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Briefly Noted - March 11, 2015

Quick-to-Read Reviews

Monthly book reviews in brief from the staff of Prairie Schooner and associates.

Vol. 4 Issue 1. March 11, 2015. Ed. Paul Clark.

Unaccompanied Minors by Alden Jones | Reviewed by David Weinstein Beastings by Benjamin Myers | Reviewed by Armel Dagorn Harm by Hillary Gravendyk | Reviewed by Maureen Alsop

Women and the Global Imagination: Balancing a Book on My Head

by Karen Ackland

This post is part of an ongoing series of blog posts on the theme of Women and the Global Imagination. In our Winter 2014 issue Alicia Ostriker curated a poetry portfolio on this theme, and we were so struck by its contents that we wanted to keep the dialog surronding this theme going on our blog. Here, Karen Ackland's essay details her own changing understanding of the role of poise in defining womanhood. We hope you enjoy reading.

So You Wanna Win a Book Prize? with Jennifer Perrine

by Ian Rogers

In the run-up to the Prairie Schooner Book Prize deadline, we’re featuring interviews with past winners. Don’t forget that the prize closes in seven days (March 15—submit now!). Jennifer Perrine won the 2014 Prairie Schooner Book Prize for her poetry collection, No Confession, No Mass.  The two of us spoke about flat female characters, The Scarlet Letter, and the value of slowing down.

PRAIRIE SCHOONER: No Confession, No Mass will be your third collection.  Are there any themes or ideas that keep coming back in your work?

Listen to This, Listen to That: Comic Tension

by Dan Froid

This week, I’m changing tack. Let’s go easy on the seventies folkies and bizarre ballads to which this column is prone. Instead, we’re gonna talk about “horsing around as poetry.” That’s how Stacey Waite describes Aaron Belz in Episode 12 of Air Schooner, “Comic Tension.” In this episode, Aaron Belz gets free reign both to read his poems and to talk seriously about crafting comedy.

Brave New Reading List: The Ice People

by Brita Thielen
The Ice People cover

“I, Saul, Teller of Tales, Keeper of Doves, Slayer of Wolves, shall tell the story of my times.”

If you’ve ever wondered what if might be like to live during an ice age, The Ice People by Maggie Gee (1998; Richard Cohen Books) should probably be the next book you pick up. I had never heard of the novel prior to this semester – nor of Maggie Gee, for that matter (though she’s written twelve books), but it will be hard to forget.

Alberta Clipper 3/3/15: "Florida" by Nicole Cuddeback

Florida State Map 1845

The winter of 1998 is said to have been one of the worst winters in Nebraska. For example, on this day that year—as Prairie Schooner launched our Spring Issue—it was a balmy 29 degrees in the Nebraskan capitol, and it was snowing. It goes without saying that residents in Lincoln were wistfully thinking about heading south during those cold times. Somewhere nice and warm. A state like Florida. In fact, Florida became a state on this day in 1845. Though some at the time believed that Florida should be split into two different states, West Florida and East Florida, the territory was admitted to the United States as a single state.  Congress and President Tyler agreed to welcome Florida and its wonderful weather as the twenty-seventh state of the Union on March 3, 1845.

So You Wanna Win a Book Prize? with Bryn Chancellor

by Ian Rogers

In lieu of our usual Contributor Spotlight posts, we’re reviving our series “So You Wanna Win a Book Prize?” in the run-up to the Prairie Schooner Book Prize deadline (March 15—submit now!). Bryn Chancellor won the 2014 Prairie Schooner Book Prize for her short story collection, When Are You Coming Home?  She received news of her award while teaching at the Sewanee Young Writers’ Conference, and had to keep checking her recent calls to make sure she “hadn’t concocted the whole thing while on a high from excessive consumption of dining-hall soft serve cones.”

Listen to This, Listen to That: Strange Love

by Dan Froid

I wonder what a first date with Bluebeard would be like. He’s immensely wealthy but also immensely ugly. You know he’s been married several times, and that all of his marriages have ended badly. But you don’t know why. And that’s pretty much all you know about him. So if you’re on a date with Bluebeard—coerced, most likely, by the promise of wealth, if not domestic comfort—what do you talk about? Does he read? He probably has a huge library but never touches his books. I’m thinking of that scene in The Great Gatsby, where the guy with the owl eyes is surprised that Gatsby has actual books in his library, that it’s not all just for show. Do you think Bluebeard’s library is real?

Brave New Reading List: The Children of Men

by Brita Thielen

This week’s dystopian fiction pick is P.D. James’ novel The Children of Men (Warner Books; 1992). James, best known as a crime fiction writer with a literary edge, passed away quite recently – in November 2014. Her central concern in this novel is similar to the one posed in Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale: how would society change if the human race became unable to procreate?

Women and the Global Imagination: Reimagining the Myth of Sedna

by Hila Ratzabi

In our Winter 2014 issue Alicia Ostriker curated a poetry portfolio on the theme of Women and the Global Imagination. We were so struck by the portfolio that we wanted to continue dialog surronding this theme. The Prairie Schooner blog seemed like a good place to do that. Today we bring you a post by Hila Ratzabi that explores the theme of Women and the Global Imagination by delving into mythology, specifically, the story of the Inuit goddess Sedna, and how her story remains relevant today. We hope you enjoy reading.


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