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Prairie Schooner News

FUSION 9 - Libations, With Poems, Art, and Essays from Ghana

Just as a libation can be poured using various potable liquids and mixtures, so this collection of poems goes to serve one purpose. The collection is in itself, a libation.

Libations is the theme of our latest FUSION, a collaboration with Ghana and the ninth edition of our FUSION series. Each FUSION features poems from both the Prairie Schooner archives and a different country around the world, along with essays and visual art all centered on a different theme. (Check out past FUSIONs with Hong Kong, Iran, Australia, and others here.)

FUSION 9 with Ghana features work by poets L.S. Mensah, Dannabang Kuwabong, Ellen Gilchrist, and Arthur Smith, and visual artists Bernard Akoi-Jackson and Ray Taddeucci. The screenshot above comes from Akoi-Jackson's 2012 video, The Cleansing.

APBF to Open Five African Poetry Libraries in September

The African Poetry Book Fund and Prairie Schooner are launching five poetry reading libraries in the Gambia, Botswana, Ghana, Kenya, and Uganda scheduled to open this September. Each library will house contemporary poetry books and journals available to poets and lovers of poetry in these five countries and beyond. Each library contains room for over 1,500 titles, offers resources for those interested in publishing their poems, and will serve as a hub for poets to meet and collaborate while remaining open to all.

“Too many poets working in Africa today have limited access to contemporary poetry,” said APBF Series Editor Kwame Dawes, “partly because of poor distribution by international publishers within Africa and partly because of the cost of books. We felt it would be a great idea to establish small poetry libraries in as many places as possible.”

All five libraries have been established through partnerships with writing organizations, arts organizations, existing libraries, and influential individuals in the arts from each of the five launch countries, and all have received start-up donations of books collected and sent to them by the APBF. Some of the initial mailing—just over four hundred books and journals to each site—consists of poetry collections donated by select literary journals from across the country, with a focus on new authors and contemporary collections from around the world.

Sites for the new poetry libraries include the Gaborone Public Library (pictured above) in Gaborone, Botswana, while the Uganda poetry library in Kampala (pictured below) has been made possible by the Ugandan Arts Trust.

More information about the African Poetry Library Initiative can be found on the APBF Poetry Library website.

Summer 2014 Issue Now Available

The Summer 2014 issue of Prairie Schooner, with poetry and prose by Robert Gibb, Jenine Capó Crucet, Floyd Skloot, Jesse Lee Kercheval, and others, is now available and has been mailed out to subscribers. Click here to see samples from the current issue and for a full list of contributors, or click here to subscribe.

This issue's cover features Zacatecas 1, an archival pigment print photograph by visual artist Francisco Soutou, whose work has been exhibited in Venezuela, Egypt, Japan, Russia, and elsewhere around the world. More of Soutou's photos, paintings, and prints are available on his website, http://www.franciscosouto.com.

Summer Creative Nonfiction Contest - Deadline August 1

This is the final week to submit to Prairie Schooner’s annual Summer Creative Nonfiction contest, which is accepting entries until August 1, 2014. Winners receive $250 and publication in the Spring 2015 issue. The entry fee is only $18.00 US, which includes a one-year subscription to the print journal—a $10 savings off the regular rate! Writers may submit multiple entries, but must pay a separate fee for each submission.

We are only considering electronic submissions for our Summer Creative Nonfiction Contest. Click here for full guidelines and to submit via Submittable.

Last year’s contest winner was Melissa Febos (pictured above) for her essay “Call My Name,” appearing in our Spring 2014 issue. Melissa also sat down for an interview with Assistant Nonfiction Editor Sarah Fawn Montgomery, which you can read on the Prairie Schooner blog.

2014 Prairie Schooner Book Prize winners announced: $6,000 awarded

Prairie Schooner at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln has announced the winners for its annual awards for books of short fiction and poetry. The winners were chosen from more than 1,100 submissions from around the world.

Jennifer Perrine

The winner of the Prairie Schooner Book Prize in Poetry for 2014 is Jennifer Perrine for her manuscript, No Confession, No Mass. She will receive a $3,000 prize and publication by the University of Nebraska Press. Perrine is also the author of In the Human Zoo (University of Utah Press, 2011), recipient of the 2010 Agha Shahid Ali Poetry Prize, and The Body Is No Machine (New Issues, 2007), winner of the 2008 Devil’s Kitchen Reading Award in Poetry. Jennifer teaches courses in creative writing and social justice and directs the Women’s and Gender Studies program at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa.

