Join writer Rogelio Juárez at the Valley Bar, Reading Room (9130 N Central Ave, Phoenix, AZ 85004) on Thursday, October 3, 2019, 7:00 p.m. for a discussion on race, gatekeeping, and white gaze.
Heavily inspired by Toni Morrison, acclaimed author of Beloved,Juárez intends to delve into some burning questions, including: How does colonization affect the creative process? What do we assume the reader knows? What do we explain? Who are we writing for? What is the white gaze? How do political, social, and cultural discourses around specific ethnicities, races, and groups shape the marketplace for literature?
The event is free of charge, but guests must be 21 or over (18 or over if accompanied by a parent or guardian) and the maximum amount of people allowed is 24 for everyone to be able to speak.
Rogelio Juárez is a Phoenix-based writer, a graduate of the VONA/Voices of Our Nation and Tin House workshops, a grandson of Braceros and son of an immigrant and a marine. His writing can be found in J Journal: New Writing on Justice, The James Franco Review, and Zócalo Public Square.
Location: Palabras Bilingual Bookstore (1738 E McDowell) Phoenix, AZ
Price: Free of charge and open to the public
Join for an intimate evening of bilingual conversation and poetry with Mexican fronteriza writer Dolores Dorantes. This event is presented by CALA Alliance in partnership with the ASU Marshall Chair Borderlands Poetry Series and Palabras Bilingual Bookstore.
DOLORES DORANTES is a Mexican poet, journalist, and writer living under political asylum in El Paso, Texas. She has published nine books of poetry and prose, most recently The River/El Río (2018), a collaboration with the photographer Zoe Leonard; Style/Estilo (2015 a book of prose poems that transforms the acts and language of violence into unexpected images; and, Intervenir/Intervene (2015), a collaboration with Mexico City poet Rodrigo Flores Sánchez. Her work has been translated into English, French, Dutch, German, Portuguese, Slovenian, Bengali, and Swedish. Dorantes is a priest in the Mahajrya Buddhist tradition. She is also a performer and bookseller working out of her mobile bookstore Librería Feminista, and the organization Cielo Portátil (for a free education).
Changing Hands Bookstore (300 W Camelback Rd, Phoenix, AZ 85013 will be featuring best-selling author Jacqueline Woodson on Friday, September 30 at 7pm. Moderated by fellow poet Natalie Diaz, the event will focus on Woodson’s novel, Red at the Bone, which follows the story of 16-year-old Melody and the role of her birth and life in the history, community, and overall union of two families from different social classes. Exploring sexual desire and identity, ambition, gentrification, education, class and status, and the life-altering facts of parenthood, Red at the Bone examines how young people must make long-lasting decisions about their lives–even before they have begun to figure out who they are and what they want to be.
Jacqueline Woodson, named Young People’s Poet Laureate by the Poetry Foundation in 2015, is the best-selling author of more than two dozen award-winning books. Her most famous works include 2016 New York Times-bestselling National Book Award finalist for adult fiction, Another Brooklyn as well as her New York Times-best-selling memoir, Brown Girl Dreaming, which received the 2014 National Book Award. Woodson is also a a four-time National Book Award finalist, a four-time Newbery Honor winner, a two-time NAACP Image Award Winner, and a two-time Coretta Scott King Award Winner. She lives with her family in New York.
Natalie Diaz is the author of the poetry collection When My Brother Was an Aztec. Her many honors include a MacArthur Fellowship, a USA Fellowship, and a Lannan Literary Fellowship. She teaches at Arizona State University and will be publishing a new collection, Postcolonial Love Poem, in March 2020.
The event itself is free and open to the public, but you can purchase a copy of Red at the Bone and learn more about the event from the website.
Join the Virginia G. Piper Center for Creative Writing for a poetry reading with Javier Zamora on Saturday, September 14, 2019 from 5:00 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. at Palabras Bilingual Bookstore (1738 E McDowell Rd, Phoenix, AZ 85006), courtesy of the Distinguished Visiting Writers Series. RSVPs are encouraged, but not required. This event is free and open to the public.
