Prairie Schooner News
Prairie Schooner's partner, the African Poetry Book Fund, has released three new titles for 2014: Ghanaian poet Kofi Awoonor’s The Promise of Hope: New and Selected Poems 1964-2013, 2013 Sillerman prize-winner Clifton Gachagua’s Madman at Kilifi, and the chapbook box set Seven New Generation African Poets, featuring work by TJ Dema, Clifton Gachagua, Tsitsi Jaji, Nick Makoha, Ladan Osman, Warsan Shire, and Len Verwey. All three are available through the University of Nebraska Press website, and other online and independent booksellers.
The Promise of Hope (pictured above) spans nearly fifty years of Awoonor’s poetry before his death during the Westgate Mall terrorist attacks in Nairobi, Kenya in September 2013. The collection, already in production at the time of Awoonor’s death, is edited by his friend and colleague Kofi Anyidoho. Madman at Kilifi was the winner of the 2013 Sillerman First Book Prize for African Poets, APBF’s prize for African writers who have not yet published a book-length poetry collection. Seven New Generation African Poets is the first of APBF’s annual chapbook box set anthologies featuring poetry by emerging African poets, and is published through Slapering Hol Press with support from Prairie Schooner and The Poetry Foundation.
Prairie Schooner’s very own literary podcast, Air Schooner, is now available on Stitcher! Listeners can download new episodes through Stitcher’s online and mobile app to listen to anywhere, and review and rate the latest episodes right on the app. Past guests include Sherman Alexie, Barry Lopez, and Nikola Madzirov reading from their work, plus discussions by hosts Scott Winter and Stacey Waite.
You can also listen to Air Schooner on iTunes, or on our website, here.
Our bones are not private; they are not secrets. We seem happy to expose them.
FUSION 8 - Bones is now online, with poetry, art, and essays from Singapore and the Prairie Schooner archives. The latest issue includes work by Michael Bullock, Malcolm Glass, Greg Kuzma, Rafaat Haji Hamzah, and Edwin Thumboo, plus art by Taylor Baldwin and Michael Lee.
The poets interpret the theme in a variety of ways, as do the artists, who show bones as the exterior elements of sea creatures interacting with disparate forces (Taylor Baldwin's Experiment for the Future #2 above), or as the essential elements of architectural structures.
The African Poetry Book Fund and Prairie Schooner are proud to announce Ladan Osman as the winner of the 2014 Sillerman First Book Prize for African Poets! Osman will receive a $1,000 cash prize and her collection, The Kitchen Dweller’s Testimony, will be published by the University of Nebraska Press and Amalion Press in Senegal.
Here’s what Ladan herself had to say about winning the Sillerman prize:
I deeply appreciate this prize. I have so badly just wanted a chance to work, to be apparent to people in life and in poems.
A bunch of things happened in the years spent writing this book: my heart froze and thawed. I struggled in its runoff. Shifting color schemes in dreams. Hair cuts, thumps to the heart. There was a time all the unsayable things were making my throat salty. Maybe I smelled the sea often because there was a little one in me. I'm excited to share what came out of those sometimes rough waters, and look forward to connecting to new readers, new communities.
The Sillerman First Book Prize is awarded to African writers who have not yet published a book-length poetry collection. Click here for the full rules and how to enter.
The Prairie Schooner office opened the spring semester with a welcome party and another of Lorna’s Dawes’s specialty cakes, this one in the shape of 20 Windows, Benjamin Busch’s cover art for the winter issue. In keeping with the issue’s colors, the cake was coconut flavored with lime filling, and was identified by several reliable sources as delicious. Watch for more of Lorna’s fine cakes at future Prairie Schooner events!
This winter’s Prairie Schooner issue centers around the theme of “War and Conflict,” with a special war portfolio edited by poet and Iraq War veteran Brian Turner. To celebrate, Turner will be speaking at our launch event on Tuesday, February 4 at 7:30 p.m. in the Great Plains Art Museum at 1155 Q Street in Lincoln.
This event is free and open to the public. Come hear Turner speak, with readings from issue contributors Ted Genoways (who translated Wilhelm Klemm’s poems “In Pérenchies,” “Advance,” and “Clearing Station”) and Mihaela Moscaliuc (who contributed the essay “Apples”). You’ll also hear stories from University of Nebraska students recounting their experiences in world combat zones, and can view contributor Elliott D. Woods’s multimedia presentation, “Assignment Afghanistan,” with stories, pictures, and video from the war in Afghanistan.
The weeks of hammering and painting are finally over, and just before Thanksgiving we celebrated our office expansion with hors d’oeuvres and a ribbon cutting, complete with oversized novelty scissors! Editor-in-chief Kwame Dawes gave a spirited speech to commemorate the grand re-opening, and UNL English Department Chair Susan Belasco (pictured above) made the coveted snip.
The expanded space opens up a new office for the African Poetry Book Fund as well as additional workspace for Prairie Schooner interns. At the ribbon-cutting, editor Kwame Dawes spoke highly of intern contributions, saying, "They do fantastic work. They will do real editorial work, and they do it gratefully and gladly."
Special thanks also to Susan Belasco and LeAnn Messing, who did so much to make the expansion happen, and to Lorna Dawes for her fabulous Prairie Schooner-themed cake! You can view more pics from the event on our Facebook page.
FUSION 7, featuring fifteen poems by Filipino writers and fifteen poems from the Prairie Schooner archives (including work by Joyce Carol Oates, John Kinsella, and Alice Friman), centers around the theme of trees, and is now available online. This latest FUSION also includes photos by Maggie Tobin (her First Snow is pictured above) and Maxine Syjuco. You can view the rest of FUSION’s photos and poems here.
The FUSION series is an online, quarterly publication of Prairie Schooner, with each issue presenting poetry, art, and essays from a different country. Previous FUSIONS (available here) have included poems from Hong Kong, Iran, the Balkans, Australia, India, and Botswana.
Construction has officially begun on the Prairie Schooner office expansion in the University of Nebraska’s Andrews Hall. The university maintenance crews are tearing down a section of wall to expand the Prairie Schooner offices into the rooms next door (formerly the media center), thus doubling the journal’s office space. Managing editor Marianne Kunkel (pictured above) was on hand herself to help with the demolition.
The new space will house the office of editor-in-chief Kwame Dawes, a new workspace for the journal’s interns, and a larger meeting and conference area. Construction is set to be completed in mid-November, well before the launch of the winter issue.
Prairie Schooner is proud to welcome its new Publicity Associate, Ian Rogers!
Ian is a first-year MA student in creative writing who brings to Prairie Schooner his two years experience as marketing assistant for the Villa Augustina Academy in his home state of New Hampshire. He holds a BA from Bennington College in Vermont, and has also worked as a transcribing proofreader, a watershed protection steward, and a teacher of English in Japan.
Ian looks forward to writing Prairie Schooner news and to helping promote the journal in his new position. You can watch for his press releases on the Prairie Schooner news blog, http://www.prairieschooner.unl.edu/?q=prairie-schooner-news, and the UNL website.