Endowed in perpetuity by the Glenna Luschei Fund for Excellence
I was thinking about the divide between humans and animals recently—big subject, maybe, but I was reading Frankenstein and felt compelled to consider where the creature fits in. A classmate in the seminar asked us, Why do we read? We wonder, why does the creature read? Does it transgress against our nature to do so? Although animals lack rationality, they certainly do not lack curiosity—and curiosity could go a long way toward considering why a dog must investigate its surroundings, or why I must read.
This post is the first in an ongoing series of blog posts on the theme of Women and the Global Imagination. In our Winter 2014 issue Alicia Ostriker curated a poetry portfolio on this theme, and we were so struck by its contents that we wanted to keep the dialog surronding this theme going on our blog. Liz Granger's essay does just that, and shows us that ideas that are global in scope can have their genesis in the individual imagination. We hope you enjoy reading.
I am not what you would call a tech-savvy person. I only joined Twitter this fall, and to date I don’t have Instagram, Tumblr, an e-reader or a smart phone. Needless to say, I’m a bit behind-the-times on the tech scene.
However, reading Dave Eggers’ The Circle (2013; Knopf/McSweeney’s Books) reassured me that maybe my relatively unconnected life is okay. The novel centers on Mae Holland, a young woman who has just been hired at The Circle thanks to her college friend Annie, who works in the company’s upper echelons. The Circle is basically a technological super-company: not only is it the leading social media and search engine platform, is also attracts the best and brightest minds to create everything from tracking devices that prevent child abductions to ultra-portable surveillance cameras and drones.
This week, we want to spotlight someone who is something of a superstar on the Prairie Schooner scene: poet Ladan Osman. This is no surprise: her poetry is candid, passionate, and abounding with striking images. Last year, she won Sillerman First Book Prize for African Poets. Her winning manuscript, The Kitchen Dweller’s Testimony, will be published this year. Additionally, her chapbook Ordinary Heaven was included in the box-set Seven New Generation African Poets, published last year.
“If I go through that side door, if I go into the world via something magical, or heightened, or strange, or absurdist . . . I can access the emotional stuff more clearly,” Aimee Bender explains.
Confession: I have never before read a Margaret Atwood novel.
This feels like a gross oversight, possibly on par with a mortal sin. A simple online search of the “The Handmaid’s Tale” brings up over 400,000 results, and the novel has been reviewed nearly 16,000 times on goodreads with an average rating of 5 stars. And let me tell you, it’s worth the hype. I cannot remember the last time I have been so completely blown away by a novel.
On February 3rd, 1947, the first truck rolled off of the new Highland Park Ford assembly line in Highland Park, Michigan. At the time, the Highland Park Plant was the only Ford plant to be specifically producing trucks. The truck, Ford’s F-Series, remains North America’s best selling pickup truck to date.
In the winter of 1973, David Allan Evans’ poem “Ford Pickup” was published in Prairie Schooner. On that cool February day the temperature was 48 degrees Fahrenheit, a bit warmer than the monthly average of 40 degrees.--Evan Berry
David Allan Evans
call me the Valiant heading west on Fourteen into the frozen
Dakota January sun and the one suddenly ahead the red
Custom Ranger with Texas plates and his woman taking
their time and all of my eye as he sits straight and high
beneath a white Stetson nodding politely over frost heave
In June of last year, the Griffin Trust for Excellence in Poetry’s Lifetime Recognition Award was bestowed on a poet whom, I suspect, most American readers know little about. And yet she is one of the most respected poets in her country, Brazil. Fellow poet Robert Hass paid her a superlative tribute: he noted that she has been compared to figures as disparate as Emily Dickinson, Walt Whitman, and St. Francis of Assisi.
Why does it seem easier to talk about war when it’s used as a metaphor?
I don’t think war is noble
And I don’t like to think that love is like war
But I got a big hot cherry bomb
And I wanna slip it through the mail-slot of your front door
“Take a hapless Danish cartoonist with a fatwa on his head. Put an American secret agent with secrets of her own in charge of his well-being. Give her the half-baked idea of hiding said cartoonist in an upstate New York town, disguising him as a high-school guidance counselor. Turn up the emotional boil on love triangles and spy intrigue, then arm everybody with a gun.” That’s how GQ’s recent interview with Brock Clarke describes his newest novel, The Happiest People in the World (Algonquin Books, 2014). When I read the description, I thought two things: 1) “This sounds weird,” and 2) “I should read this.” Invoking those sentiments seems, fortunately, to be Brock Clarke’s game.