Contributor Update: A Whole New World Awaits You With Sarah Kriehn

Hey all, this week brings us a lil’ closer to home with the news that there will be an artist reception at our very own Herberger Theater Art Gallery, right here in Arizona. The show will be featuring the work of Sarah Kriehn, a past contributor to Superstition Review whose paintings were featured in the Art section of our 10th issue. Her work will be appearing alongside work by Kathy Taylor, and the reception is to be held Friday, April 7th, on the 2nd floor of the Herberger Art Theater Gallery, at 222 E Monroe, Phoenix, AZ, 85004, from 5:30 pm to 7:30 pm. Come through and marvel at the work these two wonderful artists have done, and when you’re done, drop us a line in the comments section below!

Go to this show!

The digital flier for Sarah Kriehn’s artist reception, held Friday, April 7th at Herberger Theater Art Gallery.

 

#ArtLitPhx: Meet Anthony Doerr

Changing Hands Bookstore presents the Pulitzer Prize winner and #1 New York Times bestselling author Anthony Doerr and his paperback release of his international bestseller All the Light We Cannot See. Doerr will talk at the Mesa Arts Center  (1 E Main St, Mesa, AZ 85201) on Monday, April 3rd, 2017 at 7pm. After the talk there will be a book signing.  Tickets are available for order exclusively at the Changing Hands webpage. Tickets include a signed copy of the book. Tickets start at $24. For more information visit the Facebook event page.

Up to 48 hours before the event, admission vouchers, which are required for entry, are available for pick-up at both of the Changing Hands locations. After that, vouchers will be available exclusively at the venue.

Doerr has won numerous prizes for his fiction, including the 2015 Pulitzer Prize. His most recent novel, All the Light We Cannot See, was named a best book of 2014 by a number of publications, and was a #1 New York Times Bestseller.

All the Light We Cannot See is a beautiful, stunningly ambitious instant New York Times bestseller about a blind French girl and a German boy whose paths collide in occupied France as both try to survive the devastation of World War II.

 

Authors Talk: Elizabeth Naranjo

Elizabeth NaranjoToday we are pleased to feature author Elizabeth Naranjo as our Authors Talk series contributor. In her podcast, Elizabeth discusses “The Woman in Room 248” and reveals how some of Mary’s experiences are loosely based on her own nursing experiences. She also expands upon the characterizations of Mary and Shirley and shares how she can relate to both characters.

Elizabeth also discusses empathy in the piece and explains how she “wanted to explore how we often misjudge others.” She reveals, “I think the best fiction challenges our assumptions about people. It…should make us consider the motivations and the feelings of others who we wouldn’t normally look at twice or think about in a more compassionate way.” Finally, Elizabeth briefly discusses the piece’s evolution and submission history.

You can access Elizabeth’s piece, “The Woman in Room 248,” in Issue 18 of Superstition Review.

Literary Partners: Prick of the Spindle

Featured Partner: Prick of the Spindle 

Prick of the Spindle is a nonprofit journal of the literary arts, founded in 2007. We are always seeking critics to review the titles listed on our review shelf at http://prickofthespindle.org/reviewer-guidelines/. We are also seeking short film and visual artists for our online galleries, as well as satire for the new online section, The Corner. Submit your fiction, poetry, nonfiction, humorous pieces, reviews, interviews, artwork, and drama for the biannual print edition at https://posprint.submittable.com/submit. To purchase copies of the biannual print edition, visit http://prickofthespindle.org/shop/

#ArtLitPhx: Ocean Vuong and Camille Rankine in Phoenix

Ocean Vuong and Camille Rankine

The Poetry Center at the University of Arizona is proud to present Ocean Vuong and Camille Rankine reading at the Phoenix Art Museum (1625 N Central Ave, Phoenix, AZ 85004) on April 7th at 7pm.  The opening reader for the night will be Joel Salcido. After the reading, there will be a short Q&A and a book signing. For more information visit The Poetry Center’s website.

