Garrison Keillor’s A Prairie Home Companion has been as popular with contemporary radio audiences as Amos and Andy, Fibber McKee and Molly were in the 1930’s and 40’s, a mixture of music and dialogue as down home as fried chicken and apple pie. The Companion, the product of Keillor’s life and work, is the subject of Michael Nelson’s essay on another American cultural icon, his first having been on “ol blue eyes,” Frank Sinatra, which appeared in VQR in autumn 1999.
While an authority on popular American culture, Mr. Nelson is a political scientist by profession as is borne out by his discussion of the presidency and the press which appeared in VQR’s 75th anniversary issue last spring. After receiving his Ph.D. in political science from Johns Hopkins University, Mr. Nelson joined the faculty at Vanderbilt University, then later moved to Memphis where he is a professor of political science at Rhodes College. Mr. Nelson is a former editor of The Washington Monthly and his most recent book is The American Presidency: Origins and Development, 1776—1998, which he coauthored with University of Virginia political science professor, Sidney M. Milkis.
That the Southern poet and author (Deliverance) James Dickey possessed immense talent is an indisputable fact. That he also had an immense talent for mendacity is equally indisputable, as George Garrett makes clear in his essay, “Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire.” Revered and respected by his fellow writers, George Garrett is one of the most prolific authors in America and he writes both poetry and prose, fiction and non-fiction. Perhaps he is best known for his trilogy of novels about the Elizabethan period: Death of a Fox (Raleigh); The Succession (James I to Elizabeth I); and Entered from the Sun (Christopher Marlowe). Mr. Garrett has received many honors for his work, the latest being the Governor of Virginia’s Award for Distinguished Artists, he being one of nine honored at an awards ceremony in Richmond last October.
A native Southerner, Susie Mee has resided in New York City for many years where she currently teaches a course on fiction writing at New York University. She recently completed an autobiographical manuscript called The Undertaker’s Daughter about growing up with a chronic fear of death which is now making the publishing rounds. An excerpt from the memoir appeared in VQR as “Death, Dancing and Doughnut Holes.” Ms. Mee is also working on a short story collection.
Having been born in Vienna, Lilian Furst has a natural interest in the relationship between Sigmund Freud and the Austrian capital, where the father of psychoanalysis spent most of his professional life. Ms. Furst is Marcel Battalion Professor of Comparative Literature at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She is the author of Between Doctors and Patients: The Changing Balance of Power, (Virginia 1998), and Just Talk: Narratives of Psychotherapy (Kentucky 1999). She has published extensively on 19th- and 20th-century literature, mainly European, and is now specializing in literature and medicine.
A journalist by profession, Robert Brickhouse is both a poet and short story writer. In addition to VQR, his stories have appeared in Artemis and Pleiades. Another was included by George Garrett in the anthology, That’s What I Like About the South: New Southern Stories for the ’90s published by South Carolina. Mr. Brickhouse’s poetry has appeared in such publications as The Chattahoochee Review, Southern Poetry Review, Hampden-Sydney Poetry Review and Poet Lore. He is the assistant director of News Services at the University of Virginia.
Morris Fheedman is professor emeritus at the University of Maryland. In recent years, he has been writing newspaper columns and essays on eduction.
Keith Althaus lives in North Truro, Massachusetts. His most recent collection, Rival Heavens, was published by Provincetown Arts Press.
Molly McQuade’s collection of poems, Barbarism, was recently published by Four Way Books and a collection of her essays, Stealing Glimpses, was published by Sarabande Books. She is also the editor of By Herself, an anthology of essays about poetry by contemporary women poets. Her poems have appeared recently in Paris Review, Massachusetts Review, Pequod, North American Review, and elsewhere.
Ted Genoways works at the Minnesota Historical Society Press in Minneapolis. He is the editor of The Selected Poems of Miquel Hernandez (Chicago) and author of a new chapbook of poems, Anna, washing (Parallel Press). The founding editor of the magazine, Meridian, he has published poems in DoubleTake and The New Republic.
Michael McFee has published in VQR before. His new book of poems is Earthly (Carnegie-Mellon). He has also edited This is Where We Live: Short Stories by 25 Contempory NC Writers (UNC Press). He teaches at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Jon Loomis currently teaches at Emory University. His poems have appeared in Poetry, Field, Ploughshares, Gettysburg Review, and other magazines. His first collection, Vanitas Motel, received the 1997 Field Prize and was published by Oberlin College Press in 1998.
