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January 2013

Winter 2012 Launch Event: Second Night

By Joseph Kozal, Prairie Schooner intern

This past Tuesday, Prairie Schooner concluded the two-day celebration of its winter issue with the highly anticipated visit from author Sherman Alexie, who also edited a portfolio of Native American writers for the issue. A great turnout had eager attendees lined up to the door of the Mary Ripema Ross Media Arts center a half hour before the event was scheduled to start. The audience packed the 250-seat theatre in which Alexie spoke and spilled over into a second theatre where the event was simulcast.

Winter 2012 Launch Event: First Night

By Abby Lien

Prairie Schooner’s two-day celebration of its winter issue began yesterday with screenings of The Business of Fancydancing (2002) and Smoke Signals (1998) at the Mary Riepma Ross Media Arts Center. I saw Smoke Signals, a film written and co-produced by Sherman Alexie and adapted from his 1993 collection of short stories entitled The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven. It was the winner of the Audience Award and Filmmakers Trophy at the 1998 Sundance Film Festival.

The film follows two very different young men—the optimistic, story-telling Thomas and the bitter, stoic Victor—on a journey to Pheonix, Arizona, from their home at the Coeur d'Alene Indian Reservation to retrieve the remains of Victor’s absent father. Alexie’s signature humor pervaded the film and the screening was peppered with audience laughter.

Nabina Das chats with Naren Bedide, writer, translator and commentator in Telugu Dalit literature.

“I am the soldier, I am the battlefield too” Part 1

This is part one of a multiple part interview. Part one focuses on introducing readers to Dalit Poetry.

Q. Imagining that the larger community has little or no idea of "Dalit Literature," tell us something about it.

A. It’s not very difficult to imagine that the larger community has little or no idea of "Dalit Literature." That tells us something about it; that the literature of the former ‘untouchables’ should largely remain untouchable even now, when it is available in such profusion, tells us how desperately the world wants to stand still and hold its breath so that it will go away.

Does this larger community figure in Dalit writing?

The larger community is never absent in the Dalit writer’s imagination. The whole world throbs like a bad tumor in her imagination.

When Yendluri Sudhakar takes a walk in Chicago, he hears Martin Luther King:

An Introduction from new Blog Editor, Jordan Farmer

Dear Readers,

My introduction comes on a sad note for many Prairie Schooner Blog readers. Claire's farewell post marks the end of her tenure on the blog, and frankly, it's an intimidating act to follow. All of her work has been so full of passion and wit, it's a bit like a first time comic going on stage after George Carlin just brought the house down. It isn't simply the burden of taking over duties from such an impressive writer. As I look at the body of her work, I know I'll miss seeing her posts as much as the rest of her faithful readers. So rather than break my metaphorical pencils and go home, I'd like to begin by saying how gratefulI am to Claire for trusting me to take over her project. I promise to give it my all, and keep it up to the impressive standard she set.

Briefly Noted

A monthly book review in brief from the staff of Prairie Schooner.

Volume 2, Issue 1. January 2013.
Harlan-Orsi on David Bradley's "The Chaneysville Incident"
Leibman on Natalie Diaz's "When My Brother Was an Aztec"
Dawes on Anna Quindlen's "Lots and Candles, Plenty of Cake"

Claire's Farewell

Readers, Please check out this goodbye post from Blog Editor Claire Harlan-Orsi.

Dear Prairie Schooner Blog Readers,

Farewell! It’s been a whirlwind year at the keyboard. Now that I’m done with my tenure running this blog I can go back to the quill and ink pot and my trusty pigeon, Thunderbird, who can ferry documents across the country faster than those invisible air tubes they call email. It’s been a great year. I’ve gotten to interview many wonderful writers, worked with fabulous guest bloggers, collaborated with a truly fantastic journal staff and brought an enormous array of exciting Prairie Schooner initiatives to the web reading public’s attention. Plus, I’ve written blog dispatches on e-reading, War and Peace, the perils of discipline and more.

"Stories woven into Landscape"

Readers, check out Claire Harlan-Orsi's interview with writer Laura Da' on the imagery in her poetry and her identity as a poet.

These poems very powerfully evoke the histories that adhere to particular landscapes. Can you talk a little about how you see the connections between land, people and time?

As a writer, I think that most of my poems begin embedded within a particular landscape and a particular sensation of the body. I got the idea for the poem “Irreversibility” when I was at a tourist center at a dam on the Columbia River. The noise from the river was overwhelming and even though we were perfectly safe, I was seized with a sense of panic. That sparse landscape combined with my panicked senses was the starting place for that poem. I combined that with the experiences my family members related to me about working Washington state dams.

Randall Kenan's Favorite Food

PS Winter Issue Contributor Interview Series #1
Randall Kenan

Randall Kenan's humorous and enlightening short story about relations between the rich and the poor, "The Eternal Glory That is Ham Hocks", is featured in our Winter 2012-2013 issue. In the first of our Winter Issue interviews, Kenan discusses notorious business magnate Howard Hughes, the presence of the story's narrator, and what it all has to do with food: 


Your story involves a real historical person--the business magnate Howard Hughes. How did you decide on him? Was there ever a question as to whether you'd use a fictional character or a real one? What do you see as the value of blending history and fiction in this way?