Born a Los Angeles cockroach and smuggled to the Westside of Phoenix, Joel Salcido translates the poetry of the barrio pigeons into brujería. He is blessed with a beautiful wife and two sons (and another on the way) as well as a cadre of talentedly mad brothers, friends, coconspirators and fellow hood radicals. He writes poetry and prose while building a boat out of editor’s rejection letters to float back to the moon. He is a member of the Gutta’ Collective, a group committed to sharing Black and Brown narratives through art and poetry to give a voice to the silent, isolated, and marginalized. Joel Salcido is an MFA candidate in poetry at Arizona State University

Ocean Vuong is the author of Night Sky with Exit Wounds (Copper Canyon Press, 2016). A 2016 Whiting Award winner and Ruth Lilly fellow, he has received honors from The Civitella Ranieri Foundation, The Elizabeth George Foundation, The Academy of American Poets, Narrative magazine, and a Pushcart Prize. His writings have been featured in the Kenyon Review, GRANTA, The Nation, New Republic, The New Yorker, The New York Times, Poetry, and American Poetry Review, which awarded him the Stanley Kunitz Prize for Younger Poets. Born in Saigon, Vietnam, he lives in New York City.

Camille Rankine’s first book of poetry, Incorrect Merciful Impulses, was published in January by Copper Canyon Press. She is the author of the chapbook Slow Dance with Trip Wire, selected by Cornelius Eady for the Poetry Society of America’s 2010 New York Chapbook Fellowship, and a recipient of a 2010 “Discovery”/Boston Review Poetry Prize. Her poetry has appeared in Atlas Review, American Poet, The Baffler, Boston Review, Denver Quarterly, Gulf Coast, Octopus Magazine, Paper Darts, Phantom Books, A Public Space, Tin House, and elsewhere. She is serves on the Executive Committee of VIDA: Women in Literary Arts, and lives in New York City.

Guest Post, Matthew Felix Sun: Unlikely (Anti-)Heroes as Artists

As an artist, I am naturally drawn to literature depicting artists: historical or fictional, painters, sculptors, composers, writers, and craftsmen of all trades. I am drawn to their struggles for inspiration and perfection of execution, to their achievements or failures, and to their intriguing techniques.

There have been some fine examples of fiction that depicts the foremost artists of their time. Perhaps the best known, recent novel in this category is Girl With a Pearl Earring by Tracy Chevalier, on the Dutch painter Johannes Vermeer. Other works in this vein include As Above, So Below by Rudy Rucker (Pieter Brueghel), Rembrandt: A Novel by Gladys Schmitt, and The Agony and the Ecstasy by Irving Stone (Michelangelo).

Opening windows to fascinating worlds or processes of beloved artists, these fictions prove endlessly engaging; if there are any shortcomings, perhaps they lie in the authors’ attempts to present the broad historical fabric in which an artist was active, which sometimes interferes with dramatic arc or character development.

Those who seek more uninhibited imaginations might turn to novels on fictional creative characters, especially those engaged in unique and unforgettable trades; or even more fascinating, to books on well-known real-life or mythical figures not previously associated with any artistic ambitions or endeavors.

Recently, I have read several books in that last category, which have inspired this post. They were Oedipus on the Road by Henry Bauchau, Darker Muses: The Poet Nero by Dezső Kosztolányi, and Perfume: The Story of a Murderer by Patrick Süskind.

In Bauchau’s retelling, the exiled, blind Oedipus, accompanied by his daughter Antigone, embarks on a spiritual cleansing and a journey in pursuit of self-discovery. Oedipus launches an improbable career as a sculptor, culminating in sculpting a huge relief of wave on a cliff.

Oedipus started modestly by moulding clay figures or carving branches, giving his creations poetic names such as “The Stone’s First Smile” or “There is a Spring”. He soon fixated on a cliff and was determined to reveal the waves that he perceived, despite or perhaps because of his blindness, beneath the stone surface.  He installed himself “at the top of the headland,” listened to “the waves crashing against the cliffs and the cry of the seabirds. … something has begun to open up inside him and periodically the sea appears in all its fullness, yearning for him to abandon himself to it or be consumed by it.”

