Endowed in perpetuity by the Glenna Luschei Fund for Excellence

Around the Office: Hali Sofala

Short interviews with Prairie Schooner editors and staff members.
Hali Sofala

Hali Sofala is the Book Prize Coordinator for Prairie Schooner. From Georgia, she's a first-year Ph.D. student in poetry, specializing in women’s and ethnic studies. She previously earned an M.F.A. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Hali has taught at Augusta State University, where she also worked as the Textbook Manager for the University’s campus bookstore. Her poems have been published in journals such as Anderbo, Inner Weather, The Literary Bohemian, and The Peacock’s Feet.

On to the questions--

What did you think of Lincoln before you came here? Where did you come from?
I had no real point of reference for Lincoln. I earned my MFA in Madison, WI and thought that Lincoln might mirror that place since they were both home to Big 10 schools but that's not quite the case. I'm also a fan of Bright Eyes/Conor Oberst so I was familiar with Omaha but not Lincoln. I am originally from Eatonton, GA--home of Alice Walker. Before coming to UNL I was working as a textbook manager and adjunct instructor in Augusta, GA.

To you, what is the ideal story or poem? Why do you feel such a strong connection to it?
In order to answer this I guess I'll look just at my favorite poem, which is 'Poetry Will Save Me' by Adelia Prado (translated by Ellen Watson). I love this poem because of its honesty and how unapologetic it is about the emotion driving the poem. It also opens up the world in a new way for me and causes me to reexamine aspects of how I interact and view the world and my place in it. I suppose that does seem like a tall order to ask of every poem but it's what I love about the very best of them.

What’s the best place to eat in Lincoln? Which restaurant has your favorite guilty pleasure food?
I am the wrong person to ask since I haven't been in Lincoln very long and rarely venture out from my tried-and-true chain restaurants. So, I'll answer this by saying that I'd love to receive suggestions on the best place to eat in Lincoln.

How is the book prize submission period going so far? Any comments to those who might be thinking of entering but haven't yet taken the plunge?
We are having a great submission period so far. The addition of online submissions has really helped to not only boost our numbers but also to bring in authors who may not have submitted before now. I urge all would-be contributors to be brave and take the plunge and also know that they can contact me anytime at PSbookprize@unl.edu. They can aslo check us out at the Prairie Schooner table at AWP!