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Alberta Clipper

Alberta Clipper 9/29/15: “Well, Millstone, Cistern, Cliff (1892)” by Steve Lautermilch

by Kara Cosentino

September 29, 2009, is a date that rocked the world. In Samoa, an 8.1 magnitude earthquake sparked a tsunami that produced waves as high as forty-six feet. In Lincoln, Nebraska, meanwhile, it was a calm and sunny seventy degrees. One year later, a poem called Well, Millstone, Cistern, Cliff by Steve Lautermilch appeared in Prairie Schooner, depicting a storm after a drought, another time of disaster. –Kara Cosentino

 

for Paul Cezanne

The cistern has run dry. Now the stone well,
shaped rock and unshaped, collects sound, and what
is beyond sound, the crackle of wrinkled stems
curling to flame. Watercolor scratched,
scraped to bare stock—trees, saplings, twigs.
Roots and brush, windfall limbs and fallen trunks.

Alberta Clipper 8/18/15: “The Telephone of the Dead” by Goldie Goldbloom

By: Kara Cosentino

August 18, 1955, Hurricane Diane (not to be confused with Diana) ravaged Wilmington, North Carolina, killing 184 people, destroying 813 homes and damaging over 4,000 others, and leaving $754 million worth of damage in its wake. The effects of this terrible weather battering the east coast didn’t reach as far as Lincoln, Nebraska, where August 18th was a scorching hot day, at 97 degrees. Fifty-five years later, The Telephone of the Dead by Goldie Goldbloom appeared in Prairie Schooner. The story follows a woman who loses her husband in a horrible lightening storm and the husband who refuses to let his memory be forgotten. –Kara Cosentino

Alberta Clipper: 7/7/15: “Intermediary” by Pattiann Rogers

July 7, 1983, in Lincoln was a scorcher. Temperatures reached 91° Fahrenheit; the month would go on to reach a high of 106°. But while the weather was warm, the political atmosphere was frigid: The United States and the Soviet Union were locked in the middle of the Cold War. Tensions on both sides were incredibly high and the drastic seemed possible. Within this climate, ten-year-old Samantha Smith wrote a letter to the Soviet Union's newly appointed leader, Yuri Andropov, seeking to understand the conflict. Her letter read:

Dear Mr. Andropov,

Alberta Clipper: 6/30/15: “Shifting Winds” by James C. Kilgore

June 30th, 1936, marks the publication date of Margaret Mitchell’s Gone With The Wind. Although today its reception is mixed—some still love it, while others find its controversial aspects more than troubling—it remains historically important, and if nothing else, it shows us the headway we’ve made as a society. “Shifting Winds” by James C. Kilgore appeared in the summer issue of Prairie Schooner in 1969, with the weather in Nebraska not surprisingly heating up. June saw highs of 99 degrees Fahrenheit. James C. Kilgore (1928-1988), a poet and essayist, worked in the English Department at Cuyahoga Community College in Cleveland, Ohio where he was extremely active in founding new and diverse writing associations in and around the Cleveland metro area. He published several works throughout his life, and was named Ohio Poet of the Year in 1982.

Alberta Clipper 5/19/15: “The Land of Atrophy” by David Citino

Were you that kid who checked out the Guinness Book of World Records just to see all of the gross stuff people have done? I was definitely that kid! But though the middle-school appeal is less impressive than the most questionable activities, the Guinness Book of World Records also celebrates people’s great accomplishments.  For example, Balamurali Ambati, an Indian-American student, graduated from the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in Manhattan, New York on May 19, 1995, at age seventeen, to become the youngest doctor in history. Dr. Ambati is currently a Professor of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, Adjunct Associate Professor of Neurobiology and Anatomy, and Director of Corneal Research at the University of Utah School of Medicine.

Alberta Clipper 4/21/15: “For Johannes Edfelt” by David Ignatow

April 21, 1977, was the opening night of Annie on Broadway. For the uninitiated, the musical centers on an irrepressible young orphan girl growing up in post-Great Depression era New York, as she searches for her parents with the help of a billionaire benefactor. Lincoln’s overcast skies and mid-50 degree F weather that day were grim indeed, but little Orphan Annie reminded the world through song that the sun would come out tomorrow. In spite of all obstacles, Annie maintains her youthful optimism, as well as an unshakeable faith in humanity.

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.

Alberta Clipper 3/17/15: "Dream: Catching the Air" by Carolyn Kreiter-Kurylo

On March 17, 1988—a fairly warm day for Lincoln, NE reaching a high of 43 degrees—Carolyn Kreiter-Kurylo published her first poem in the Prairie Schooner Spring issue titled “Dream: Catching the Air.” In a poem of memories revived while dreaming, Kreiter-Kurylo fondly recalls how “Always before bed, / you read Light In August/ or Les Miserables.

It was on this same day over in Europe that the world-renowned Les Miserables premiered its first full West End/ Broadway production at the Det Norske Teatret in Oslo, Norway. A production based on the novel written by French poet and novelist Victor Hugo, the play focuses on several characters’ lives, including Jean Valijean, a man working for redemption.

What a stirring, haunting bed-time story!—Alexandria Douglas

Carolyn Kreiter-Kurylo
Dream: Catching the Air

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Alberta Clipper 3/3/15: "Florida" by Nicole Cuddeback

Florida State Map 1845

The winter of 1998 is said to have been one of the worst winters in Nebraska. For example, on this day that year—as Prairie Schooner launched our Spring Issue—it was a balmy 29 degrees in the Nebraskan capitol, and it was snowing. It goes without saying that residents in Lincoln were wistfully thinking about heading south during those cold times. Somewhere nice and warm. A state like Florida. In fact, Florida became a state on this day in 1845. Though some at the time believed that Florida should be split into two different states, West Florida and East Florida, the territory was admitted to the United States as a single state.  Congress and President Tyler agreed to welcome Florida and its wonderful weather as the twenty-seventh state of the Union on March 3, 1845.

Alberta Clipper 2/17/15: “A Visit to New England” by Jon Swan

It is easy to get lost in the Midwest mentality – the humility and neighborliness, the passion for a state or sports team, the sense of family and community – and forget that the rest of the country is out there with their own styles and attitudes. In his 1953 poem “A Visit to New England,” Jon Swan emphasizes the pride that follows travelers as they venture away from home and encounter those with predispositions towards their region. February of 1953 in Lincoln was warmer than usual, with an average temperature of 40.5˚ F, while New England suffered the same fate with temperatures in the 30s and 40s. At least New Englanders and Midwesterners have the weather to commiserate about. --Daley Eldorado
 
Jon Swan
A Visit to New England
 
When I said I came from Nebraska
She looked at her vague shoes, down her invisible hose,
And smoke rolled from her nose.

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