Prairie Schooner News
Once again, we're celebrating the release of our Spring issue with a delicious cake by the incomparable Lorna Dawes! The issue's cover, Fidencio Martinez's Countrymen, was created using acrylic, paper, and maps.
Martinez was born in Oaxaca, Mexico, but raised in North Carolina, and his work manipulates maps and newspaper cuttings to refer to the crafts and customs used to celebrate festivals and mourn the dead. It also makes for an excellent cake.
For the third year, Prairie Schooner will be hosting its annual Book Prize Celebration, mixing readings with artists' interpretations of its prize-winning books, featuring the 2012 Prairie Schooner Book Prize winners Orlando Ricardo Menes for his poetry collection Fetish and Xhenet Aliu for her short story collection Domesticated Wild Things, along with special music composition and photography performances. A reception will follow.
The readings and reception are open to the public, and will take place this Wednesday, April 9 at 7:00 at the International Quilt Study Center & Museum on 1523 N. 33rd St. in Lincoln. Hosted by Prairie Schooner and the University of Nebraska Press, the event promises to be a memorable one.
Submissions for the 2014 Prairie Schooner Book Prize have ended, but click here for guidelines to submit for next year.
Prairie Schooner is taking time to honor the U.N.’s World Poetry Day on March 21, celebrating poetry’s power to communicate rich ideas and grant us insight to places deep within ourselves. The day was proclaimed in 1999 in Paris by the United Nations to both reaffirm poetry’s place in society and recognize its ability to fulfill global aesthetic needs through communication.
Here are six ways readers can celebrate World Poetry Day with Prairie Schooner:
#1. Read a FUSION Poem
Prairie Schooner’s FUSION web series combines poetry and art from nations around the world, including Iran, the Balkans, Australia, India, Botswana, Hong Kong, the Philippines, and the latest issue from Singapore.
#2. Discover World Poetry News
The journal’s weekly Poetry News in Review gathers poetry news from around the world. The latest installment chronicles a copyright violation in Sweden and the censorship of Palestinian poems at the Riyadh International Book Fair in Dubai.
#3. Explore World Poets with the Global Schooner App
Global Schooner, Prairie Schooner’s free web app, profiles 300 worldwide writers whose work has appeared in the journal, with expanded content featuring author interviews, video readings, and audio recordings. Download it online or through the iTunes store.
#4. Find a New Perspective From an International Blogger
Prairie Schooner’s blog team comes from around the world, including Ryan Van Winkle, who regularly conducts podcasts for the Scottish Poetry Library, and Nabina Das, who’s interviewed prominent literary figures from India.
#5. Check Out APBF’s African Poetry Releases
Prairie Schooner’s partner project, the African Poetry Book Fund, publishes works by emerging and established African writers, including the new and selected poems of Ghanaian poet Kofi Awoonor and Kenyan poet Clifton Gachagua’s Madman at Kilifi, winner of last year’s Sillerman First Book Prize for African Poets.
#6. Learn About Irish Writers With Air Schooner
The inaugural episode of the journal’s podcast, Air Schooner, tackled America’s fascination with Ireland with readings by Irish writer Nuala Ní Conchúir. Clips from this episode were recently featured on Nebraska Public Radio’s Friday Live arts and entertainment program.
The mistake a lot of publications make is that they just repeat their content on the web, and that just doesn't work. [The podcast] gives us insight that's not really insider baseball for writers - it's really accessible to the whole public.
Air Schooner hosts Scott Winter (pictured and quoted above) and Stacey Waite appeared on Nebraska Public Radio's Friday Live arts and entertainment program last week to discuss Irish writer Nuala Ní Conchúir in honor of St. Patrick's Day. Every other week, Winter and Waite will be back on Friday Live with clips from a different Air Schooner episode and to share background and commentary on each week's writer with host Genevieve Randall. You may have caught their first interview with Nancy Finken back in September, and their St. Patrick's Day discussion marks the first in a series of regular appearances.
You can listen to Friday Live on the NET website, or at Fridays at 9 a.m in the Lincoln area through NET station KUCV 91.1 FM.
Prairie Schooner was delighted and proud to manage a booth at this year's Association of Writers and Writing Programs (AWP) conference in Seattle. In attendance were editor-in-chief Kwame Dawes, managing editor Marianne Kunkel, web editor Paul Hanson-Clark, and a dedicated team of UNL graduate students who ran our booth, spoke with visitors, and passed out copies of Kwame's booklet, Memos to Poets. You also may have seen the African Poetry Book Fund's memorial reading for Kofi Awoonor, or APBF's panel, New Generation African Women Poets.
Our sincere thanks go out to everyone who came, helped, visited, said hello, attended the readings, or came to the reception. It was a pleasure to see so many faces, and to those who helped, we couldn't have done it without you!
Above: Our booth on setup day, with posters of our winter issue (right) and APBF Sillerman Book Prize winner Clifton Gachagua's collection, Madman at Kilifi (left).
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!