“Sometimes he slips and cuts his hands. It is almost a pleasure to mark the cliff with his blood for the wave is there as well as within him.”

He carved one oarswoman, modeled on his daughter Antigone “how Oedipus sees her, how he wants her to see herself”, “a vibrant, determined beauty, suffused with confidence,” while Antigone carved another oarsman as Oedipus, “as he was before that time, the savage boy – conqueror and victor”, without blemish and relieved of his fate.

His struggle was mighty and meaningful.

On the overhanging rock the wave curves back, twisting under the pressure of its own weight and falls, as Oedipus wanted it to, plunging back into the sea.

The wave, dark at its base, becoming lighter as it rises, spring up out of the sea. … Nothing can stand up to it. It is about to fall back into the vast trough but the boat gets there first and uses the power of the wave and the gap it has created to project itself forwards … guided towards the port by the blind man of the sea, … sending out a message of hope to all sailors.

Kosztolányi’s Nero, soon after his ascendency to the Roman throne, suffered from a feeling of purposelessness in life. His mentor, the poet Seneca, unwisely turned his attention to poetry. Consequently, the talentless yet committed young emperor “himself had no idea how or why it happened, but suddenly he began to write. Line after line he wrote, Greek hexameters which flowed precisely. But upon reading them aloud, he began to feel less confident. He weighed the lines in his mind, tested them, made corrections. Now his mood was black and desperate like that of a murderer aiming himself for an ominous deed for which, should he fail, he must pay with his life.”

He wrote and re-wrote and invited critiques from Seneca, a seasoned courtier, who praised Nero’s efforts and cemented the emperor’s ambition and self-confidence, which outstripped his artistic self-doubt. Eventually, however, the populace came to see Nero’s banal efforts as buffoonery and travesty, the insecure poet-emperor became intolerant, and so commenced his downfall.

In contrast to the sculptor-king and the poet-emperor, the protagonist in Süskind’s Perfume was an orphan without status, but engaged in an unusual artistic career. The young Grenouille, endowed with extraordinary olfactory sense, installed himself in a struggling Parisian master-perfumer’s workshop, and invented countless superior perfumes for his master while perfecting his own skills.

The scent of his first perfume for the master, “was so heavenly fine that tears welled into Baldini’s eyes. He did not have to test it, he simply stood at the table in front of the mixing bottle and breathed. The perfume was glorious. … It was something completely new, capable of creating a whole world, a magical, rich world, and in an instant you forgot all the loathsomeness around you and felt so rich, as at ease, so free, so fine. …”

Grenouille’s dream was to capture and preserve a most glorious scent of a young girl he encountered. “But of course this unique scent could not be used in a raw state. He must set it like the most precious gemstone. He must design a diadem of scent, and at its sublime acme, intertwined with the other scents and yet ruling over them, his scent would gleam. He would make a perfume using all the precepts of the art, and the scent of the girl behind the wall would be the very soul of it.”

In his obsessive efforts to obtain similar scents, he would steal toward a series of muses/victims and hammer them to death, suddenly and instantaneously, before fear could interfere with their wondrous virginal scents.

Then, he would seal the body with scent-absorbing oiled-linen, “not a slit, not a hole, not one bulging pleat was left through which the girl’s scent could have escaped. She was perfectly packed. There was nothing to do but wait, for six hours, until the gray of dawn.”

Grenouille fulfilled his artistic dream, creating the most glorious scent out of his fine, gruesome collections. Yet, due to his personal flaw — he was without a scent himself, therefore, in his own mind, without any presence, and meaningless — he used the angelic scent he created to lure a crowd of people, in a fit of mad love, to consume him — literally, in a horrifying orgy of cannibalism.

These fables demonstrate artistic struggle in multiple ways, with successfully realized art or not. All point to the conclusion that abandonment, total commitment, obsession, and being possessed — even bleeding for one’s art — is the prerequisite for artistic fulfillment.

