"Orion" Magazine: A Discussion with Sumanth Prabhaker


Sumanth Prabhaker is the editor-in-chief of Orion and the founding editor of Madra Press. He earned an MFA in creative writing at the University of North Carolina Wilmington, where he was an editor for the journal Ecotone.

Founded in 1982, Orion has evolved as a magazine over the years from the quieter, reverential environmental sensitivity that continues to distinguish it into also a wider awareness of global injustices that especially impact the Global South. In this episode, three essays were discussed that under his leadership, Sumanth Prabhaker nurtured into existence over a span that sometimes stretched into years. First among them is “How the Lark Got Her Crest” by Marianne Jay Erhardt from the Summer 2023 issue. It works from the slightest of bases, the few lines of Aesop’s fable about a lark, into a rather profound piece about how one might bury one’s father “in your head’ like the lark does. Language and honoring one’s parent becomes the grounding in this case. Second up, “The Other Bibles” by Katrina Vanderberg from the Spring 2024 issue began as almost a lark: why not include a book review of The Bible in a special issue devoted to religious rituals? The essay is at once a memorial to a husband who died of AIDS as a result of poorly monitored blood transfusions meant to help treat his hemophilia, as well as exploring the spiritual ecology of texts that come to us via illustrations in Bibles or the handiwork of the Earth itself. Third, the episode concludes by discussing “Natural Selection” by Erica Berry from the Winter 2023 issue. A Tinder ad about dating practices led into a piece on romance and even four Romance novels also written during the Year Without a Summer in 1916 when a volcanic eruption in Indonesia caused famine and disease and led, among other output, to Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin and her husband Percy Bysshe Shelley setting to work on Frankenstein.

Dan Hill, PhD, is the author of ten books and leads Sensory Logic, Inc.

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Dan Hill, PhD, is the author of ten books and leads Sensory Logic, Inc. To check out his related “Dan Hill’s EQ Spotlight” blog, visit this site.

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