Endowed in perpetuity by the Glenna Luschei Fund for Excellence

February 2015

Brave New Reading List: The Circle

by Brita Thielen

I am not what you would call a tech-savvy person. I only joined Twitter this fall, and to date I don’t have Instagram, Tumblr, an e-reader or a smart phone. Needless to say, I’m a bit behind-the-times on the tech scene.

However, reading Dave Eggers’ The Circle (2013; Knopf/McSweeney’s Books) reassured me that maybe my relatively unconnected life is okay. The novel centers on Mae Holland, a young woman who has just been hired at The Circle thanks to her college friend Annie, who works in the company’s upper echelons. The Circle is basically a technological super-company: not only is it the leading social media and search engine platform, is also attracts the best and brightest minds to create everything from tracking devices that prevent child abductions to ultra-portable surveillance cameras and drones.

Contributor Spotlight on Ladan Osman

by Dan Froid

This week, we want to spotlight someone who is something of a superstar on the Prairie Schooner scene: poet Ladan Osman. This is no surprise: her poetry is candid, passionate, and abounding with striking images. Last year, she won Sillerman First Book Prize for African Poets. Her winning manuscript, The Kitchen Dweller’s Testimony, will be published this year. Additionally, her chapbook Ordinary Heaven was included in the box-set Seven New Generation African Poets, published last year.

Listen to This, Listen to That: Side Door

by Dan Froid

“If I go through that side door, if I go into the world via something magical, or heightened, or strange, or absurdist . . . I can access the emotional stuff more clearly,” Aimee Bender explains. In Air Schooner’s sixteenth episode, “Side Door,” the novelist and short-story writer discusses her surreal approach to fiction-writing: she seeks to capture not plot or characterization, but “something alive.” She compares writing to a terrarium, in which that “something” can grow from the page. 

Brave New Reading List: The Handmaid’s Tale

by Brita Thielen

Confession: I have never before read a Margaret Atwood novel.

This feels like a gross oversight, possibly on par with a mortal sin. A simple online search of the “The Handmaid’s Tale” brings up over 400,000 results, and the novel has been reviewed nearly 16,000 times on goodreads with an average rating of 5 stars. And let me tell you, it’s worth the hype. I cannot remember the last time I have been so completely blown away by a novel.

Alberta Clipper 2/3/2015: ‘Ford Pickup’ by David Allan Evans

On February 3rd, 1947, the first truck rolled off of the new Highland Park Ford assembly line in Highland Park, Michigan.  At the time, the Highland Park Plant was the only Ford plant to be specifically producing trucks. The truck, Ford’s F-Series, remains North America’s best selling pickup truck to date.

In the winter of 1973, David Allan Evans’ poem “Ford Pickup” was published in Prairie Schooner. On that cool February day the temperature was 48 degrees Fahrenheit, a bit warmer than the monthly average of 40 degrees.--Evan Berry

David Allan Evans
Ford Pickup

call me the Valiant heading west on Fourteen into the frozen
Dakota January sun and the one suddenly ahead the red
Custom Ranger with Texas plates and his woman taking
their time and all of my eye as he sits straight and high
beneath a white Stetson nodding politely over frost heave

Contributor Spotlight on Adélia Prado

by Dan Froid

In June of last year, the Griffin Trust for Excellence in Poetry’s Lifetime Recognition Award was bestowed on a poet whom, I suspect, most American readers know little about. And yet she is one of the most respected poets in her country, Brazil. Fellow poet Robert Hass paid her a superlative tribute: he noted that she has been compared to figures as disparate as Emily Dickinson, Walt Whitman, and St. Francis of Assisi.