Congratulations Nicole Rollender

Congratulations to SR Contributor Nicole Rollender on the release of her first full-length poetry collection, Louder Than Everything You Love (ELJ Publications), available now from ELJ Publications.

More than anything else, Louder Than Everything You Love is about transformation. The narrator in these poems is many: women who talk to the dead, women who mourn dead mothers and grandmothers, women suicides, women who’ve been raped/escaped rape, women who cradle premature babies, women who suffer depression, women who prepare the bodies of the dead, women who exist between their children’s bodily needs (“this body-psalm of need the only holiness I know”) and saints’ incorruptible bodies.

These women also live inside themselves, contending with the wolves within, asking: “How do I measure the body’s gardens form within its bone fences?” The dead, the living and the divine inhabit this collection – they’re looking for kinship, remembrance, for some kind of communion. The poems in Louder Than Everything You Love are about the struggle of living in a body, being a parent, trying to find the balance between what our lives on earth mean/what it means to come to terms with dying.

Louder Than Everything You Love is also available for direct purchase from Nicole for $18.99, who will sign it and send it from her house free of shipping with a copy of her poetry broadside “This Is How to Feed Your Young.”

Read more of Nicole’s poetry in Issue 15!

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SR Pod/Vod Series: Author Cathy Krizik

CathyKrizikHeadshot_BW_SquareToday we’re proud to feature Cathy Krizik as our fifteenth Authors Talk series contributor, sharing her thoughts on her writing process in her vodcast “Writing is Easy. Writing Well is Hard.”

“First Drafts are an Embarrassment” is the secondary title for this vodcast because, according to Cathy, “just because you can type doesn’t mean you can write.” Indeed, one of the topics she addresses is the role of the writer as editor, and it’s not just a nod to the importance of fine-tuning. Rather it’s a celebration of its “joy.”

Take, for example, the fluidity of paragraphs; how it really takes until the ending of a paragraph to even know what you’re saying, and that this ending frequently becomes the top (incidentally, exactly what happened to this much-shuffled blog post). And writing isn’t without its sadnesses, one of which Cathy summarizes as “falling in love with sentences, and oh, they’re so brilliant, but you gotta let them go in service to the story. Just put them in that word cemetery that is the most beautiful, saddest place on the planet.”

A kind of writer’s video blog about best practices and personal challenges, Cathy’s vodcast juxtaposes advice with personal examples to cover most of the ins and outs of a writer’s life. 
You can watch it on our iTunes Channel.

You can read Cathy’s essay “Prairie of the Mind” in Superstition Review Issue 16, and listen to her read it aloud in podcast #191, also on the SR iTunes Channel.

 

More About the Author:

Cathy Krizik has been published in The Penmen Review and The Prague Post. When she’s not making a living as a magazine art director and career counselor, she’s writing—an adventure she wishes had begun before menopause. She lives in Santa Cruz, CA with her wife and two cats because you can’t be a lesbian without owning cats.  cathy krizik’s website

 

About the Authors Talk series:

For several years, we have featured audio or video of Superstition Review contributors reading their work. We’ve now established 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.

Interview with SRAlum Christopher DiCicco

Christopher DiCiccoBy Jeremy Bronaugh of Hypertrophic Press

If you’ve never read a Christopher D. DiCicco story, we’ll forgive you. We hadn’t either a year ago when we were looking for content for the second issue of our start-up literary magazine, Hypertrophic. That’s when Lynsey, the better half of Hypertrophic, read “My Son,” on Flash Fiction Online.

“My Son,” if you can sum up any of DiCicco’s stories, is about being haunted by your dead son’s hamster. His writing was confident and emotional – just what we were looking for. And it’s weird as shit, which made us love it even more.

We emailed Chris and asked him to contribute a story and he responded with a full manuscript. What he sent us – 55 stories, all weird, all amazing, all something we couldn’t put down – was his collection, So My Mother, She Lives in the Clouds. We read four stories – only four – and we were ready to sign a contract. You know what they say: when you know you know, and we knew that was a book we had to publish.

To say we feel lucky to have had the opportunity to publish someone like Chris is an understatement. We consistently ask ourselves (and him) what the hell he was thinking.

“I’m a small, indie writer, so it made sense for me to hook up with a press that reflected my aesthetic and beliefs,” he says. “I grew up in the DIY movement where my friends cranked out zines and tediously recorded music with a focus on the sound, not publicity or marketing. I guess I still want that. There’s so much writing and [so many] magazines and people who bore me, who do the same old safe stuff, and I can’t get behind that. It’s not me. I believe in the independent way, that there is a style and quality to owning a project, and that, in the end, something small can be the most immense and substantial piece of your life.

