Endowed in perpetuity by the Glenna Luschei Fund for Excellence

Listen to This, Listen to That: Women Political Poets

by Dan Froid

I studied neither American history nor government in high school, not really. For enterprising students who desired to put off their vacations, my high school in northeastern Nebraska offered a rather bizarre version of summer school, a system whose existence is puzzling. A week or so after the end of the academic year, we gathered at an old, old building. I believe it had, unsurprisingly, been the school for those with learning disabilities—which not only placed them spatially far from other students, but relegated them to this dump. The building was, in fact, a dump. Only the classrooms nearest the entrance were usable; the rooms further back were riddled with mold. One door which bore the label “Janitor’s Closet” opened onto a steep staircase; the same door bore a second label, bright orange, warning that what lay beyond was hazardous: “Asbestos Hazard.” Nobody goes there now.

Women and the Global Imagination: Girl

by Ucheoma Onwutebe

In our Winter 2014 issue Alicia Ostriker curated a poetry portfolio on Women and the Global Imagination, and we were so struck by its contents that we wanted to keep the dialog surronding this theme going on our blog. In her essay, Ucheoma Onwutebe uses Jamaica Kincaid's prose poem "Girl" as an inspiration for her own meditation on the advice girls receive. We hope you enjoy reading.

Briefly Noted - April 22, 2015

Quick-to-Read Reviews

Monthly book reviews in brief from the staff of Prairie Schooner and associates.

Vol. 4 Issue 2. April 22, 2015. Ed. Paul Clark.

Salsa Nocturna by Daniel José Older | Reviewed by Sarah Mack The Cartographer's Ink by Okla Elliott | Reviewed by Maggie Smith Vulgar Remedies by Anna Journey | Reviewed by Maggie Trapp

Alberta Clipper 4/21/15: “For Johannes Edfelt” by David Ignatow

April 21, 1977, was the opening night of Annie on Broadway. For the uninitiated, the musical centers on an irrepressible young orphan girl growing up in post-Great Depression era New York, as she searches for her parents with the help of a billionaire benefactor. Lincoln’s overcast skies and mid-50 degree F weather that day were grim indeed, but little Orphan Annie reminded the world through song that the sun would come out tomorrow. In spite of all obstacles, Annie maintains her youthful optimism, as well as an unshakeable faith in humanity.

Contributor Spotlight on Nikki Giovanni

by Dan Froid

In our new issue, we announce the winners of the 2014 Prairie Schooner writing awards. So this week, we’re taking a look at one of our past winners—and of the most distinguished living poets in America. Nikki Giovanni has published seventeen poetry collections, in addition to children’s books, essays, records, and collected conversations. Her most recent work is Chasing Utopia: A Hybrid (William Morrow, 2013). She’s also earned countless literary awards as well as many other accolades, including the keys to more than two dozen American cities, a number of honorary degrees, and an unmatched seven NAACP Image Awards, which honor people of color in literature, music, film, and television.

Listen to This, Listen to That: Fruitful Tension

by Dan Froid

My favorite fact about Enya: She has sung in ten different languages, seven of which are real. (Two of them are dialects of Elvish, the other invented for Enya by her lyricist.) My second-favorite: She owns her own castle in Ireland, fitted with maximum security precautions. I know a lot about Enya. As a deeply weird fourteen-year-old, I found myself developing a fascination with her. In the springtime—exactly this time of year, I believe—I took a Quiz Bowl trip to central Nebraska, and it was Enya all the way. I was the resident expert on literature: I had to answer questions about Ovid and the Brontës and Flaubert. Rather surprisingly, given the relative dearth of my counterparts, question sets were heavy on literature. And so, because this was a weak spot apparently endemic to regional teams, I, a freshman, was recruited to help.

Brave New Reading List: The Book of Dave

by Brita Thielen
The Book of Dave cover

Well, the end of the semester is on the horizon, and accordingly we’ve approached the end of this dystopian blog series. It has been quite the roller-coaster of disaster – genocide, sex-slavery, global infertility, social control through social media, ice ages, human cloning, and environmental crises galore – but I’m still here and functioning in society. Mostly. Hopefully you have picked up a few new dystopian titles to add to your reading list.

Contributor Spotlight on Titsian Tabidze

by Dan Froid

It seems like a safe bet to say that, for the most part, the writers who appear in our issues are living when their work is published. That’s not the case, however, for one of the poets who appears in our Spring 2015 issue. The presence of Titsian Tabidze brings a bit of history to the pages of Prairie Schooner. Tabidze was a Georgian poet who was executed in 1937 in one of a series of “purges” in the Soviet Union. These purges, accomplished under Joseph Stalin’s direction, eliminated political opponents and dissidents—which often included writers and artists like Tabidze.

His poem “Tbilisi Evening” appears in the issue in Rebecca Gould’s translation from the Georgian:

Tbilisi evening almost died
of crying with the music’s voice.
The strings carried the heart’s sorrows
from the river’s left bank.

AWP Events

by Dan Froid

Celebrating the launch of new books, donating books to others, giving away all-important swag: Prairie Schooner’s got it all at AWP this year. Read on to find out about all of Prairie Schooner’s events at this year’s convention.

Visit Prairie Schooner at Booth 1203 to:

Contributor Spotlight on Vandana Khanna

by Dan Froid

Vandana Khanna’s poems are full of mythological imagery, but they also refer to airplanes, city markets. Her poems are lovely and intense. Her current project, as she tells The Missouri Review, “re-imagines iconic stories central to Hindu mythology. Here, gods and goddesses fight with each other, refuse their destinies and examine their faith and their doubt within the ever-shifting landscape of the poems.” A suite of five of Khanna’s poems, fitting into this project, appears in our latest issue (Spring 2015). Check out that link to read another of those poems, “The Goddess Reveals What It Takes to Be Holy.” And for now, here’s “Because you forgot me, I am weird in the world”:

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