Authors Talk: Geeta Kothari

Geeta KothariToday we are pleased to feature author Geeta Kothari as our Authors Talk series contributor. In this podcast, Geeta discusses the power of prompts and reveals why constraints and limitations can be helpful in writing.

In particular, Geeta focuses on the phrase “freedom can hinder creativity.” She also discusses Scott Kaufman’s review of Patricia Stokes’ Creativity from Constraints: The Psychology of BreakthroughJeff Oaks’ “An Alphabet of Escapes,” and Brenda Miller’s The Pen and the Bell to make her case for the use of prompts.

Geeta then goes into more detail about her own experience with prompts, specifically with her story “Border Crossing.” She leaves the listener with one last tidbit of wisdom: “not everything one writes is worth sharing or even keeping, but…any writing is better than none at all.”

You can read Geeta’s piece, “Listen,” in Issue 11 of Superstition Review. You can also purchase her new collection, I Brake for Moose and Other Stories, here.

Contributor Update: Stevie Edwards

Stevie Edwards bio headshotCongratulations to our former contributor Stevie Edwards! Stevie’s poem, Sadness Workshop, is a finalist for the Button Poetry chapbook.  Superstition Review first published Sadness Workshop in Issue 17 with three other poems by Stevie. Button Poetry produces and distributes poetry media, including: video from local and national events, chapbooks, collaborative audio recordings, scholarship and criticism, and many other products. Keep an eye out for their upcoming chapbook, on their facebook and on their website.

 

#ArtLitPhx: Spillers No. 7

spillers no. 7

Spillers is Phoenix’s premier short fiction storytelling event. Spillers makes its Valley Bar debut with installment No. 7.

Spillers is the voice of Phoenix fiction. Every season, cohosts Robert Hoekman Jr. and Brian Dunn handpick 5 incredible writers, put them on a stage, feature them in 2 episodes of the award-winning Spillers After Show podcast and publish their stories in a collectible book.

The event takes place Tuesday, March 14th, 2017 @ 7:30 PM at Valley Bar. Tickets are $5 general admission or  $12 general admission with theSpillers No.7 book. Attendees must be 21 years or older. Books are available for purchase for $10 at the event.

Check out the Facebook event page for more event information.

All Spillers events feature walk-on music, take-home programs, and a custom cocktail crafted just for you by Valley Bar’s fabulous bartenders. This is a seated event, so get there early to save your spot. For more information, visit Spiller’s webpage.

 

Guest Post, Michael Berberich: Arts and Letters

“Most likely, I shall starve, a degenerate.”

“I threw away my cigarette, and began to make little mystic symbols in the sand with the rubber toe of my left combat boot.  Two early fireflies left the limb of a willow, and drifted past my face in two trailing arcs of yellow that remained marked in the twilit air in afterimages of green and blue.”

Michael Berberich bio photoQuotes from two personal letters (1946 & 1949) by poet James Wright, in A Wild Perfection: The Selected Letters of James Wright (2005)

Mail dropped in the mailbox at 15th and Ball gets picked up at 12:30 pm weekdays, 10:30 am Saturdays.  The mailbox outside the grocery store I shop at has a pickup time of 2:20.  The post office nearest my home has a drive through where it collects dropped off mail three times a day (late morning at 11:00, a mid-afternoon collection at 3:30, and a final pick up at 5:00 pm), but alas they’re down to that lone solitary pickup at 5:00.  The main post office on 25th St. has its sole pick up at 5:30.  And if I get obsessive—though the truth be told I have only done this once and it was so long ago I no longer remember the occasion or the urgency (it was not to get my income tax in on time, of that I am sure)—I can drive 48 miles up the interstate from Galveston where I live to the central downtown post office in Houston and if I make it by midnight my letter can be postmarked for that same day.

However, if my day is leisurely I’ll stand in line at the post office and request my letter be hand-stamped.  In a small gesture of caring that breaks up the monotony of taking letters and plopping them into a bucket alongside the counter, I’ve noticed that many counter clerks smile subconsciously as they carefully align the oversized hand stamp ever so right so that the unsmudged purple ink barely catches the lower inside corner of the stamp.  Thus has my stamp been officially cancelled by a most unofficially humane touch.

I run home during the noon hour not for lunch, which I can take anytime, but to check the mail, which my carrier, George, usually delivers between 11:30 and noon.  My family has long found this quirk a source of mirth.

For me, every letter received is a delight.  And in a world sorely in need of delight, I’ll squeeze every delight I can from every minute of the day that I can.  And my mailbox is that place where I most find such easy pleasures.  It’s better than Easter because I know where to find the colored eggs and chocolate bunnies.  Plus it’s less fattening.

