Indiana Review is now accepting submissions for their 2015 Fiction Prize. This will be judged by Laura van den Berg, Author of the novel Find Me and the story collections What the World Will Look Like When All the Water Leaves Us. The last day to submit is October 31, 2015. To Submit please send one piece of fiction less than 8,000 words here. The Winner will receive $1,000 and publication in Indiana Review. There will be a reading fee of $20 however, this will include a year subscription to Indiana Review.
Congratulations to Arizona State University professor Laura Tohe, who was named the poet laureate of the Navajo Nation for 2015-2017.
Laura Tohe has written and co-authored four books. Her most recent book, Tseyi, Deep in the Rock won the 2007 Glyph award for Best Poetry and Best Book by Arizona Book Association and is listed as a Southwest Book of the Year 2005 by the Tucson Pima Library. She is the 2006 Dan Schilling Public Scholar for the Arizona Humanities Council. She writes essays, stories, and children’s plays that have appeared in the U.S., Canada and Europe. She wrote a commissioned libretto, Enemy Slayer, A Navajo Oratorio, for the Phoenix Symphony Orchestra, which premiered in 2008.
Read more here: https://asunews.asu.edu/20150911-tohe-navajo-poet-laureate
For several years, we have featured audio or video of Superstition Review contributors reading their work. We’re now establishing a new series of podcasts called Authors Talk. The podcasts in this series take a broader scope and feature SR contributors discussing their own thoughts on writing, the creative process, and anything else they may want to share with listeners.
Today we’re proud to feature John A. Nieves as our second Authors Talk series contributor, discussing his poem “Honing the Edge (Acquisitio).”
According to John in the opening of his discussion, this is “a poem that deals with the fundamental question of what do we ask when we don’t expect the traditional sort of answer, maybe any answer at all?”
The poem’s stanzas are planned to resemble the geomantic figure Acquisito (gain), but an endless number of interpretations and circularities within its lines balance out this structural rigidity. The resulting open-endedness seems a major factor in John’s stated theme of exploration. It might make us, the readers, wonder what we’re ‘supposed’ to gain from the poem. That’s a difficult question to answer, when the answer is up to us. As John hints at the beginning of his discussion, it may not be a question with a traditional answer, or any at all.
You can listen to the podcast on our iTunes Channel.
You can follow along with “Honing the Edge (Acquisitio)” in Superstition Review.
More About the Author:
John A. Nieves has poems forthcoming or recently published in journals such as: Southern Review, Poetry Northwest, and Minnesota Review. He won the 2011 Indiana Review Poetry Contest and his first book, Curio (2014), won the Elixir Press Annual Poetry Award Judge’s Prize. He is an Assistant Professor of English at Salisbury University. He received his M.A. from University of South Florida and his Ph.D. from the University of Missouri.
The winners of Hacks for Humanity 2014, a hackathon that combines technological development with humanities studies, have created a life-saving application called ARKHumanity that detects suicidal messages on Twitter and connects at-risk users with a suicide hotline. Watch their interview with FOX10 Phoenix.
Enter our Book Spine Poetry Contest on Twitter to win a $5 Starbucks gift card.
Tweet the picture of your Book Spine Poem to #BookSpinePoetry @SuperstitionRev.
The contest starts at 1 pm on Oct 2 and runs until midnight Oct 7.
To see examples visit our Pinterest Board.
From the Greek word meaning one who knows,
it’s what we call the center of the sundial
whose understanding comes to us in shadows
that are its voice, and ours, the saint of all
who speak and can’t quite say what they are meaning.
How do they know, you ask, they who stand
inside their bodies, by their words, by things
that must be larger than the shape they’re in.
