Summer 2020 Issue Now Available

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Summer in Nebraska is a season of storms—of heat and thunder and lightning. Our Summer 2020 issue opens with a rumble in a set of four new poems from Martín Espada. In “Boxer Wears America First Shorts in Bout with Mexican, Finishes Second,” hooks answer jabs, and Lightning Rod—in his red, white, and blue “border wall trunks”—indeed takes the heat.

Stories from Troy Onyango, Kate St. Vincent, and Wandeka GayleI rush their characters headlong into pressing questions about family. In Onyango’s “Run,” “Hosea, simply put, does not know who or what his family is, and that is why he is surprised when his father shouts, ‘Run!'”. In Vogl’s “Saginaw, 1977,” it’s a father who must move quickly, and “when you tell him, he breaks out in a run. First time you’ve ever seen him do it outside a show ring.” In Gayle’s “Walker Woman,” Sophia races outside into the rain to check on an older neighbor. “‘Tornado coming. It not safe,” she said, sheltering them both with the large striped umbrella. ‘How you get here?'” But her elder is in no hurry. “‘I walked,’ the woman said, casually.” In Sakena Abedin’s “Peepli,” the sun comes out. “Right after he left,” Peepli confesses, “I went outside into the backyard and stood barefoot on the grass and felt the sun warm my head. I have never felt as free as I did in that moment, even though I didn’t do anything but turn around after a few minutes and go back inside.” Vincent Yu’s “Buddy” brims similarly with the ache of possibility: “You’ve learned over the past few months that life proceeds like beads sliding down a string, and each moment holds a kind of whispering possibility that could expand and fundamentally alter the pattern of who you become.”

The poems sizzle and crackle, too. “These are yours. Take your words & let them burn / to ash, so the flame of them cinders the message & / stings your taste buds, so you inhale your own grit,” writes Felicia Zamora, in “Negative Compliment or Contemplations on Racist Rhetoric.” In “The Text I Will Not Sent to My Husband,” Lori Ann Gravley bluntly says what she won’t be texting: “Here’s your fucking purpose, to learn / how love lives in the world, what’s in front of you.” And in “Death Invented For Us,” Jeremy Voigt’s speaker insists “I know, I said, I know, I know, I know both the question,/ the answer, the banded-after, none of which really exists.” The issue also features new poems from Alicia Ostriker, Martha Collins, Jill Bialosky, Matthew Gavin Frank, Jess Williard, Daniel Lassell, Paul Dickey, Emily Tuszynska, Susan Landgraf, Brooke Sahni, Peter Grandbois, Stephen Hundley, Michael Joyce, Derek Ellis, Claudia M. Reder, Partridge Boswell, David Ebenbach, Susan Cohen, Casey Thayer, Jazelle Jajeh, Meg Eden, and Linda Malnack.

For fans of creative nonfiction, this issue features last year’s nonfiction contest finalists, Sarah Terez Rosenblum and Jeremy Faro, selected by Melissa Febos. (FYI: This year’s nonfiction contest is now open, and judged by Sarah M. Broom!) Rosenblum opens her essay “How to Be” with a series of confessions: “I’m like one of those kids who survived a plane crash because a pack of wolves adopted him. … No one taught me the right way to be Jewish.” Faro, in “Placelessness,” looks at the history, both personal and cultural, of Provincetown. Past Glenna Luschei Award winner Julie Marie Wade is back, this time with a new essay on The Mary Tyler Moore Show. Melissa Holbrook Pierson considers “Smoking in Wartime” and Megan J. Arlett writes “On Castration.”

Asa Drake reviews Victoria Chang again, this time considering her latest, Obit, and Michael McCarthy, in his first published piece, offers an insightful look at past nonfiction contest judge Carmen Maria Machado’s In the Dream House.

You can order the new summer issue, or if all this sounds good and you trust us to put together four issues a year that are just as compelling, please consider purchasing a subscription to a full year of Prairie Schooner. In addition to the brand new Summer Issue, subscribers can look forward to our fall issue in September, read a special winter portfolio guest-edited by Mahtem Shiferraw in December, and support us on into 2021—when we’ll celebrate our 95th birthday.