Endowed in perpetuity by the Glenna Luschei Fund for Excellence

Alberta Clipper: 03/15/16: “Horror Story” by Agnes Lam

Camuccini's painting "The Death of Ceasar" (1798)

“Beware, beware, the Ides of March.”

Famously dramatized by William Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar, these are the words that were declared to Julius Caesar in 44 B.C. The Ides of March was the first full moon of the new year according to the Roman calendar, and though Julius Caesar was warned of his fate, he refused to pay heed. Historians have denied for decades that these words were spoken to Caesar, instead favoring the theory that Shakespeare’s play influenced the world to romanticize the brutish murder of a man by his colleagues who sought to save Rome from his tyrannical rule.

'More moon, more roses, more silence!': an Interview with Valzhyna Mort

The Prairie Schooner Book Prize is entering its final week! This week, Katie interviews Valzhyna Mort, author of "Factory of Tears" and "Collected Body" about writing toward the body and whether or not triteness in language can be said to exist.

How many books have you published, and where?

3:33 Sports Short #15 // Talisman by Justin Carter

after Robert Rauschenberg

In the dining room,
my father—tanned
from climbing pipelines
& still young—
clutches a signed ball,
listens to the radio
& the announcer,
each strike bringing him
farther & farther
from his dream—
until it’s over,
so suddenly he doesn’t
know what comes next.
In Houston, there
are tears. What to do
with that sadness?
& nineteen years later,
my own self clutching
a different signed ball,
I watch a small screen
while we go down
four straight games.
Why do we place
such faith in this tradition?
Even now, I wear
the same jersey each night
& blame losing on
how I forgot to wear it,
like my body communes
directly with a spirit
that determines these things.

'We are so tough': Porochista Khakpour on Writing the Body

Marion Ettlinger

The Prairie Schooner Book Prize is now open! In honor of the 2016 Book Prize season, Book Prize Coordinator Katie Schmid Henson will interview authors about the process of constructing a manuscript and bringing it to publication. This week, Katie interviews highly acclaimed NEA-winning writer Porochista Khakpour about her two critically lauded novels, Sons & Other Flammable Objects, and The Last Illusion, as well as her forthcoming memoir about Lyme disease.

How many books have you published, and where?

3:33 Sports Short #14 // Snatch and Drop

by Catherine A. Brereton

The house shudders when Evan lifts. He lifts upwards of 300lbs, maybe even 350lbs, he told me, when he apologized in advance for the noise. I told him it was fine because, really, how do you tell a man of his size, of his strength, that it isn’t fine, that the house trembles and the cats are anxious and you can’t sleep. He lifts at night, always at night, and although he’s promised that he’ll be finished by nine, he never is.

The thuds come ten minutes apart. In-between, when the house is quiet, the bass of his music thumps in the background. It’s almost soothing. Then, he lifts—snatches, I think, is the correct term—then, he drops, onto the concrete floor of the garage, and the whole house quakes.  

3:33 Sports Short #13 // Heroes

by Benjamin Blickle

In the cement tunnel to the parking lot, David Bowie’s “Heroes” piped in through the stadium speakers.  Even at seventeen, I didn’t think we’d have been heroes if we’d won the state soccer championship.  But an oblique bolt of clarity struck through the cumulus of loss.  I remembered how much I liked that song, how the lyrics went deeper and weirder than the title or the chorus would let on.  Dolphins, royalty, love, ramparts, alcoholism.  All the beautiful strangeness would forever be overshadowed by our 4-0 defeat.  Why couldn’t they have just played Queen like they always do?

Alberta Clipper: 3/01/16: "The Girls They Burned" by Adrienne Celt

Salem Witch Trials

March 1, 1692, was the start of one of the darkest and gloomiest times for the early United States. It was the date that the infamous Salem Witch Trials began. In a historical event made famous by Arthur Miller’s play, The Crucible, three women (Sarah Good, Sarah Osborne, and Tituba) were brought before the local magistrates in Salem Village after three young girls accused them of witchcraft. Those girls claimed that Good, Osborne, and Tituba afflicted them, afflictions that resulted in bodily injury. Interestingly, the three women singled out were social outcasts. Good was a beggar whose impoverished state was caused by the loss of her inherence and her first husband’s debt, for which she and her second husband were held responsible. Osborne was likely accused because she had not attended church for almost three years (although she had the excuse of a long-standing sickness).

'You will lose yourself': the rituals of grief in the poetry of Ashaki M. Jackson

The Prairie Schooner Book Prize is now open! In honor of the 2016 Book Prize season, Book Prize Coordinator Katie Schmid Henson will interview authors about the process of constructing a manuscript and bringing it to publication. This week, Katie interviews brilliant poet and Prairie Schooner contributor Ashaki M. Jackson about grief rituals, submission rituals, and her two forthcoming chapbooks.

I Write Sad Things

3:33 Sports Short #12 // Young & Scrappy

by Judy Sobeloff

I accidentally joined the cross country team on my first day of high school, having never run a mile. My new art teacher was the coach, and I happened to be in his office when he was passing out permission slips, which I thought were for art.

My father had died on the last day of school two and a half months before, and I would cry during practice when we did fartlek, or any drills with a funny name. I came in last in one of our first big meets when the other girls I was running with toward the back all cheated by cutting across a field, and I kept going on the course. About half the people who came out for the team quit, a point of pride for those of us who stayed.

My friends and I made t-shirts that said “young and scrappy,” a phrase used to describe our team in the local paper. I got faster and stronger and stopped crying. “See how her body has changed!” my art teacher announced to the class.

3:33 Sports Short #11 // Safe

by Jessica Roeder

The stillness of right field. Bees in the clover, your mitt giving off its companionable calf scent. Talk it up out there. It’s a known fact that you don’t have to talk it up from right field. If you talk it up, no one will hear, or you will seem ambitious, and you would rather do your time in right field than become embroiled anywhere more active. Your knees lock. Your elbows knock. Left-handed batter, and Mr. Gleason gleams an eye, talks it up to you, Look lively, Rowder. One, two, three, she’s out. Mr. Gleason’s daughter is on the mound. You knew you didn’t have to look lively, but you looked it, anyhow.

So much stillness in girls’ little league, socially mandatory in your suburb, so much eye-on-the-ball, so much shouting, so little time learning to do anything. Four years will pass before you walk into the storefront Academy of Movement and Music for your first ballet class and jeté yourself out of right field forever.

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