And he’s absolutely right because So My Mother was definitely a substantial piece of our lives. Agreeing on a cover design took forever, so many mock-ups shot down before they even saw the light of day. We also made the mistake of thinking edits would be easy since the majority of stories in the collection had already been published – and therefore edited – by other lit mags. Oh, were we ever wrong.

“What’s it like to have to let go of a piece? To send it off and not be able to edit it anymore?” we ask him.

“Terrible. How could you do this to me?” he jokes. But we know he’s really serious.

“It’s just a really difficult aspect of writing for me,” he says, “to let go of a piece of work and say it’s where I want it to be. If you gave me any one of my stories right now, ten years from now, I could make it better. I’m never finished. So letting go, it’s hard, but I know it’s not really done – not until I die.”

Chris changed wording, altered characters, and substituted whole stories right up until the very last possible second. The best edit came in the form of a text in the middle of a family dinner when, while reading through the proof copy, Chris asked Lynsey why she’d added the word “tits” to “What I Learned Beneath Your Shirt.” She nearly choked.

She responded “What are you talking about?!” with more punctuation marks than I care to include here.

After an agonizing pause in the conversation, Chris wrote back. “Oh, never mind. I sent you guys an old version of the story. Can we sub in the newer version?”

One perk of having a small press is that you get to work with authors so much more than you’d be able to at a larger house, and that’s exactly what we did. We wanted to know every single thing Chris hated, and we wanted to make sure he was as happy with the final product as we were. No time was off limits, no level of involvement too big. And after hand-cutting images for the cover and a final three-hour-long phone conversation about last-minute edits, we were all happy. Exhausted, but happy.

Ten months after our initial emails and we’re on a 14-hour road trip from Hypertrophic’s office in Huntsville, Alabama, to DiCicco’s house in Yardley, Pennsylvania. Chris is on the phone asking Lynsey for the 10th time what stories he should read at the launch party. His voice crackles over the car speakers. “I’m so excited to meet you guys!” And we’re excited too.

When we finally arrive, we have just enough time to shower at our hotel before we’re back in the car and headed to Chris’ house. He’s waiting for us at his back gate, and the first thing you notice about him is that he’s warm, welcoming. He’s the kind of guy who breaks the writer stereotype. Or maybe we’re just biased. But we were familiar the minute we met. Old friends.

Chris introduces us to his kids and his dog Pony Bear, gives us a tour of his house, the attic where he writes. The house is all wood and secret rooms. He tells us about the neighborhood, steeped in culture, as he navigates the impossibly narrow staircases at record speed while we take each step like arthritic seniors. His house, we find out, is older than Lynsey’s home country. It’s so colorful, so unique, and so suited to exactly who we imagined Chris to be.

“They did a study,” he says as we walk through his neighborhood in search of pizza, “and Philadelphia says ‘actually’ more than any other place in America. As in, ‘Oh, you actually came?’ We’re surprised when anyone actually shows up.”

We pull out some cash, but he buys the pizza; we’re used to him winning arguments by this point. When we get back he breaks out the Champagne while his children wrestle with Pony Bear, who loses the fight despite being at least three times their size. We cheers to So My Mother, She Lives in the Clouds, Chris’ first published collection and the thing that brought us all together. Then Chris pulls out the whiskey and the rest of the night is hard to recall.

When we pull up to Arcadia University the next day, we’re blown away. The launch party is in Grey Towers Castle, a place so magnificent you immediately feel underdressed. We take pictures like the tourists we are and, seeing our mouths agape, Chris tells us that there are dorm rooms in there too, that some students actually get to live in that castle.

“By the way,” he says, “I fell down the stairs in the middle of the night.” His wife laughs and shakes her head as he says, “I guess I had too much whiskey.”

The launch is perfect. Chris reads three stories to a packed room, his adoring wife Anna watching from the front row with the biggest smile on her face. The applause is deafening. We sell out of books, and the line to have them signed curves around the edges of the room. Everyone is tipsy off boxed wine and the guys from Chris’ writers’ group, Matthew L. Kabik, Daniel DiFranco, and Zachary Woodard, all crowd around a piano in the next room singing “Space Oddity” and it’s the perfect send-off.

Afterward, Chris invites us to a local bar with his wife and the guys. We order beer and bourbon and Coke as we talk about the book, about the way Chris breaks up his lines and plays with form.

“It’s just damn fun to play with words and phrasing until it sounds – no, feels – like you want it, like it should,” he says. “It’s like finding the right stone to build the wall. Wait, have you ever built a stone wall? Honestly, you’ve got to do things like that.”

“I can’t say I’ve built a stone wall,” Lynsey replies, “but I have built a very poor representation of an igloo when I was like 7 and still living in Canada. Does that count?”

