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Prairie Schooner News

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.

2014 Book Prize Celebration

For the third year, Prairie Schooner will be hosting its annual Book Prize Celebration, mixing readings with artists' interpretations of its prize-winning books, featuring the 2012 Prairie Schooner Book Prize winners Orlando Ricardo Menes for his poetry collection Fetish and Xhenet Aliu for her short story collection Domesticated Wild Things, along with special music composition and photography performances. A reception will follow.

The readings and reception are open to the public, and will take place this Wednesday, April 9 at 7:00 at the International Quilt Study Center & Museum on 1523 N. 33rd St. in Lincoln. Hosted by Prairie Schooner and the University of Nebraska Press, the event promises to be a memorable one.

Submissions for the 2014 Prairie Schooner Book Prize have ended, but click here for guidelines to submit for next year.

Six Ways to Commemorate World Poetry Day

Prairie Schooner is taking time to honor the U.N.’s World Poetry Day on March 21, celebrating poetry’s power to communicate rich ideas and grant us insight to places deep within ourselves. The day was proclaimed in 1999 in Paris by the United Nations to both reaffirm poetry’s place in society and recognize its ability to fulfill global aesthetic needs through communication.

Here are six ways readers can celebrate World Poetry Day with Prairie Schooner:

#1. Read a FUSION Poem

Prairie Schooner’s FUSION web series combines poetry and art from nations around the world, including Iran, the Balkans, Australia, India, Botswana, Hong Kong, the Philippines, and the latest issue from Singapore.

#2. Discover World Poetry News

The journal’s weekly Poetry News in Review gathers poetry news from around the world. The latest installment chronicles a copyright violation in Sweden and the censorship of Palestinian poems at the Riyadh International Book Fair in Dubai.

#3. Explore World Poets with the Global Schooner App

Global Schooner, Prairie Schooner’s free web app, profiles 300 worldwide writers whose work has appeared in the journal, with expanded content featuring author interviews, video readings, and audio recordings. Download it online or through the iTunes store.

#4. Find a New Perspective From an International Blogger

Prairie Schooner’s blog team comes from around the world, including Ryan Van Winkle, who regularly conducts podcasts for the Scottish Poetry Library, and Nabina Das, who’s interviewed prominent literary figures from India.

#5. Check Out APBF’s African Poetry Releases

Prairie Schooner’s partner project, the African Poetry Book Fund, publishes works by emerging and established African writers, including the new and selected poems of Ghanaian poet Kofi Awoonor and Kenyan poet Clifton Gachagua’s Madman at Kilifi, winner of last year’s Sillerman First Book Prize for African Poets.

#6. Learn About Irish Writers With Air Schooner

The inaugural episode of the journal’s podcast, Air Schooner, tackled America’s fascination with Ireland with readings by Irish writer Nuala Ní Conchúir. Clips from this episode were recently featured on Nebraska Public Radio’s Friday Live arts and entertainment program.

Air Schooner Hosts Scott Winter and Stacey Waite on NET's Friday Live

The mistake a lot of publications make is that they just repeat their content on the web, and that just doesn't work. [The podcast] gives us insight that's not really insider baseball for writers - it's really accessible to the whole public.

Air Schooner hosts Scott Winter (pictured and quoted above) and Stacey Waite appeared on Nebraska Public Radio's Friday Live arts and entertainment program last week to discuss Irish writer Nuala Ní Conchúir in honor of St. Patrick's Day. Every other week, Winter and Waite will be back on Friday Live with clips from a different Air Schooner episode and to share background and commentary on each week's writer with host Genevieve Randall. You may have caught their first interview with Nancy Finken back in September, and their St. Patrick's Day discussion marks the first in a series of regular appearances.

You can listen to Friday Live on the NET website, or at Fridays at 9 a.m in the Lincoln area through NET station KUCV 91.1 FM.

Prairie Schooner Returns From AWP

Prairie Schooner was delighted and proud to manage a booth at this year's Association of Writers and Writing Programs (AWP) conference in Seattle. In attendance were editor-in-chief Kwame Dawes, managing editor Marianne Kunkel, web editor Paul Hanson-Clark, and a dedicated team of UNL graduate students who ran our booth, spoke with visitors, and passed out copies of Kwame's booklet, Memos to Poets. You also may have seen the African Poetry Book Fund's memorial reading for Kofi Awoonor, or APBF's panel, New Generation African Women Poets.

Our sincere thanks go out to everyone who came, helped, visited, said hello, attended the readings, or came to the reception. It was a pleasure to see so many faces, and to those who helped, we couldn't have done it without you!

Above: Our booth on setup day, with posters of our winter issue (right) and APBF Sillerman Book Prize winner Clifton Gachagua's collection, Madman at Kilifi (left).

2014 African Poetry Book Fund Titles Now Available


Prairie Schooner's partner, the African Poetry Book Fund, has released three new titles for 2014: Ghanaian poet Kofi Awoonor’s The Promise of Hope: New and Selected Poems 1964-2013, 2013 Sillerman prize-winner Clifton Gachagua’s Madman at Kilifi, and the chapbook box set Seven New Generation African Poets, featuring work by TJ Dema, Clifton Gachagua, Tsitsi Jaji, Nick Makoha, Ladan Osman, Warsan Shire, and Len Verwey. All three are available through the University of Nebraska Press website, and other online and independent booksellers.

The Promise of Hope (pictured above) spans nearly fifty years of Awoonor’s poetry before his death during the Westgate Mall terrorist attacks in Nairobi, Kenya in September 2013. The collection, already in production at the time of Awoonor’s death, is edited by his friend and colleague Kofi Anyidoho. Madman at Kilifi was the winner of the 2013 Sillerman First Book Prize for African Poets, APBF’s prize for African writers who have not yet published a book-length poetry collection. Seven New Generation African Poets is the first of APBF’s annual chapbook box set anthologies featuring poetry by emerging African poets, and is published through Slapering Hol Press with support from Prairie Schooner and The Poetry Foundation.

Air Schooner Now on Stitcher


Prairie Schooner’s very own literary podcast, Air Schooner, is now available on Stitcher! Listeners can download new episodes through Stitcher’s online and mobile app to listen to anywhere, and review and rate the latest episodes right on the app. Past guests include Sherman Alexie, Barry Lopez, and Nikola Madzirov reading from their work, plus discussions by hosts Scott Winter and Stacey Waite.

You can also listen to Air Schooner on iTunes, or on our website, here.

FUSION 8 - Bones, with Poems and Art From Singapore


Our bones are not private; they are not secrets. We seem happy to expose them.

FUSION 8 - Bones is now online, with poetry, art, and essays from Singapore and the Prairie Schooner archives. The latest issue includes work by Michael Bullock, Malcolm Glass, Greg Kuzma, Rafaat Haji Hamzah, and Edwin Thumboo, plus art by Taylor Baldwin and Michael Lee.

The poets interpret the theme in a variety of ways, as do the artists, who show bones as the exterior elements of sea creatures interacting with disparate forces (Taylor Baldwin's Experiment for the Future #2 above), or as the essential elements of architectural structures.

Click here to view the full selection of FUSION poems and artwork.