Bryn Chancellor

The Prairie Schooner Book Prize in Fiction for 2014 goes to Bryn Chancellor for her manuscript, When Are You Coming Home?. She will receive a $3,000 prize and publication by the University of Nebraska Press. Chancellor’s short fiction has appeared in Gulf Coast, Blackbird, Colorado Review, Crazyhorse, Phoebe, and elsewhere. In 2014, she was selected as the Poets & Writers Maureen Egen Writers Exchange winner in fiction, and she received a Literary Arts Fellowship from the Alabama State Council on the Arts. Previous honors include a fellowship and a project grant from the Arizona Commission on the Arts and scholarships from the Bread Loaf and Sewanee Writers’ Conferences. A graduate of Vanderbilt University's MFA program, she is an assistant professor at the University of Montevallo in Alabama. She is married to the artist Timothy Winkler. 

The competition, in its twelfth year, runs Jan. 15 to March 15 annually. Submission details and a list of past winners are available online at http://prairieschooner.unl.edu/?q=book-prize/past-winners.

Founded in 1927, Prairie Schooner is a national literary quarterly published with the support of the English Department at UNL. It publishes fiction, poetry, essays and reviews by beginning, mid-career, and established writers.


Welcome to Managing Editor Ashley Strosnider, and Farewell to Marianne Kunkel

Prairie Schooner has named its new managing editor, Ashley Strosnider, whose experience includes editing positions at Drunken Boat, Pithead Chapel, and the University of South Carolina’s Yemassee journal.

Ashley’s hiring came after a nationwide search led by Editor-in-Chief Kwame Dawes. She grew up in Kentucky and received an MFA in poetry from the University of South Carolina, where she was a James Dickey fellow. Her publishing experience ranges from small presses to independent publishing to literary journals, and her poetry and fiction have appeared in Fifth Wednesday, Nashville Review, Bayou, Potomac Review, Word Riot, and Smokelong Quarterly. A full list of her publications is available on her website.

As an editor, Strosnider believes firmly in Prairie Schooner’s ability to connect writers and readers. “My admiration for Prairie Schooner is longstanding and deep,” she said when asked what brought her to the journal. “The university literary journal embodies a large-scale investment in the transfer of ideas.”

Ashley's arrival is paired with the departure of Marianne Kunkel, who finishes out her three-year period as managing editor of Prairie Schooner as she prepares for her new position as Assistant Professor of Creative Writing and Publishing at Missouri Western State University. In addition to teaching literature and creative writing, Kunkel will oversee the college’s literary journal, The Mochila Review.

Marianne began work as a reader for Prairie Schooner and was hired as managing editor in November 2011 after the departure of previous editor James Engelhardt. Originally from Alabama, she holds an MFA from the University of Florida, and this spring received her PhD in poetry from UNL with a specialization in women’s and gender studies. Her chapbook, The Laughing Game, was published in 2012 by Finishing Line Press, and her work has appeared in Columbia Poetry Review, Hayden’s Ferry Review, Poet Lore, Rattle, and River Styx.

“Marianne will do exceptionally well where she is going,” Dawes said in farewell, “but I will miss her greatly.”

Announcing the First Annual Glenna Luschei Prize for African Poetry

They say once Africa bites you, you never recover.

Poet and literary philanthropist Glenna Luschei has bestowed a generous award through the African Poetry Book Fund to fund a new prize for a collection by an African poet. Starting this year, the Glenna Luschei Prize for African Poetry will be the first prize to recognize already published works of African poetry, with the winner receiving $5,000 and commendation at a ceremony in a major US city.

To be eligible for the Glenna Luschei Prize, a collection must have been published in 2013 by a recognized press, and the author must be of African nationality, African residency, or African parentage. Each prize will be judged by an internationally renowned poet, with the first prize to be judged by Nigerian writer and poet Chris Abani. Nominations for works published in 2013 are open from May 1 to July 1, 2014, with a winner to be announced in October 2014. Click here for full guidelines and to nominate collections for the Glenna Luschei Prize, or e-mail questions to psbookprize@unl.edu.

In addition to her work in literary philanthropy, Glenna Luschei founded Solo Press in 1966 and has published the poetry magazines Café Solo, Solo, Solo Café, and Solo Novo. Her latest volume of poetry, Leaving It All Behind, was published by Presa Press in 2011.

2013 Prairie Schooner Award Winners

Thanks to generous supporters of the literary arts, we're proud and honored to award writing prizes totaling $8,500 to eighteen authors for their Prairie Schooner work published in 2013:

Lee Martin of Columbus, Ohio won the $1,500 Glenna Luschei Prairie Schooner Award for his story, “Wrong Number” in the Summer issue. Martin has published three memoirs, most recently Such a Life. He is also the author of four novels, including Break the Skin and The Bright Forever, the latter a finalist for the 2006 Pulitzer Prize in Fiction. He teaches in the MFA program at Ohio State University.

Lauren Acampora of Katonoah, New York won the $1,000 Lawrence Foundation Award for the story “Felt Life” in the Spring issue. Acampora's fiction has appeared in The Paris Review, The Missouri Review, New England Review, and The Antioch Review, among other publications. She lives in upstate New York with her husband and daughter.