He laughs. “Of course it does! You need to live human experiences to write. It’s one of the requirements. And it doesn’t hurt to live interesting ones. You don’t have to suffer…but hell, that doesn’t hurt either. Wait, weren’t we talking about form?”

Speaking of suffering, that brings us into a conversation about the cutting room floor and which stories he stills regrets allowing us to leave out.

He doesn’t even hesitate. “‘Falling Indians’ hands down,” a story inspired by a dream he had one night. “And maybe the ending of ‘I Think I’m Going to Make It.’ People don’t even know – THEY DON’T EVEN KNOW about it. But seriously, you broke my heart a little with ‘Falling Indians.’”

Laughing about his obsessive and never-ending editing process, we ask if there are any stories in the collection he wishes he could still make changes to.

“Yes. ‘The Worst Thing About Hell is You Have to Climb Down to It’ and ‘A New Religion for Fatherless Sons.’ Those two stories drive me crazy. I’ve stripped them down and built them back up a few times now, but I’d like to do it one more time. I think there’s something else I could do – not necessarily should do, but could do to make them even better. Is that terrible? Oh man, I could revise my stories for the rest of my life. You know this! These are unfair discussion topics. You’re making me second guess everything. You should be ashamed of yourselves.”

Lynsey’s eyes open wide and I see her half-Italian side come out. “Both of those stories are in my top five EASILY! What’s wrong with you?!?!”

“There’s nothing wrong with me! It’s just those pieces were close to being something better. They’ve got cool ideas behind them, and cool ideas deserve the best – which is why I’m having Neil Gaiman, Amy Hempel, and Richard Brautigan team up and write them again for me. Possibly Hemingway.”

On the drive back to our hotel we follow behind Chris. At the point where we split and go our separate ways, we pull off on the side of the highway to say goodbye and return the EZ Pass he lent us. We all hug and thank each other and promise to visit again, and the moment is so bittersweet.

Ultimately, there couldn’t have been a better person to work with for the past year. Chris is the kind of guy who offers to let total strangers (his publishers, yes, but still total strangers) stay in his guest house, who invites us over for pizza and Champagne with his family. Who hangs the framed image we gave him, the original cut and glued craft we photographed for the book’s cover, the minute he receives it. He’s the nicest, most sarcastic person ever, and one of the best writers we’ve ever known.

So if you still haven’t read a Christopher D. DiCicco story, we’ve decided we can’t forgive you. Go do it. Here’s his story “Pieces of My Junkyard Father” in Issue 12 of SR.

#ArtLitPhx: Terrence Hayes Poetry Reading at Phoenix Art Museum

Friday, February, 5th at 7pm the Uni11896064_10154266775104896_6342325946509938126_nversity of Arizona Poetry Center, ASU Creative Writing, Superstition Review, and ASU: Performance in the Borderlands are co-sponsoring a reading by Terrance Hayes at the Phoenix Art Museum. The reading is open to the public, and more information can be found here.

Terrance Hayes, author of How to Be Drawn, was a finalist for the 2015 National Book Award, the 2015 National Book Critics Circle Award, and the 2015 NAACP Image Award for Poetry.

How to Be Drawn is Hayes’ fifth collection.. Founding editor of Superstition Review, Patricia Murphy says of reading the book, “I left feeling better informed about how others walk around in this world.”

How to Be Drawn is for everyone, it is a meditation on family, relationships, history, socioeconomic structure, and everything in between. Hayes writes very personal poems in his latest collection but manages to make them by some means ubiquitous and universal for his readers. The lines from the opening poem, “What It Look Like” read

 

“…don’t you lie/about who you are sometimes and then realize/the lie is true? You are blind to your power, Brother/Bastard like the king who wanders his kingdom searching for the king.”
Hayes keeps up the pace throughout, surprising the reader line by line, poem by poem.

–Eli Tubbs

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Terrance Hayes is the author of Lighthead (Penguin 2010), winner of the 2010 National Book Award, and finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. His other books are Wind in a Box (Penguin 2006), Hip Logic (Penguin 2002), and Muscular Music (Tia Chucha Press, 1999). His honors include a Whiting Writers Award, a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship, a United States Artists Zell Fellowship, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and a MacArthur Fellowship.  How To Be Drawn (Penguin 2015), his most recent  collection of poems, was a finalist for the 2015 National Book Award, the 2015 National Book Critics Circle Award, and the 2015 NAACP Image Award for Poetry.

SR Pod/Vod Series: Author Cathy Krizik

CathyKrizikHeadshot_BW_SquareThis Tuesday, we’re proud to feature SR contributor Cathy Krizik reading her nonfiction essay “Prairie of the Mind” on our podcast.

You can listen to the podcast on our iTunes Channel.

You can read Cathy’s work in Superstition Review, Issue 16.

On Friday, we’ll announce Cathy Krizik’s Authors Talk vodcast.