Zamora will be presenting his own bilingual, debut collection, Unaccompanied. It is poetry that delves into race, borderland politics, and immigration on a journey throughout El Salvador and Mexico, rife with civil war. Zamora himself was born in El Salvador and moved to the United States when he was only nine–over 4,000 miles–to reunite with his parents. In a 2014 interview for the National Endowment for the Arts’ Art Works Blog, Zamora stated, “I think in the United States we forget that writing and carrying that banner of ‘being a poet’ is tied into a long history of people that have literally risked [their lives] and died to write those words”.
He is also the author of the chapbook Nueve Anos Inmigrantes/Nine Immigrant Years, which won the 2011 Organic Weapon Arts Contest, as well as a winner of 2017 Narrative Prize.
The Piper Writers Studio will also be presenting a class with Javier Zamora, Engagement in Poetry/Engaged poetry from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at the Piper Writers House (450 E Tyler Mall, Tempe, AZ 85287). To learn about Javier Zamora’s class, you can find more information about it on the website.
Join the Virginia G. Piper Center for Creative Writing and Burton Barr Central Library for a talk with poet Danez Smith on Thursday, September 12, 2019 from 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. in the Pulliam Auditorium at Burton Barr Central Library (1221 N Central Ave, Phoenix, AZ 85004). RSVPs are encouraged, but not required. The event is open and free to the public.
Danez Smith is a Black, Queer writer & performer from St. Paul, MN who is the author of Don’t Call Us Dead (Graywolf Press, 2017), winner of the Forward Prize for Best Collection, the Midwest Booksellers Choice Award, and a finalist for the National Book Award as well as the poetry book [insert] boy (YesYes Books, 2014), winner of the Kate Tufts Discovery Award and the Lambda Literary Award for Gay Poetry. Smith has been the recipient of fellowships from the Poetry Foundation, the McKnight Foundation, the Montalvo Arts Center, Cave Canem, and the National Endowment for the Arts. The poet’s work has been featured widely, appearing on platforms such as Buzzfeed, The New York Times, PBS NewsHour, Best American Poetry, Poetry Magazine, and on the Late Show with Stephen Colbert. Smith is also a member of the Dark Noise Collective and is the co-host of VS with Franny Choi, a podcast sponsored by the Poetry Foundation and Postloudness. Smith’s third collection, Homie, will be published by Graywolf in Spring 2020.
For more information about Smith, visit their website. For further information on the event, see the Facebook page.
When I tell anyone about my work, I want to say that
everything I have written is entirely accurate. Of course, my poems aren’t
accurate. I lie for concision, and that doesn’t bother me. Ours is a language inadequate
to our needs, so I think a good poem is willing to be inaccurate and still be a
document of our times. I often write about current events, things in my life,
things said to me — and on revision, I find that the number of people or the
number of actions involved in a poem can be overwhelming. So lately, I find
myself consolidating. Maybe a coworker is five coworkers. Maybe a sentence is
multiple conversations. So long as the poem still reads emotionally true, this
kind of lie is doing the work I need with the content I have. I think it’s the
information professional in me that makes me look to cataloging as a shortcut
for consolidating experiences in a way that can make for an interesting poem.
Lately, I’ve been interested in apologies. The conversations
I pull from, the speakers I use, they’re unrelated except through content, and
the apology in many ways provides a format for interpretation and
consolidation. I transcribe these conversations with no intent to reconcile,
but a poem has to do something more because, on some level, a poem is about
understanding. I found it impossible to believe that what was said to me was
designed to set me at ease, like in “Tonight, A Woman.” There’s a moment where
another speaker enters, points to the narrator’s face and tries to set it apart
from herself. This was, at some point, part of an apology, but no one says
“foreign” as an act of love.
So I study the structure of these apologies. I try an experiment. I let these statements stand without my response. I leave the dinner, the breakfast, the breezeway. I read a letter and put it away. I speak to the people I love. But then, the conversations return. A colleague walks a little faster in the parking lot. At the table, someone asks if I’ve lost my tongue. I draft an email I don’t send. I cry a little. The academic vestige is lost. So I discontinue my experiment. I look back at my transcripts. I’ve lost interest in the conflict, but I know I have a poem to write because I have an obsession. I’m interested in how apology becomes performative redress. In this way, the speaker maintains their status by clarifying that I did not perceive you as one thing because you are so clearly another. So frequently, these apologies are another question. They ask me, are you from this country, and I have never lived anywhere else, except within that question. So that’s where I write from. I want to understand what people say to me, and I only have this language to answer myself with, which is difficult.