A truism of book publishing holds that while coming out with an edition of collected letters may, but only just barely may, be good for the publishing house’s prestige, it’s hardly good for the bottom line.  To no great surprise the book of collected letters the above quotes from James Wright come from ranks 3,132,500 on the Amazon Best Sellers list.  Is there any better way I could know the 19 year old man who would later write two of my favorite poems, “A Blessing” and “Autumn Begins in Martin’s Ferry, Ohio” than to read a letter he wrote as a high school senior?  I can imagine no reason for ever wanting to go to Martin’s Ferry, Ohio, save for having read that poem.

And there is that second quote, a gem of belles lettres which captures what it was like to have been alive in a particular moment in a particular place.  Nonetheless, its beauty would never else have been shared with more than one uniquely privileged, intended reader save for that finding its way into print.  That now gives me two reasons for wanting to meander about the environs of Martin’s Ferry, Ohio.  And so I confess to another quirk: I collect Collected Letters.

Writing letters.  I am convinced this is where my love of writing began.  Before I ever had a public reader, there were readers of my crayon notes, pencil scribblings, cards with doodles, and finally letters.  My readers responded, albeit sometimes their responses meant calling me on the phone.  No matter.  We are not all writers.  But in the writing of letters I believe that this is where we most readily come to life on the page as we cross our i’s and dot our t’s, with or sans serifs.  I understood intuitively then what I know articulately now: each response to every letter channels holiness in its gift of time, in the beauty of its encouragement, and ultimately in the precious act of its love.

So I make no apologies.  I am enamored of letters, both in the sending and receiving.  And I do so why?  Because I am a writer.  Letter writing makes us all, makes every participant—sender, receiver, counter clerk, street box pick up person, mail carrier—more fully human.

Editorial Preferences in Art: Ashlee Cunningham

To me art must tell a story, whether it is a complex one or a simple one. Looking at a piece of artwork and having an emotional response means the artist did his or her job. One of my favorite leisurely activities is to go to an art museum with my dad and try to figure out the story behind what the artist is conveying through the piece. Whether we come up with serious stories or sometimes silly ones, everyone sees art differently and that is what I love about art: it speaks to us all in a different way.
I enjoy a variety of mediums when it comes to art, but the two I enjoy a little more are photographs and oil paintings. Photographs can take you back to a memory you long to relive and a gorgeous oil painting can make your wildest dreams take flight on a canvas.
There is a beauty to complex pieces of art as well as beauty in simplicity. Picasso said, “Everything you can imagine is real.” So create it- any way imaginable. Tell a story in the craft, complexity and simplicity of it all.

Bio:
Ashlee Cunningham is a sophomore at Arizona State University pursuing an undergraduate degree in Intermedia Art. She is the Art Editor for Superstition Review and has loved growing her knowledge of art. When she is not in class you can find her capturing life through the lens of her camera.

Ashlee Cunningham, Art Editor for Issue 19 of Superstition Review.

Ashlee Cunningham, Art Editor for Issue 19 of Superstition Review.

Newsletter 2/24

“Superstition

2.24.17


Forrest Gander Poetry Reading at Phoenix Art Museum

forrest ganderPoet, translator and essayist Forrest Gander will be reading from his work at Phoenix Art Museum, 1625 North Central Avenue, on Friday March 3 at 7:00 p.m. The event is free and open to the public. The event is organized by the University of Arizona Poetry Center. Superstition Review and the Arizona State University College of Integrative Sciences and Arts are proud co-sponsors.

Gander is the author of the 2011 poetry collection, Core Samples from the World, which was a finalist for both the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Critics Circle Award. His other books include two novels, As A Friend and Trace; the poetry collections Eye Against Eye, Torn Awake, Science & Steepleflower; and the essay collection Faithful Existence: Reading, Memory & Transcendence. Gander’s essays have appeared in The Nation, The Boston Review, The New York Times Book Review and other publications. He is the recipient of fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Guggenheim, Howard, and Whiting Foundations, and he has received two Gertrude Stein Awards for Innovative Poetry.


Submissions Open Until Feb. 28 

Superstition Review LogoThe deadline for submission for Superstition Review issue 19, publishing May 1st, is Feb. 28th. Our editors are reviewing submissions in Art, Fiction, Nonfiction, and Poetry. Sign in to Submittable to send us your work.

 

 

 

 


8 New Books The New York Times Recommends This Week 

NYT Books

Whether you want to escape the present through a novel, or better understand the present through an enlightening piece of non-fiction, the New York Times has you covered.

There’s a novel by Margaret Drabble, a collection of short stories by Viet Thanh Nguyen, and two great non-fiction picks from Richard Haass and Pankaj Mishra.

Read the full list here.

 


16 Books Coming to the Big Screen in 2017

Books Coming to the Big Screen

Books and movies seem to have always had a strange relationship; isn’t one always better than the other? But there are a number of exciting book adaptations coming to the big screen in 2017.

From Julian Barnes’ Man Booker winning The Sense of an Ending, to the long awaited adaptation of Stephen King’s Dark Tower series, to Dave Egger’s The Circle, to even a new take on Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Orient Express, there’s a lot to look forward to.