 

More About the Author:
Cathy Krizik has been published in The Penmen Review and The Prague Post. When she’s not making a living as a magazine art director and career counselor, she’s writing—an adventure she wishes had begun before menopause. She lives in Santa Cruz, CA with her wife and two cats because you can’t be a lesbian without owning cats.  cathy krizik’s website

#ArtLitPhx: Night of the Open Door – Trajectories

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Trajectories: an open talk about the many paths to becoming a writer.

trajectoriesCome listen to a panel discussion about some of the career trajectories that are available for English graduates on Friday, February 19th at ASU’s Polytechnic Campus Night of the Open Door. Superstition Review will be hosting this event in partnership with Four Chambers, Hayden’s Ferry Review, Chandler-Gilbert Community College, Mesa Community College, and Combs High School.
The panel will be free and open to the public in the UNION, Cooley Ball Room at Polytechnic Campus from 6 pm to 7:30 pm. Q & A will be welcome.
Meet the panel:

IMG_3217 (2)Gary Joshua Garrison is a prose editor for Hayden’s Ferry Review. His work has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and appeared in or is forthcoming from Southwest ReviewMoon City ReviewThe McNeese ReviewWord RiotGigantic Sequins, and others. He lives in Arizona with his wife and their two torpid cats.

Jess Burnquist received her MFA in Creative Writing/Poetry from Arizona State University. Her wunnamedork has appeared in Hayden’s Ferry ReviewPersonaThe Washington Post, Salon, Jezebel, GOOD Magazine, Education Weekly, Time and various online journals. She is a recipient of the Joan Frazier Memorial Award for the Arts at ASU. Jess currently teaches English and Creative Writing in San Tan Valley and has been honored with a Sylvan Silver Apple Award for teaching. She resides in the greater Phoenix metropolitan area with her husband, son, and daughter. Links to her most recent work are available at www.jessburnquist.com.

image (1)Patrick Michael Finn is the author of the novella A Martyr for Suzy Kosasovich and the short story collection From the Darkness Right Under Our Feet.  He teaches writing at Chandler-Gilbert Community College.

 Jake Friedman is the Founder and Editor iKaren Loschiavo 02n Chief of an independent community literary journal and small press based in Phoenix, AZ called Four Chambers. He is also; drinking coffee (as the picture would indicate); a waiter and sometimes bartender at an unnamed casual-upscale restaurant (the restaurant being unnamed to protect it’s identity, not actually unnamed); working on a long-form experimental prose manuscript titled The Waiter Explains (no coincidence with his current profession, he swears; long-form experimental prose being a pretentious way of saying novel, even though he has legitimate reasons for doing so involving narrative perspective and deep structure he still feels pretentious). http://fourchamberspress.com.

color headshotJessica Marie Fletcher serves as the current Superstition Review Student Editor-in-Chief and was fiction editor for issue 16. She studies creative writing, psychology, and family and human development in the Barrett Honors College at Arizona State University. She has worked as an Opinion Columnist for The State Press, and one of her short stories has been featured in LUX Undergraduate Creative Review.

#ArtLitPhx: Kim Kyung Ju at Valley Bar

2016-02-02 Author Photo Kim Kyung JuFour Chambers is extremely excited to announce the English-speaking debut of internationally acclaimed South Korean poet Kim Kyung Ju with his best-selling collection, I am A Season that Does Not Exist in the World  (with translator and poet Jake Levine).

Tuesday, February 2nd at 6:30 pm
Valley Bar (130 N Central Ave, Phoenix, AZ 85004)
21+ | Free

“Both a blessing and a curse to Korean Literature,” Kim Kyung Ju is considered to be one of the strongest voices of his generation, and I am A Season that Does Not Exist in the World  is his hallmark work. In haunting, anti-lyrical verse, Kim explores the transcendental homelessness borne from the apocalyptic narrative of impending ecological extinction while, at the same time, celebrating it’s banal, messianic ecstasies. I am A Season that Does Not Exist in the World  perfectly capures the emotional sensibility of a generation born into an age where emotional sensibility was said to not eixst. While the futures of the past may already have failed, Kim carries them into the present and offers them redemption. When the seasons of the world become so unpredictable that the only predictable thing left is their increasing unpredictability, a season that does not exist in the world might be anyother way to say utopia. It might be another way to say hope.

2016-02-02 Author Photo Jake Levine (1)Reading with Kim is poet and translator Jake Levine, who received his MFA from the University of Arizona, serves as Poetry Editor for Spork Press, and is currently completing his PhD in Comparative Literature at Seoul National University.

I am A Season that Does Not Exist in the World  will be available as general volume from Black Ocean Press and a special, handbound edition from Spork Press.

For more information please visit http://fourchamberspress.com/kkj