Today we are happy to announce the news of past SR contributor Megan Harlan. Megan’s creative nonfiction essay collection entitled Mobile Home: A Memoir in Essays is forthcoming from the University of Georgia Press in September 2020. It is our pleasure to announce that the collection has also won the 2019 AWP Award for Creative Nonfiction.
Megan’s creative nonfiction essay “Motel Childhood”, which was published in Issue 17 of Superstition Review, will be included in her forthcoming collection. Her other work has appeared in many literary publications including Alaska Quarterly Review, The Common, and Colorado Review, among others. She is also the author of Mapmaking, a book of poetry, which was awarded the John Ciardi Prize for Poetry.
For more information about Megan’s work and her upcoming book, you can visit her website here.
“Palimpsest” is one of the poems I wrote in response to a friend’s death. It is not just about my own “sadness” and “fear” but my friend’s. Her pain was so much greater than my own. This poem is one of the ways I grappled with the inevitable and my helplessness. It is also meaningless in the face of reality. I have trouble grasping that the world could continue without her, that despite my knowledge of the terrible unfairness of existence, I cannot help but continue my protest and record my objections, as though they matter.
I did not realize I was writing a palimpsest until I had completed the poem. It was obviously one thing written on top of another and in the end, which was on top was irrelevant. Sadness and fear interact within the dark room that is this poem and can never be separate, maybe that is always the case: no escape.
Wouldn’t it be nice to get out of the darkness? For me, the worst thing is that writing the poem is an escape and did make me feel a little bit better. Of course, this also led to a sense of guilt and the feeling that I was exploiting not just my friend’s death but my own feelings about it. The starless night pulls me in, sits me down, and delivers a stern lecture about the world/unworld that expects me to do something, anything about it. And again, no escape.
I do find some refuge in Elixir Press. I really love reading all those manuscripts, seeing all this great poetry and fiction before anyone else then bringing at least a little bit of it into print. There is usually very little conflict between my own work and the work I do with Elixir. I’ve gotten pretty good at carving out time for myself without taking anything from Elixir. I have to spend some time on my own work, or I wouldn’t be able to run Elixir at all. I think most people understand this.
The Creative Writing Program at ASU presents author Jess Row in a reading from his work, White Flights: Race, Fiction, and the American Imagination, followed by a Q&A and book signing. Free of charge and open to the public, the event will take place September 17, 2019 at 7pm in Ross-Blakley Hall 117 on ASU’s Tempe Campus (1102 S McAllister Ave, Tempe, AZ 85281).
The featured work White Flights is a meditation on whiteness in American fiction and culture from the end of the civil rights movement to the present. Jess Row ties “white flight”—the movement of white Americans into segregated communities, whether in suburbs or newly gentrified downtowns—to white writers setting their stories in isolated or emotionally insulated landscapes. In doing so, Row asserts, those white writers (including Don DeLillo, Annie Dillard, Richard Ford, and David Foster Wallace) have constructed a creative space for themselves at the expense of engaging with race. Not all hope is lost, however–Row explores what it would mean should writers “approach each other again”, and analyzes previous portrayals of interracial relationships with the aim of further inclusion in fiction.
In addition to White Flights, Row has also written the novels Your Face in Mine and the story collections The Train to Lo Wu and Nobody Ever Gets Lost. White Flights is his first book of nonfiction, while his fiction has appeared in The New Yorker, The Atlantic, Tin House, Conjunctions, Ploughshares, Granta, n+1, and elsewhere, has been anthologized three times in The Best American Short Stories, and has won two Pushcart Prizes and a PEN/O. Henry Award. One of Granta’s Best of Young American Novelists of 2007, he lives in New York and teaches at the College of New Jersey.
Join us in congratulating past SR contributor, Anthony Varallo, on the publication of his newest novel The Lines. The novel was published by the University of Iowa Press on August 15 and is now available for purchase.
The story follows a family of four in the aftermath of the parents’ separation, exploring complexity of human experience and connection as they all deal with their personal turmoil.
If you would like to check out the novel, the press is offering a 25% discount until October 14 if you use sale code LINE25 on their website. You can also find his work in Issue 5 of Superstition Review.