into English. There were some who complained that this was another political pick by the Nobel Committee; Müller was, after all, both from Romania (an under-represented nation on the literary scene) and a woman (an under-represented group on the list of Nobel Laureates). Despite the Nobel Prize’s less-than-perfect track record at picking great writers, I have only one response to this complaint: can’t a prize committee pick an excellent author who also happens not to be a man from a major Western nation? In the case of Müller, the answer is a resounding yes.

Contributor Spotlight on Matthew Shenoda

by Dan Froid

In “Christopher Columbus Was a Damn Blasted Liar,” Matthew Shenoda criticizes the parochialism of U.S. literary circles and discusses the problem of the narrative of “discovering” new writers, particularly writers of color. Read the article here. In his own work, the poet seems to attempt to push against some of the disappointing features of the literary landscape around him—for example, the “inability to see outside of one’s self, one’s own confines, geographies, institutions, regions, and nation.” Shenoda’s most recent work is Tahrir Suite, published by Northwestern University Press earlier this year. A book-length poem, Tahrir Suite follows a couple as they move from their home country of Egypt to the United States.

Alberta Clipper 10/28/14: “Beauty and the Beast” by Neil Weiss

During the last week of October in 1946, Nebraskans were enjoying the season’s typical weather with temperatures in the mid 50s, only slightly above the average 48°. Meanwhile across the globe, Jean Cocteau’s famous La Belle et la Bête was released. The film, starring Jean Marais and Josette Day, brought to life the popular Beauty and the Beast fairy tale and enchanted audiences with its stunning cinematography.

In a similar fashion, Neil Weiss’s poem “Beauty and the Beast,” published in Prairie Schooner in the fall of 1962, depicted the fairy tale’s last scene. —Emily Burns

Neil Weiss
Beauty and the Beast

She is running to meet me
and I am dying here
by this wretched canal.
It’s the story of my life.

Contributor Spotlight on Kara Candito

by Dan Froid

OKCupid, a VH1 countdown show, the film Scream; l’écriture feminine, Federico García Lorca, the minor god Cybele. What do these things have in common? For Kara Candito, they are all poetic subjects or inspiration for her funny, weird, and cerebral work. Take, for example, the beginning of “Sunday Afternoon Watching Scream I”:

Mmm this guacamole’s really good
and Rose McGowan’s nipples
get so fabulously hard right before
the ridiculous death scene in the garage.
Confession: I should be home right now
preparing a lecture on Ginsberg
and the counterculture.

Contributor Spotlight on Ron Villanueva

Divination, transfiguration, haunted graveyards, traps, and blessings…R.A. Villanueva (or Ron, if you know him like we do) is not, as far as we know, a boy wizard. But his debut has a bit of magic in it—evoking the liminal spaces of myth and faith that reverberate with an ever-evolving identity and sense of self. Villanueva, the winner of last year’s Prairie Schooner Book Prize for his collection Reliquaria, published by the University of Nebraska Press this September, has made a number of recent appearances, both online and in Brooklyn, giving interviews and doing readings. His charming enthusiasm for talking anything literary is a solid recommendation for the strength of his deft and haunting work.

Verse Daily recently featured Villanueva’s poem “Swarm,” excerpted below:

From the Archives: FUSION #7

by Dan Froid

Now that fall is here—September 23 brought us the official fall equinox—and the leaves will soon turn colors and drop from the trees (maybe the only consolation for Nebraska winters), it’s the perfect time to revisit FUSION #7.

Each issue of FUSION, Prairie Schooner’s quarterly online publication, features poetry and essays from a different country, accompanied by poems from the Prairie Schooner archives. The seventh issue presents the work of Filipino poets, including Merlie Alunan and Marjorie Evasco, as well as work from the archives by Joyce Carol Oates, Alice Friman, and John Kinsella, among others. All of its poems center on trees. Kwame Dawes introduces the issue with the essay “Naming Trees”:

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