Contributor Update: Alberto Rios and Nogales Gallery receive Arts awards

Hilltop LogoNogales, AZ has once again returned to the state’s artistic spotlight. On the weekend of Feb 13th, its Hilltop Gallery was announced as a finalist in the 2018 Governor’s Arts Awards. These awards are presented by Arizona Citizens for the Arts in partnership with the office of the Governor. They are based on the significance of the nominee’s achievements and contributions, the range of individuals and groups served by these contributions, and the degree of dedication that the nominee has to the arts. Since 1981, upwards of 200 awards have been presented to various artists and other individuals, cultural groups and organizations, and businesses.

The Hilltop Gallery is one of three finalists in the Arts in Education (Organization or School) category. These and other honorees were announced at a reception on Feb 6th, and on March 22nd in Phoenix, at the 37th annual Governor’s Arts Awards dinner and celebration, the winners will be announced.

The Hilltop Gallery, founded in 1968, is the region’s only permanent art collection. Its exhibits and education galleries focus on the variety of cultures from both the U.S and Mexico. The Gallery often collaborates on events with other local institutions and centers, such as the Consulate of Mexico. It also organizes art classes for the community, in addition to special corporate art shows for local business sponsors from June to August. One of its upcoming exhibits (March 5), is titled Faith Posey & friends- International Day of the Woman (mixed). If you are interested in becoming a Gallery Member, call 520-287-5515 for more information.

At this same March 22nd event, Alberto Alvaro Rios, also from Nogales, will be presented with the 2018 Shelley Award. This award, in honor of former Arizona Commission on the Arts Executive Shelley Cohn, is presented to an individual who, through innovative effort to create or support beneficial public policy, has advanced the arts in Arizona. Past award winners include Terry Goddard, past Phoenix mayor; Shirley Estes, builder of the Ventana Canyon Resort and community leader; and Katie Dusenberry, previous board chair of the Arizona Theater Company.

Rios is Arizona’s first poet laureate, and artistic director of the Virginia G. Piper Center for Creative Writing at Arizona State University. He received his BFA in 1974 and his MFA in creative writing in 1979, both from the University of Arizona. His many volumes of poetry include A Small Story About the Sky (Copper Canyon Press, 2015), The Dangerous Shirt (Copper Canyon Press, 2009), and The Smallest Muscle in the Human Body (Copper Canyon Press, 2002), which was nominated for the National Book Award. Some of his other works include Capirotada: A Nogales Memoir (University of New Mexico Press, 1999), The Curtain of Trees: Stories (University of New Mexico Press, 1999), and The Iguana Killer: Twelve Stories of the Heart (Blue Moon and Conference Press, 1984), which won the Western States Book Award. His work has made appearances in more than ninety major national and international literary anthologies, like the Norton Anthology of Modern Poetry.

Rios also contributed to Issue 6 of Superstition Review where several of his poems and an interview are available to read.

Congratulations, Alberto!


Authors Talk: Kate Lechler

Kate LechlerToday we are pleased to feature Kate Lechler as our Authors Talk series contributor. Kate discusses her essay, “The Breathtaking Sting of the Pull,” and what non-fiction offers to her as a writer.

She reflects on her time as an ESL teacher in the suburbs of Seoul, South Korea, and finds that most of the stories she writes are the last stories she’d think of sharing. She identifies religion as a recurring theme in most of her work, including the novel she is currently writing, in which her protagonist, like herself, grew up conservative Christian. Finally, Kate ends her podcast by talking about the strength of fiction and how, “we can create a world where we can think about all the things we care about.”

Kate Lechler’s essay, “The Breathtaking Sting of the Pull,” can be read in Issue 19 of Superstition Review.

#ArtLitPhx: Hello Lamp Post at Mesa Arts Center


Hello Lamp Post, a playful work of interactive digital art that invites people to strike up conversations with familiar street fixtures, will be installed in downtown Mesa and on Mesa Arts Center’s campus March 17 through April 16, 2018, marking the second installation of this work in the United States. The public art project by PAN Studios in London will encourage people to pause in their tracks and interact via text message with everyday street objects like lamp posts, benches, buildings, and drains. The objects will ‘wake up,’ prompting a set of carefully crafted questions about what people are doing and how they feel about where they live, work and play.

In the Mesa project, 32 objects including Mesa Arts Center itself will come to life via anonymous text messages. All that is needed to engage the objects is a basic mobile phone. As conversations grow, the objects will develop personalities and engage visitors around what they’ve heard from others. Visitors will be invited to tell the designated Hello Lamp Post objects their stories, give opinions and share observations.