Jim Handlin is the recipient of three individual artists grants from the New Jersey Arts Council. A poem of his will be set into marble in the walls of the newly refurbished Pennsylvania Station in New York City.
Kurt Brown is founding director of the Aspen Writers’ Conference. He published three chapbooks in the 1990’s and a collection of poems, Return of the Prodigals, was published by Four Ways Books in 1999. His poetry has appeared in many journals, including The Harvard Review, The Ontario Review, The Massachusetts Review, Ploughshares, and The Southern Poetry Review.
Rich O’Mara has been a foreign correspondent in Europe and Latin America and foreign editor of The Baltimore Sun for 12 years, the paper from which he recently retired after a long distinguished career. For three years he taught Contemporary Essay at Loyola College in Maryland. He currently writes for a variety of publications: magazines, journals, and newspapers.
Thomas Jenz is a commercial writer and film producer living in Wisconsin. Most recently, he wrote and directed the documentary “The Woodlands,” the history of the Ojibwe Indians narrated by Graham Greene. His short stories and essays have appeared in several publications including Writers Forum, the North Dakota Quarterly, the Michigan Quarterly Review, Sage, Amelia, American Short Fiction, the South Dakota Review and the Minneapolis Star Tribune. In 1999, he won first prize in the 100th birthday Hemingway competition for his short story, “The Hand Mirror.”
Angus Maclean Thuermer attended the University of Berlin as a language student in 1938 after receiving his B.A. degree from the University of Illinois. He was in Nuremberg for the last Nazi party rally. As a journalist he worked in Berlin for the Chicago Tribune, and later for the Associated Press. He covered the outbreak of World War II on the Polish border. He served in the Navy (Intelligence) during World War II and was on the staff of the task force at the atomic bomb tests in Bikini. He served as a civilian in the federal government service from 1952 to 1978 and as an assistant to directors of the CIA (press spokesman) for Richard Helms, James Schlesinger, William Colby and George Bush. He is presently a freelance writer living in Middleburg, Virginia.
Mariflo Stephens had an essay included in last year’s anthology, The Barbie Chronicles (Simon & Schuster), and a short story is included in Worlds In Their Words: Contemporary American Women Writers (Prentice Hall). Another story was nominated for the 1997—98 Pushcart Prize. She presently teaches writing in the rhetoric program at Hampden-Sydney College and writes freelance for the Style section of the Washington Post.
Robert A. Gross is the Forrest D. Murden, Jr. Professor of History and American Studies at the College of William & Mary. He is the author of The Minutemen and Their World, originally published by Hill & Wang in 1976. A 25th anniversary edition will appear this spring. Mr. Gross is also the book review editor of The William & Mary Quarterly.
Stephen J. Whitfield is a professor of American Studies at Brandeis University near Boston. He is the author of A Death in the Delta: The Story of Emmett Till and of The Culture of the Cold War.
Paul Roazen is professor emeritus of political and social science from York University in Toronto. Among his books is Canada’s King: An Essay in Political Psychology.
Perez Zagorin is Joseph C. Wilson Professor of History Emeritus at the University of Rochester and a Fellow of the Shannon Center for Advanced Studies at the University of Virginia. His latest book, a study of Francis Bacon, was published by Princeton in 1999.
Patrick Henry is a professor of French at whitman College in Walla Walla, Washington and co-editor the journal, Philosophy and Literarture.
Cover Credits: Minnesota Public Radio, Prairie Home Companion, Thomas McDaniel and Heather Burns
Photo Credit: Carmen Quesada
A National Journal of Literature and Discussion published since 1925 in January, April, July, and October. Individual subscriptions $18.00 one year, $25.00 two years, $33.00 three years; Institutions $22.00 one year, $30.00 two years, $50.00 three years. Outside U.S. (individual and institution) add $6.00 per year. Single copies $5.00 each. Title page and annual index available in November. The journal is distributed by B. DeBoer Inc. and Ubiquity Distributors.
Manuscripts must be accompanied by postage for return and addressed to The Editor. The magazine does not assume responsibility for the views expressed by contributors of articles.
All letters relative to advertising and other business matters should be addressed to The Managing Editor.
EDITORIAL OFFICES: ONE WEST RANGE, P. O. BOX 400223, CHARLOTTESVILLE, VIRGINIA 22904-4223