Endowed in perpetuity by the Glenna Luschei Fund for Excellence

September 2018

"Private Stories of Desperate, Protracted Love": an Interview with Dessa

by Ilana Masad

Dessa is a writer and musician of incredible reputation. Her new book, My Own Devices, was released this month. Our nonfiction editor Ilana Masad asked Dessa some questions about the book and her work. Read on...


Hi Dessa! First of all, thank you so much for doing this interview. It's an honor. I have some general-ish questions and some more specific questions about the book, you as a writer, etc. so here we go:

1. Music and words--especially rapping and words--go hand in hand. Still, I wonder whether there are different sets of writing muscles for writing lyrics, for writing poetry, and for writing memoir and personal essays. Was the process of writing this book unique? How?

Songwriting demands particular attention to phrasing—the very same sentence can sound either poignant or cringe-worthy, depending on the cadence. 

"Searching for normal, when what I really needed was kindness": an Interview with Sarah Fawn Montgomery

by Ilana Masad

Starting Quite Mad: An American Pharma Memoir by Sarah Fawn Montgomery—out today with Mad Creek Books, an imprint of Ohio State University Press—was difficult. It’s always somewhat nerve-wracking to approach a book that deals intimately with an identity and subject-matter that is close to your heart, and so as a mentally ill person, reading books about madness tends to have a great effect on me. And boy howdy, did this one have an effect. Weeks after finishing it, I’m still thinking about it often, daily, and that haunting quality is part and parcel of what makes the book so incredible.

“A daily handful of wonder and awe”: A Debut Poet Roundtable, Pt. 2

Last we heard from our debut poets, they were discussing tardigrades! In the second and final part of this roundtable, five former members of Prairie Schooner’s editorial team—Sarah A. Chavez, Crystal S. Gibbins, Marianne Kunkel, Michelle Menting, and Hali Sofala-Jones—discuss the intersection of their first full-length poetry collection and the current American climate, some simple and bold self-marketing strategies, and what they’ll write next. Thanks for tuning in!


MK: How do you see your book fitting into this particular time in history? We’re all self-identifying women poets, but our identities are broader and more multi-faceted than that. Twenty or 50 years from now, what will your poems witness about the world in 2017-18?