On Sunday, September 20 (2015), there’s going to be another election in Greece. We just had an election this year, in January, one that had felt hopeful and brought in Alexis Tspiras’s SYRIZA party. There had been euphoria for the anti-austerity changes it promised. Less than 6 months later, SYRIZA called for a referendum. There had been little headway with the Euro group, who essentially wanted previous (austerity) agreements to continue despite the fact that Greece’s economy had shrunk to a level of no-growth & unemployment had risen again. Youth in the 20-30 age range were the hardest hit; unemployment was at a staggering 51.8% in May 2015. But the Euro group wanted Greece to be an example, too. Even if things were not working out, as Tsipras said in a meeting after he buckled to the Euro group terms, after 61% of the country had voted “No” or “OXI” to the measures (or perhaps because of this), Europe, and particularly Mr. Wolfgang Schäuble, the German finance minister, refused to cut any of the unsustainable debt. Famous economists the world over were speaking of how much better it would be for Greece to leave – but then what – large ideas have a tendency to have very concrete body counts when they fail.
To be in the midst of “things/that must be larger than the shape they’re in…” is what it often feels like to let the body succumb to a terror and also, a gift; the unknown moment of a certain nakedness, experienced as the wager of crafting a piece of writing, or any art that will transcend the moment in hopes of becoming more than itself, as William Carlos Williams famously expressed it in “Asphodel, That Greeny Flower” —
I had hoped not to write incessantly about Greece, to speak so constantly and obsessively about the facts of its and others’ failures, but the moments one finds oneself in aren’t always moments of choice. Perhaps Greece, too, didn’t believe it would find itself in such a dire situation. Its leadership certainly was negligent (to be very generous about it), and in Tsipras’s case, dangerously naïve. But the history of humanity is more about its failures, the grand gesture that meets with the flawed reality of fact, than it is about the successes of those ideals. It seems as if every so-called ideal or success has been built, since antiquity, on the backs of those who sacrificed. If not the outright slaves, then those who, willing or not, were sacrificed. The tragic heroes are those with enough compassion and sense of the collective good to take it on themselves to admit to the mistake. There is Oedipus, who swears he will do all it takes to rid his city of the plague only to discover he is the source of the scourge and then, heroically and nobly, puts out his own eyes… Gnomon, “the one who [now] knows” … There are others, too, Antigone, and Hamlet. While mistakes have been made in the building of the Eurozone, no one is sharing the responsibility. It seems easiest (apparently) to scapegoat Greece, to sacrifice it perhaps.
Meanwhile, Syria has exploded and refuges have poured into the country since August. A crippled economy is doing what it can, and Germany is taking in the largest percentage. It (perhaps) is also finding itself in the midst of “things/that must be larger than the shape they’re in…” Maybe they want to show the world they’re not always stingy and vindictive.
But back to Greece. John Psaropoulos has a pre-election piece in Al Jazeera. He calls it “An Election without Aspirations.” It’s poignant to hear the resignation in the words of a woman who forgives Tsipras’s “negotiating stumble with Europe’s debt-collectors, saying ‘it was clear that he wasn’t ready, but there were interests in Greece and abroad that wanted him to fail.’” Kostas Lapavitsas, who is part of the Popular Unity party, says,”Greece has become already a marginal and insignificant country in the monetary union and the EU. Why? Because it’s going nowhere economically. It’s a beggar, fundamentally, and it has terms dictated to it. We want to reverse that.”
In Greek tragedy the reversals and catharsis have come when those in power have their fallibilities revealed, belatedly, sometimes forcefully made to see them. It is already very late and no one has taken the responsibility for seeing… none of the governments, including SYRIZA, have taken the mistakes seriously enough to pay the collective costs. But this includes the Eurozone members too. As Williams has told us:
“Try not to make things personal,” someone said at work, at the beginning of the year’s faculty meeting; it was said with humor, and in light of the political climate. A 23% VAT tax was put on private education. Removed from meat, which went back to being taxed at 13%, and now put on education. It was another absurd mistake. It was going to hurt language schools as well. People could barely afford to pay tuition let alone tuition with an added value tax. Another large chip in the country’s dismantling. Another example of blindness or plain idiocy in the country’s leadership… I want to close my eyes and just smell the tang of the fall sea, let “the center of the sundial” come to me “ in shadows”… it forces its own recognitions. Anna Akhmatova in 1919 in her poem “Why Is This Age Worse…?” (trans. Stanley Kunitz) tells us “In a stupor of grief and dread/have we not fingered the foulest wounds/and left them unhealed by our hands?//”