Cindy Ornstein, Executive Director of Mesa Arts Center and Director of Arts & Culture for City of Mesa said of the project, “We love the way Hello Lamp Post encourages visitors to Mesa Arts Center and downtown Mesa to notice and look differently at objects in the environment. We know the installation will surprise and delight, but also hope it helps expose public dreams, and understanding about values, public spaces and community.”

An object map will be available at Mesa Arts Center’s box office and throughout downtown Mesa. Visitors are encouraged to explore and converse with as many of the objects as they like. The project map (and anonymous answers given by visitors) will also be available to view on the project website at

Mesa Arts Center is located at One East Main Street in downtown Mesa, AZ. More information can be found at

View a short video about Hello Lamp Post here.

Contributor Update: Carolyn Guinzio’s Ozark Crows

Ozark Crows by Carolyn Guinzio coverToday are pleased to announce that Ozark Crows by Carolyn Guinzio is available through publisher Spuyten Duyvil.

If you want a preview while you wait, Carolyn contributed four of her wonderful poems in Issue 18 of Superstition Review. “The Frame” is also included in the recently available Ozark Crows collection. The poetry is intertwined with stark silhouettes of crows and branches purposefully placed. It is is here, through these four poems, that you can see why Buzz Spector says, “throughout Ozark Crows, poetic language swoops, glides, dives and ascends. The crows both speak this language and scatter it in flight.”

Carolyn was also featured in our Authors Talk series for the blog. During the talk Carolyn discusses her fascination with crows and shares her process for creating poetry. The discussion includes how “the dark crows reminded her of letters” which lead to the experimentation that contributes to the aesthetic of the collection. If you have not had the chance to view the talk with Carolyn prior, we highly recommend doing so.

Congratulations, Carolyn!

#ArtLitPhx: Hanif Abdurraqib at Changing Hands Bookstore

Poet, essayist, and cultural critic Hanif Abdurraqib visits Changing Hands Phoenix (300 W Camelback Rd, Phoenix, Arizona 85013) on Monday, March 26 from 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm with his acclaimed essay collection They Can’t Kill Us Until They Kill Us. The collection was named a 2017 book of the year by Buzzfeed, Esquire, NPR, Oprah Magazine, Paste, The Los Angeles Review, Pitchfork, The Chicago Tribune, and others.

About the book

In an age of confusion, fear, and loss, Hanif Abdurraqib’s is a voice that matters. Whether he’s attending a Bruce Springsteen concert the day after visiting Michael Brown’s grave, or discussing public displays of affection at a Carly Rae Jepsen show, he writes with a poignancy and magnetism that resonates profoundly.

In the wake of the nightclub attacks in Paris, he recalls how he sought refuge as a teenager in music, at shows, and wonders whether the next generation of young Muslims will not be afforded that opportunity now. While discussing the everyday threat to the lives of black Americans, Abdurraqib recounts the first time he was ordered to the ground by police officers—for attempting to enter his own car.

In essays that have been published by the New York Times, MTV, and Pitchfork, among others—along with original, previously unreleased essays—Abdurraqib uses music and culture as a lens through which to view our world, so that we might better understand ourselves, and in so doing proves himself a bellwether for our times.

About the author

Hanif Abdurraqib is a poet, essayist, and cultural critic from Columbus, Ohio. His poetry has been published in Muzzle, Vinyl, PEN American, and various other journals. His essays and music criticism have been published in The FADER, Pitchfork, The New York Times, and MTV News, where he was a columnist. His first full length poetry collection, The Crown Ain’t Worth Much, was published in 2016 by Button Poetry and is a finalist for the Hurston/Wright Award for Poetry.

Contributor Update: Brock Clarke The Price of the Haircut

Brock Clarke The Price of the HaircutToday we are happy to announce The Price of the Haircut by Brock Clarke has been released. The Price of the Haircut, published by Algonquin Books, is a collection of short stories whose excerpt can be found on the authors website.

You can read Brock’s interview with Superstition Review in Issue 3.

Congratulations, Brock!

#ArtLitPhx: Robin F. Williams: Visiting Artist and Scholar Lecture Series

Visiting Artist and Scholar Lecture Series welcomes Robin F. Williams to discuss her recent work and research, Monday, March 26 from 7 pm to 8 pm at Grant Street Studios (605 E. Grant St. Phoenix, AZ 85004) .

Williams is a Brooklyn, New York based painter who holds a Bachelors of Fine Arts from Rhode Island School of Design. Her figurative work explores closely held American mythologies about gender, privilege and the American Dream. Using the fictional nature of the painted image to examine the fictions we tell each other as a cultures.