See the full list by Barnes and Noble here.

 

 


Featured Partner: Witness

Witness CoverThe new issue of Witness is about chaos, which very old references describe as a void, an absence, a state before creation. But more recent scientific use implies that randomness and disorder would make sense if we could just get a vast enough perspective.

We’ve strived toward that goal with new fiction, poetry, and nonfiction, in print and online at WitnessMag.org.

From life-changing events that take place in the womb to unexpected shifts at the end of a life, these pieces contemplate the control we work to exert or the lack of control that we endure within individual lives.

Witness Magazine

witness@unlv.edu

witnessmag.org

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Featured Partner: North American Reviewnorth american review

Submissions are open for the North American Review‘s third annual Torch Memorial Prize for Creative Nonfiction. First Prize: $500. You may submit only one piece of creative nonfiction, no longer than 30 pages in a Word document. All contact information should be entered in your cover letter. No names or addresses should appear on manuscripts, please. All submissions will be read blind. Deadline: April 1, 2017

Judge: Dinty W. Moore. More information can be found at northamericanreview.org.

 

Featured Partner: Berkeley Fiction Review

Berkeley Fiction ReviewThe Berkeley Fiction Review is one of several descendants of UC Berkeley’s Occident literary journal, which was published from 1881 to the 1960s. Established in 1981, it is now UC Berkeley’s oldest prose journal. We strive to publish short fiction that challenges the concept of the short story through unique prose, curious concepts, and engrossing narratives. We’d love for you to be a part of our literary tradition. Send your creative works to berkeleyfictionreview@gmail.com!


“When you read a short story, you come out a little more aware and a little more in love with the world around you.” – George Saunders

 

 

Guest Post, Leslie Standridge, A Year in Review: Navigating Oneself After Graduation

Leslie Standridge headshot photo“Human beings are not born once and for all on the day their mothers give birth to them, but that life obliges them over and over again to give birth to themselves.” – Gabriel García Márquez

In about two months, I will have been graduated from college for a full year. Really, a year is not a terribly long amount of time. So why does this feel so monumental?

For me, graduation was but a momentary emotional catharsis that lasted long enough for me to feel somewhat relieved until my panic set in. Of course, I worried about the things most graduates do, like finances and the job market and whether or not it was a good idea to get two Liberal Arts degrees in this economy. However, the majority of my distress came from not knowing what my next step was or, really, who I was outside of being a student.

For seventeen years, my identity was wrapped up in being a student. Throughout junior high and high school, I was an honors/AP kid—I spent every waking hour at school or at home doing school work. When I graduated high school, I dove headfirst in college because I knew it was what I was supposed to do, and I believe it’s what I wanted to do too. Throughout undergrad, I felt like the natural next step for me was graduate school. Yet, as I was reviewing universities and degree programs, I came to the realization that I had absolutely no idea what I wanted to do outside of going to school.

I weighed my options. I could see myself doing a variety of things, and yet, I felt no pull towards any particular direction. This isn’t to say that I was lacking in passion or motivation, but that, when it came down to it, I was so unsure of what was the right path to take. Pursuing one direction would mean sacrificing another, and I wasn’t ready to do that, even after four whole years of undergrad.  So, feeling like a failure, I decided to put off graduate school indefinitely and set a goal to “find myself” first. Sounds simple, right?

The unfortunate truth is that finding yourself is nowhere near easy. Identity itself is complicated. We all have a general sense of who we are, but how much do we really know about ourselves outside of a certain context? Where does identity begin and end? Can you really just leave one identity and enter another?

The answer to the latter question, I think, is no. But maybe the problem here is that we are expected to do just that. Maybe the reason that me and many, many others feel so lost after graduation is that we’re expected to walk off the stage and into our new selves. There’s so much pressure on millennials to be self-assured and immediately successful as soon as they grab that faux diploma. Yet, that pressure won’t facilitate any meaningful growth.

This pressure can make us lose sight of who we are and what we truly want. School is all consuming, and once it’s over, it really does feel as if we are left with no real identity and maybe, if you are like me, no plan for the future. However, a year into this madness, I feel as if that’s more of a blessing than a curse.

Discovering who you are and what you want isn’t a glowy, carefree experience—it’s grueling. There’s so much you have to learn through trial and error, through making decisions that turn out to be mistakes and by making mistakes that turn out to be great decisions. It’s not a particularly fast process, either, but it is rewarding. Since graduation, I’ve moved into my own apartment, started a new job as an automotive copywriter, adopted a second dog and discovered a multitude of interests and disinterests. All of these things, as mundane as they can sometimes be, have contributed to me developing a better sense of self.

So whether you are newly graduated, or it’s just over the horizon, and you are feeling lost and frustrated, know that you aren’t alone. It’s perfectly normal to feel off kilter for a while. However, you now have so much time—so, so, so much time—to figure it all out.