Dr. Dan Guillory, Professor Emeritus of English at Millikin University in Decatur, is announcing the publication of his 10 book, "The Prairie: Then and Now."

The book contains 43 poems, each one preceded by a back-story. The Prairie is 145 pages long, including 22 photographs and line drawings. The drawings were contributed by Leslie Guillory. The list price is $14.95.

The Prairie opens with a depiction of the prairie in its pristine form, at a time when the big bluestem grew to a height of 10 feet, when the landscape was covered with a profusion of wildflowers. The author provides portraits of the first Caucasian visitors, including members of early church congregations.

The second part of The Prairie offers glimpses of contemporary life, featuring barns, farmers, combines, farm wives, Army veterans, and even a rural movie theater — as well as typical flora and fauna, especially birds and flowers. The over-arching theme of the book is the transformative power of the prairie, how it affects our sense of time and space, our identity — and, ultimately, the very meaning of our lives. In the end, the author reveals a living, spiritual prairie, not merely an inanimate collection of soil, barns, and silos.

Dan Guillory’s first book, "Living With Lincoln: Life and Art in the Heartland," appeared in 1989. His best-known work is "The Lincoln Poems" (2008), one of only 21 titles included in the National Lincoln Bicentennial Celebration in Springfield, Illinois on Feb. 12, 2009. The book is now on permanent display in the Ford Theater Museum in Washington, D. C.

Professor Guillory has lectured or read his poetry at many venues throughout Illinois and elsewhere. He has won grants or awards from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Illinois Arts Council, the Illinois Humanities Council, the Academy of American Poets, and the Woodrow Wilson Foundation. From 1989 to 1990, he was a Fulbright Professor in Gabon, West Africa. He taught literature, creative writing, and the history of film at Millikin University from 1972 to 2004, when he took an early retirement to devote himself entirely to writing and lecturing. He and his spouse, Leslie, reside in Shelby County.

"The Prairie: Then and Now" is being released by Mayhaven Publishing, an award-winning small press located in Mahomet, Illinois. Mayhaven has published numerous works on Illinois history and the life of Abraham Lincoln. The press has been in operation for over a quarter of a century, with over 150 titles in print. The Prairie was edited by Mayhaven editor Jill Monroe. Copies of the book are available from local outlets, including the Book Rack in Springfield, Illinois. It may also be ordered directly from Mayhaven Publishing — email mayhavenpublishing@mchsi.com and phone (217) 586-4493 or (217) 521-7968. It is also available from Baker and Taylor and Amazon.com

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