Ellen O’Connell of Santa Barbara, California won the $1,000 Virginia Faulkner Award for Excellence in Writing for her essay “Only X-Rays are Black & White” in the Fall issue. O’Connell is a California native whose work has been included in several literary journals and was nominated for a Pushcart Prize in 2010. She is a contributing writer to the collection The Movement (Harper Perennial), and just completed her first novel.

Kevin Simmonds of San Francisco, California won the $1,000 Edward Stanley Award for his poem “Scott, Supervisor of the Dispossessed” in the Winter issue. Simmonds is a writer and musician living in San Francisco who composed and co-wrote Emmett Till, a river, a Japanese noh-inspired play that premiered at Theater of Yugen. His writing has appeared in Bellevue Literary Review, Cincinnati Review, Octopus, softblow, and Ecopoetry: A Contemporary American Anthology.

Sarah Valentine of Los Angeles, California won the $500 Bernice Slote Award for the best work by a beginning writer for her essay “The Divine Auditor” in the Summer issue. Valentine is a poet, writer, and translator whose work has appeared in journals such as Callaloo, Zoland, and Poetics: An Empirical Journal of Culture. She received a Lannan Writers Residency in Marfa, Texas, and is the author of a book of Russian poetry translations, Into the Snow: Selected Poems of Gennady Aygi (Wave Books).

Heather Sellers of Holland, Michigan won the $500 Annual Prairie Schooner Strousse Award for her three poems in the Fall issue. Sellers teaches poetry and nonfiction at the University of South Florida. She is the author of two collections of poetry, Drinking Girls and Their Dresses and The Boys I Borrow; and a memoir, You Don’t Look Like Anyone I Know (Riverhead).

Traci Brimhall of Kalamazoo, Michigan won the $250 Jane Geske Award for her two poems in the Fall issue. Brimhall is the author of Our Lady of the Ruins (W.W. Norton), winner of the Barnard Women Poet’s Prize; and Rookery (SIU Press), winner of the Crab Orchard Series First Book Award. Her poems have appeared in Kenyon Review, Slate, Ploughshares, and Best American Poetry. She’s received fellowships from the Wisconsin Institute for Creative Writing, King-Chávez-Parks Foundation, and National Endowment for the Arts.

Nikki Giovanni of Christianburg, Virginia won the $250 Hugh J. Luke Award for her two poems in the Fall issue. Giovanni is a poet, activist, mother, and professor. She is a three-time NAACP Image Award winner, the first recipient of the Rosa Parks Women of Courage Award, and she holds the Langston Hughes Medal for Outstanding Poetry. The author of twenty-eight books, she is the University Distinguished Professor/English at Virginia Tech and an Oprah Living Legend.

There were ten winners of the Glenna Luschei Prairie Schooner Awards of $250 each:

  • Moniza Alvi of Norfolk, England, for two poems in the Winter issue
  • Vievee Francis of Hamtramck, Michigan, for two poems in the Summer issue
  • Julianne Lynch of Denver, Colorado, for the story, “Broomhead” in the Summer issue
  • Bryan Castille of St. Louis, Missouri, for the story “Ulan Bator” in the Summer issue
  • Joy Moore of Jackson, Tennessee, for the poem “Tennessee Wedding” in the Fall issue
  • Ishion Hutchinson of Ithaca, New York, for four poems in the Summer issue
  • Mihaela Moscaliuc of Ocean, New Jersey, for the essay “Apples” in the Winter issue
  • Natalie Scenters-Zapico of El Paso, Texas, for two poems in the Fall issue
  • Karen An-hwei Lee of Santa Ana, California, for three poems in the Fall issue
  • Craig Beaven of Houston, Texas, for the poem “Braids” in the Summer issue

Congratulations to all of our winners!

Women and the Global Imagination Poetry Portfolio - Submissions Open

Prairie Schooner is excited to announce that our Winter 2014 issue will feature a poetry portfolio centered on the theme of Women and the Global Imagination, guest-edited by poet Alicia Ostriker. If you have work that you'd like considered for the portfolio, send up to five pages of unpublished poems and/or prose poetry, along with your contact information and a 3-line bio, to schooner.special.subs@gmail.com. The submission period ends May 15th, 2014.

What would fit with the portfolio? Anything with an international dimension, or that engages in some way with the world we live in. We look forward to reading what you come up with!

Spring Issue Cake

Once again, we're celebrating the release of our Spring issue with a delicious cake by the incomparable Lorna Dawes! The issue's cover, Fidencio Martinez's Countrymen, was created using acrylic, paper, and maps.

Martinez was born in Oaxaca, Mexico, but raised in North Carolina, and his work manipulates maps and newspaper cuttings to refer to the crafts and customs used to celebrate festivals and mourn the dead. It also makes for an excellent cake.