As a painter, I have experience many artistic struggles: for inspiration, to execute my ideas, to succeed in the frustrating business of marketing. I have also worked on pieces featuring creative characters — painters, musicians, dancers, or sculptors — finding myself drawn to sympathize with these characters, and to empathize with their struggle as my own. But to do justice to my figures’ inspirations and struggles has not been easy. Due to the limitations of painting and drawing media, my works were the visualization of only momentary snapshots of artistic processes, without the deep analyses and temporal unfolding that novels are able to render.

One of my paintings, titled Encounter, is an interesting case in point. It depicts a young man, in a nocturnal light, meeting a bronze bust of a young boy. A wave of emotions reveal themselves through the young man’s posture and facial expressions. The subject can be seen as a sculptor who unexpectedly sees his creation in a new light, or the Muse facing a creation he inspired. In the single moment depicted in the painting, the artist/muse was possessed by the creation.

Indeed, the key for an artist to succeed is to be possessed!

Encounter Oil on Canvas 36" x 48" Completed in 2001 © Matthew Felix Sun www.matthewfelixsun.com

Encounter
Oil on Canvas
36″ x 48″
Completed in 2001
© Matthew Felix Sun
www.matthewfelixsun.com

Newsletter 3/24

“Superstition

3.24.17


Contest: Show Us Your Workspace

Workspace Contest

At the end of every author interview, we ask the same question: What does your writing space look like? Now, we’re asking you!

We’re accepting entries on Twitter: Tag us in a pic, use , &  you could win a Starbucks gift card! Contest ends March 31.


Ocean Vuong and Camille Rankine Reading at Phoenix Art Museum

Poets Ocean Vuong and Camille Rankine will be reading from their work at Phoenix Art Museum (1625 N Central Ave, Phoenix, AZ 85004) on April 7 from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. The event is hosted by the University of Arizona Poetry Center, the Phoenix Art Museum, Literary & Prologue Society of the Southwest, ASU College of Liberal Arts & Sciences, Superstition Review, ASU’s Virginia G. Piper Center For Creative Writing, and ASU Performance in the Border/Lands. After the reading, there will be a short Q&A and a book signing.

Ocean Vuong is the author of Night Sky with Exit Wounds (Copper Canyon Press, 2016). His writings have been featured in the Kenyon Review, GRANTA, The Nation, New Republic, The New Yorker, The New York Times, Poetry, and American Poetry Review, which awarded him the Stanley Kunitz Prize for Younger Poets. Born in Saigon, Vietnam, he lives in New York City.

Camille Rankine’s first book of poetry, Incorrect Merciful Impulses, was published in January by Copper Canyon Press. Her poetry has appeared in Atlas Review, American Poet, The Baffler, Boston Review, Denver Quarterly, Gulf Coast, Octopus Magazine, Paper Darts, Phantom Books, A Public Space, Tin House, and elsewhere. She serves on the Executive Committee of VIDA: Women in Literary Arts, and lives in New York City.


The Book Nerd’s Guide to Non-Readers

For bibliophiles, it can be frustrating to explain the love for the written word, especially when the response is sometimes, “People still read books?”

But the Book Nerd over at Barnes and Noble Reads has compiled a guide to non-readers that any book lover can get behind.

See the article by Barnes and Noble here.


Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Writing Playlist

Lin-Manuel Miranda, the mind behind Hamilton and the Moana soundtrack, shared on Twitter a 19-track playlist called “Write Your Way Out,” a collection of songs “about writing, songs that feature great writing, and everything in between.”

From Joni Mitchell and Bob Dylan to Saul Williams and Nas, this playlist’s a great way to punch through that next bout of writer’s block.

See the full list here.


Featured Partner: Prick of the Spindle

Prick of the Spindle is a nonprofit journal of the literary arts, founded in 2007. We are always seeking critics to review the titles listed on our review shelf at http://prickofthespindle.org/reviewer-guidelines/. We are also seeking short film and visual artists for our online galleries, as well as satire for the new online section, The Corner. Submit your fiction, poetry, nonfiction, humorous pieces, reviews, interviews, artwork, and drama for the biannual print edition at https://posprint.submittable.com/submit. To purchase copies of the biannual print edition, visit http://prickofthespindle.org/shop/