With her de­but es­say col­lec­tion,

Poets and Writers - - Trends - –DANA ISOKAWA

Five Plots, Erica Trabold wanted to ren­der in words the beauty of Ne­braska, her home state. “I be­came qui­etly pas­sion­ate about mak­ing my home feel just as beau­ti­ful to read­ers who had never been there,” she says. “I wanted to put read­ers on the ground and make them look closely at flow­ers and snow­drifts.” The col­lec­tion, which was pub­lished in Novem­ber by Seneca Re­view Books, brings Ne­braska alive through lyri­cal and im­age-driven vi­gnettes. The es­says com­bine de­scrip­tion, historical re­search, med­i­ta­tion, and personal anec­dote to ex­plore ideas of fam­ily, mem­ory, and place. “Home, for me, had al­ways been a com­pli­ca­tion, wrapped in hap­pi­ness and hurt,” she writes. Trabold, who now lives in Port­land, Ore­gon, pub­lished each of the book’s five es­says in the jour­nals fea­tured be­low.

The pub­li­ca­tion of Five Plots be­gins and ends with the Seneca Re­view (www.hws.edu /senecare­view). The ti­tle es­say of Trabold’s book was pub­lished in the journal in 2013; five years later, her full-length col­lec­tion was cho­sen as the in­au­gu­ral win­ner of Seneca Re­view Books’s Deb­o­rah Tall Lyric Es­say Book Prize. Edited at Ho­bart and Wil­liam Smith Col­leges in Geneva, New York, the bian­nual Seneca Re­view pub­lishes works of po­etry and non­fic­tion. “Seneca Re­view is the pin­na­cle of ex­per­i­men­ta­tion and form, the orig­i­nal home of what we’ve pop­u­larly come to un­der­stand as the lyric es­say,” Trabold says. In the fall of 1997, Deb­o­rah Tall and John D’Agata, then the re­view’s editor and as­so­ci­ate editor, re­spec­tively, be­gan pub­lish­ing what they called the lyric es­say; the journal has since pi­o­neered the form, hav­ing pub­lished lyric es­says by Jenny Boully, Eula Biss, and Anne Car­son, among many oth­ers. Sub­mis­sions for the Seneca Re­view will open on Fe­bru­ary 15 via postal mail and Sub­mit­table; sub­mis­sions for the sec­ond bi­en­nial Deb­o­rah Tall Lyric Es­say Book Prize will open in the sum­mer. Trabold sub­mit­ted to the Col­lag­ist (thecol­lag­ist.com) be­cause the on­line journal had “gar­nered a won­der­ful, years-long rep­u­ta­tion as a place for ex­per­i­men­tal work” and be­cause of its apt name. “Col­lage is a mode of mak­ing that my work of­ten draws from,” she says. The piece Trabold pub­lished in the journal, “Cany­oneer­ing,” patches to­gether the story of her fa­ther’s adop­tion with de­scrip­tions of canyons and caves. Pub­lished ev­ery two months, the Col­lag­ist pub­lishes po­etry, fic­tion, and non­fic­tion; sub­mis­sions are open via Sub­mit­table un­til Jan­uary 31 and will re­open on March 1. When Trabold was look­ing to pub­lish her es­say “Bor­row Pits,” which com­bines dis­parate nar­ra­tives about a man­made lake in Ne­braska, she knew it would need a home in a journal that was open to imag­is­tic and ex­per­i­men­tal style. “It’s like a se­ries of po­ems and thirty pages long,” she says about the piece. She even­tu­ally placed it in the an­nual print journal Pas­sages North (pas­sages­north.com), which has a sec­tion de­voted to hybrid work edited by Matthew Gavin Frank. Pub­lished at North­ern Michi­gan Univer­sity in

Mar­quette, the journal cel­e­brates its for­ti­eth an­niver­sary this year and is open for sub­mis­sions in fic­tion un­til Fe­bru­ary 15 and in po­etry, flash prose, non­fic­tion, and hybrid work un­til April 15. As Trabold’s es­says of­ten med­i­tate on change, it seems fit­ting that her piece “A List of Con­cerns,” about the author’s ado­les­cence and shift­ing un­der­stand­ing of the Ne­braska prairie, won the 2017 Pay­ton James Free­man Es­say Prize, which called for the theme “Change.” As part of the prize, cospon­sored by Drake Univer­sity, Trabold was pub­lished in the Rum­pus (therum­pus.net), an on­line pub­li­ca­tion known for its daily out­put of po­etry, fic­tion, non­fic­tion, crit­i­cism, comics, and in­ter­views. In 2017, cur­rent editor in chief Marisa Siegel pur­chased the Rum­pus with the goal of “giv­ing a plat­form to those who might not oth­er­wise find one and to pub­lish work that chal­lenges us to think out­side bi­na­ries and be­yond bor­ders.” Siegel also hopes to adopt a flat-rate pay­ment model for fea­ture writ­ers and book re­view­ers and to make the site more mo­bile-friendly. Sub­mis­sions in fic­tion are open un­til Jan­uary 31; sub­mis­sions in es­says will open March 1. Trabold’s es­say “Tracks” uses a sin­gle win­ter scene in the woods to ex­plore the top­ics of mother­hood and hunt­ing. Since the es­say is deeply rooted in the Mid­west­ern land­scape, Trabold wanted to pub­lish the piece in a re­gional journal. “The land­scape of my home is of­ten un­der­ap­pre­ci­ated,” says Trabold, not­ing that peo­ple of­ten stereo­type the Mid­west as fly­over coun­try. “I won­dered if an editor from the Mid­west would see the beauty I was try­ing to achieve for what it is.” She found the right home at the print quar­terly South

Dakota Re­view (south­dakotare­view

.com), which pub­lished her piece along­side po­ems by Twyla Hansen, the Ne­braska State Poet at the time.

“Ev­ery­thing about the sit­u­a­tion felt right,” Trabold says. The journal, which is edited at the Univer­sity of South

Dakota in Ver­mil­lion, pub­lishes po­etry, fic­tion, non­fic­tion, mixed-genre, and trans­la­tions and is open for sub­mis­sions via Sub­mit­table un­til May 31.

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