The printed issue has arrived in the Prairie Schooner office this week and should be out to subscribers, if not now then soon. (If you'd like to subscribe, the Ireland issue could be yours soon too!) The issue is an exciting one for us. Stephen C. Behrendt (Interim Senior Editor) explains it well in his introductory note.
In recent years we have published special issues featuring contemporary writing from various regions and nations, including China and Australia, as part of our commitment to reflect in our pages not simply a national but indeed an international sense of the contemporary literary community. But this issue featuring Irish writing today involves a ‘‘specialness’’ that is both distinct and different from any other. America has long cherished a special relationship with Ireland, a relationship most immediately and characteristically visible when St. Patrick’s Day arrives, but one that is in reality far more deeply woven into the cultural fabric of America and that embraces regions and families, time and space, in ways that are particularly unique. Perhaps more so than any other nation, Ireland claims an enduring hold on the American imagination, maybe because the Irish culture, transplanted to America, remains so uniquely and unshakably Irish despite its geographical displacement.
The issue features work by Nuala Ní Chonchúir, Philip Casey, Theodore Deppe, William Wall, Ann Egan, Jean O’Brien, Michael O’Dea, Mary O’Donnell, Gréagóir Ó Dúill, Micheal O’Siadhail, and Thomas Lynch, among many other wonderful contributors.
There will be an official issue launch on February 9 & 10, 2012, on campus in Lincoln, featuring public performances at the Sheldon Museum of Art by Nuala Ní Chonchúir and Deanie Rowan Blank, and an Irish-themed reception on that Friday evening. I'm told the Sheldon is putting together a slideshow of Irish-themed art for the event. It should be a good one. We'll have more information on this forthcoming.
Also, I'd like to bring attention to a note contributor Michael O'Dea sent along in regards to our cover image. (It was posted in the comments of our cover preview.)
The cover photograph of the Irish number is very familiar to many Irish but might not be to some of your readers. It is the waterfront at Cobh (pronounced Cove),County Cork. It is particularly appropriate since it is the port from which over a third of the Irish emigrated to North America. Part of the symmetry Stephen C.Behrendt refers to in his introduction; next stop New York Harbour. It was also the last port of call for RMS Titanic in 1912. And in 1915 it received the received the survivors and victims off RMS Lusitania which was sunk by a German U-Boat off the Cork coast. There were 1198 casualties, of which over a hundred are buried in a local graveyard.
Thanks, Michael, for sending that note along.
And thanks to all of our contributors, editors, readers, and production staff for helping to make the Ireland Issue possible. Particular gratitude needs to go out to Stephen C. Behrendt and Timothy Schaffert for their editorial work and leadership during out recent transition period. They navigated admirably. Their hard work, leadership, and sense of community is very much appreciated.
By the way, check out this great interview of Editor Kwame Dawes in Guernica for an idea of what's to come with Prairie Schooner, plus the multitude of other projects he's involved with. The man stays busy.