Endowed in perpetuity by the Glenna Luschei Fund for Excellence

War and Peace: A Reader's Chronicle

Dispatches from Blog Editor Claire Harlan Orsi

Guess what? I read War and Peace! If this were any other book, I wouldn’t be able to get away with simply narrating an account of the mundane occurrences that filled my life during the reading of said book. But because this is War and Peace, all bets are off. Having earned “the right” (who bestows these rights?) to self-indulgence around page 1200, I will now treat my faithful blog reader(s) to a blow-by-blow account of—not my thoughts about the book itself, no, that would be a different, more dignified blog post entirely—the process of reading Tolstoy’s world-changing classic. All dates below are from the fateful Summer of 2012.

Creative Nonfiction Contest Winner!

Natalie Vestin

Congratulations to Natalie Vestin, winner of Prairie Schooner's inaugural Creative Nonfiction Contest! Contest judge Steven Church read over 500 excellent submissions, and had this to say about Vestin's winning essay, "How to Own a Building":

"Like the introverted architecture it evokes, the voice and structure of 'How to Own a Building' draws you in, pulling you down into a deeply essayistic, intellectually and emotionally gratifying exploration of the ways in which we own and are owned by the shells we construct around us. Never sentimental, solipsistic or melodramatic, the essay dips a toe into the powerful currents of 9/11 without letting the rest of the essay get carried away, demonstrating the aesthetic restraint and grace that defines true art."

Best American Notables!

Congratulations to these PS Contributors, whose work was recognized in the 2012 Best American Series

Melodie Edward’s story “The Bird Lady” (PS Summer 2011), a notable for 2012 Best American Short Stories

Nancy McCabe’s essay “Threads” (PS Fall 2011), a notable for 2012 Best American Non-Required Reading

Gregory Blake Smith’s “Punishment” (Spring 2011), a notable for 2012 Best American Mystery Stories

Nancy McCabe’s essay “Threads” (Fall 2011) a notable for 2012 Best American Essays

"I Just Write What I Want to Read"

An Interview with Novelist Michael Kardos

This interview is the second in the Crooked Letter Interview Series hosted by Prairie Schooner’s Southern Correspondent, James Madison Redd. On September 12th 2012, he met with novelist Michael Kardos in Starkville, Mississippi. The following is an excerpt from their meeting.


Lorrie Moore Recap!

Acclaimed writer Lorrie Moore, author of such contemporary classics as the short story collections Self Help and Birds of America, as well as the novels Who Will Run the Frog Hospital and most recently

5 Questions for Marilyn Chin

PS Managing Editor Marianne Kunkel interviews the Fall 2012 contributor on her "crossed dressing" prose poems

Marilyn Chin’s books of poems include Rhapsody in Plain Yellow; The Phoenix Gone, The Terrace Empty; and Dwarf Bamboo. Her new book of tales is called Revenge of the Mooncake Vixen. Her work is widely anthologized and is taught in classrooms all over the world.


Your series of six poems in the Fall 2012 issue of Prairie Schooner examine the strained relationship between a daughter away at camp and her mother who writes her letters. Only three questions appear in the entire series; the mother is so uninquisitive and quick to judge, it's sometimes funny. What inspired your use of humor in these poems?

New Web Editor!

An Introduction from Eric Jones

In Milledgeville, GA, where I come from, southern rock and southern food are the key nutrients in the city's veins. Here in Lincoln, NE, it's football and books. So when I moved here last year I immediately arranged to meet with the chair of the One Book, One Lincoln Committee to discuss the 2011 winner, Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese. (I also bought a Huskers Blackout Tee.)

Four Questions for Brian James Schill

Claire Harlan Orsi interviews the PS Fall 2012 Contributor on his essay, "The Superego State: A Lover’s Reply"

Brian James Schill is a North Dakota native. He teaches a variety of courses for the University of North Dakota Honors Program. His scholarship and creative nonfiction have appeared in Clamor, Punk Planet, Extra!, Anarchist Studies and elsewhere.


You write that you "can no longer ignore" the social and psychological ramifications of being a North Dakotan. Why do you think you've chosen to investigate this subject at this moment in your life? Was there a catalyst that provoked you to reflect on your state heritage?

Kewpie's Mom

This is the eighth installment of an ongoing series written for the blog by Richard Graham. Richard is an associate professor and media services librarian at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, where he studies the educational use of comics and serves as the film and art history liaison. His posts examine UNL’s, Nebraska’s, and the larger literary world’s connections with the comics medium.

Rose O’Neill was a self-trained artist who built a very successful career as a magazine and book illustrator. She is well-known as the inventor of the Kewpie, an elfish and androgynous cupid with a top-knot head, large eyes, and cute little grin. Kewpies were a consumer craze that lasted a few decades and made Ms. O’Neill a millionaire. Though she was a prudent entrepreneur, Rose had the soul of an artist, and her personal life and ambitions reflected this.

Fall Issue Highlights!

Gentle Readers: Prairie Schooner Fall 2012 is here!!

This is the issue in which...

Alicia Ostriker personifies old women, tulips and dogs
Ted Kehoe writes the strange grief of a miscarriage
Nance Van Winckel contemplates "the lingo of smile and nod" and
Our esteemed reviewers assess the National Book Award's "5 Under 35" selections as well as new work from Cathy Park Hong, Joe Millar and more!

Subscribe here, and make sure to check back in this space for Fall Issue-related features coming up in the next month, including a North Dakota-related interview, Marilyn Chin on genre-melding and a multimedia photo-collage from one of our contributors!

In the meantime, read these tantalizing excerpts from:


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