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Contributor Spotlight on James Crews

by Dan Froid

In a twist on our usual Contributor Spotlight posts, this week we present an interview with poet James Crews. Crews is the winner of the 2010 Prairie Schooner Book Prize in Poetry. His award-winning manuscript, The Book of What Stays, was published in 2011 by the University of Nebraska Press. He is also the author of three chapbooks: What Has Not Yet Left, Bending the Knot, and One Hundred Small Yellow Envelopes. He agreed to speak with me about the prize, place, influence, and more. He previously appeared on our blog in another interview, in 2013.

1. What did winning the book prize mean for you as a poet?

Listen to This, Listen to That: Location, Location

by Dan Froid

I’ve been thinking about place: where we spend our childhoods, where we move and live, the places we find wonderful or detestable or just endurable. Writer and filmmaker Julie Dash recalls her childhood in “Location, Location,” Episode 43 of Air Schooner. Though she was born and raised in Long Island, both of Julie Dash’s parents came from South Carolina, and her life and experiences have been inflected by the Gullah/Geechee culture of that state.

Brave New Reading List – Brave New World

by Brita Thielen
Brave New World Cover

This week’s post should make it fairly obvious where I drew my inspiration from for the title of this blog series. Brave New World (1932; Harper & Brothers) is the oldest novel I will address in this series. I chose it in part because while it was not the first, it is probably the most well-known of the early dystopian novels. It also contains themes and social concerns that are still relevant today. 

Alberta Clipper 2/17/15: “A Visit to New England” by Jon Swan

It is easy to get lost in the Midwest mentality – the humility and neighborliness, the passion for a state or sports team, the sense of family and community – and forget that the rest of the country is out there with their own styles and attitudes. In his 1953 poem “A Visit to New England,” Jon Swan emphasizes the pride that follows travelers as they venture away from home and encounter those with predispositions towards their region. February of 1953 in Lincoln was warmer than usual, with an average temperature of 40.5˚ F, while New England suffered the same fate with temperatures in the 30s and 40s. At least New Englanders and Midwesterners have the weather to commiserate about. --Daley Eldorado
 
Jon Swan
A Visit to New England
 
When I said I came from Nebraska
She looked at her vague shoes, down her invisible hose,
And smoke rolled from her nose.

Contributor Spotlight on Chris Ware

by Dan Froid

Prairie Schooner is, of course, well-known for the many writers of poetry and fiction whose work appears in our pages. But we don’t so frequently acknowledge those whose work is, in fact, the most visible to us. I’m talking about our covers: this week, we’re going to draw your attention to a beloved artist who also happens to have a Prairie Schooner cover to his name.

Listen to This, Listen to That: Animals

by Dan Froid

I was thinking about the divide between humans and animals recently—big subject, maybe, but I was reading Frankenstein and felt compelled to consider where the creature fits in. A classmate in the seminar asked us, Why do we read? We wonder, why does the creature read? Does it transgress against our nature to do so? Although animals lack rationality, they certainly do not lack curiosity—and curiosity could go a long way toward considering why a dog must investigate its surroundings, or why I must read. 

Women and the Global Imagination: Translating Sanitary Pads

by Liz Granger

This post is the first in 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. Liz Granger's essay does just that, and shows us that ideas that are global in scope can have their genesis in the individual imagination. We hope you enjoy reading.

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. 

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