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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”:

Listen to This, Listen to That: Facts and Fictions

by Dan Froid

“I wanted to write a beach read for smart people,” Joy Castro says of her novel Hell or High Water. She explains in “Facts and Fictions,” Episode 17 of Air Schooner, her intent to create a book that’s not only fun to read but intellectually stimulating, full of complexity. Her novel takes place in post-Katrina New Orleans, centering on a reporter who investigates sex offenders who went off the grid after the hurricane. Castro tells us, “I did a lot of historical research about the city of New Orleans. The stolen Africans who lived under the different regimes [which] all had slavery norms.” She also investigated issues of rehabilitation and recidivism for sex-offenders.

Lost Writer Wednesday

Bertram Lewis
Bertram Lewis Letter

This post is part of our Lost Writer Wednesdays blog series, an eight-week series and companion to NETNebraska’s Lost Writers of the Plains radio programming. Each week, we’ll spotlight long-forgotten writers once published in the early days of Prairie Schooner. For the full multi-media experience, download the iBook in the iTunes store.

by Sean Stewart

Bertram Austin Lewis spent his undergraduate years at Wiley College, a historically black university. His transition to the then predominantly white environment at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln must have had a dramatic effect on him. He soon began working to address the disparity between the races in the scholarly community of the 1930s.

Alberta Clipper: 3/31/15: “The Sweetest Journeys Home Are in the Mind” by Dan Jaffe

In the spring of 1959, the Dalai Lama fled the Tibetan capital of Lhasa, beginning a trying journey over the treacherous terrain of the Himalayas in search of safety. On March 31st, he crossed the border into India, where he was welcomed with refuge and asylum. Meanwhile, on that same day in 1959, Lincoln, NE, was hit with strong thunderstorms and high winds topping out at 20 mph while the editors at Prairie Schooner worked tirelessly on the Spring Issue, which included work by one of Nebraska’s own, Dan Jaffe.

Brave New Reading List: Never Let Me Go

by Brita Thielen
Never Let Me Go cover

You might have heard the controversy surrounding novelist Kazuo Ishiguro’s latest book, The Buried Giant. People seem confused about what it is supposed to be – fantasy, allegory, literary, or all three – and while many reviewers praise and seem to respect the book, few claim to love it. I mention The Buried Giant only to say that if you have never read Ishiguro’s work and have been turned off by these reviews, you should really pick up a copy of his last published novel, Never Let Me Go (2005; Vintage Books).

[WARNING: This post contains a SPOILER regarding the central plot point of the novel (sorry, but I can’t think of a way to talk about the book without mentioning it). Continue reading at your own risk.]

Contributor Spotlight on Emily Schultz

by Dan Froid

Emily Schultz’s first novel, Joyland was published in 2006 by a small press (ECW). In 2013, Stephen King also published a novel called Joyland. Because his book was initially published in paperback only—not as an ebook—several readers bought Schultz’s book by mistake. As a result, Schultz received a few negative Amazon reviews but, on the plus side, a spike in sales and a sweet royalty check. Schultz chronicles how she spent the royalty money at Spending the Stephen King Money. Schultz got car repairs, a Macbook Air, and some new books out of the deal.

Listen to This, Listen to That: Family Matters

by Dan Froid

“I’ve had this sort of ongoing romance with the subjunctive . . . to imagine this possible future that didn’t look like anything you’d seen in the world around you.” That’s how Julie Marie Wade describes her interest in memoir in “Family Matters,” Episode 18 of Air Schooner. I like that: the romance of the subjunctive. That’s a real pleasure of the imagination, or a real nightmare, to set up a scenario and follow it to its furthest conclusion. Family matters present surely the biggest daydreaming minefield: it’s so easy to go back to petty conflicts, or strained relationships, or whatever, and conjecture other possibilities. In the episode, we hear Sharon Olds do this, too, in “I Go Back to May 1937,” which for me is essentially an episode of The Twilight Zone.

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