Contributor Update, Sloane Crosley: 50 notable works of nonfiction in 2018

Look Alive Out ThereToday we are happy to share news of past contributor Sloane Crosley. Sloane’s collection of essays, Look Alive Out There, has been recently named one of “50 notable works of nonfiction in 2018” by The Washington Post. About the collection, Steve Martin says: “Sloane Crosley does the impossible. She stays consistently funny and delivers a book that is alive and jumping.” Look Alive Out There is available for purchase through Amazon here.

Our interview with Sloane can be read in Issue 7 of Superstition Review.

Guest Blog Post, Christopher Kuhl: Fractures

The world is fractured. History is fractured. The ecosystem is fractured. Is the universe as we know it fractured? Is there a broken space beyond which there is another universe? Or is it a joke, like the “Fractured Fairytales”? Fractures shape each of us, giving us to do whatever we were meant, and have the desire to do. Yet it is not always what we want or expect.

I criticize the dark, the light; the night, the day; the sun, the moon and the stars. Night seems a betrayal for diurnal people, yet there are people who are nocturnal, by choice of work, or temperament, or a combination: do they take a job because it is a night job, or does the job transform them into a creature of the night?

I am fractured: a Jew, a Christian; introverted, extroverted; an Estonian, an Italian, with a piece missing that would help to heal one of my fractures: conflicted as a Jew by my German blood. I am an ethnic orphan, but embraced by parents who fight and beat each other, and then caress one another with long, broad strokes, and disappear into their room. As a child, I wasn’t sure what went on in there, but if it was the master bedroom, who was the master guiding the marital ship?

I am a glutton; I am a skeleton; I scream and I am silent. I am the first generation in this country, born of a mother, guided by my grandmother, who were the only ones of the family to survive the Holocaust. They were truly displaced persons, not refugees: they were not fleeing for a principle that threatened their lives in their country; they had no country or place to go, no verifiable identity. They, like many DPs, were given new papers: birth certificates, religious identities, names, papers for a tight-fisted, antisemitic president, who thought they were Nazi spies and refused to let them in. Think of the SS St. Louis in 1933, forbidden to land in the United States for fear of the evils these thousand Jews threatened: they were forced to turn back and return to Europe, where many of those on this “luxury cruise” (which is how it was billed, but the passengers didn’t buy it for a minute: they were refugees) ended up in the death camps, the labor camps, dying just like everyone else. Even Anne Frank, put into a camp, was no more heroic than her fellow inmates, screaming, fighting over bread, soup; dying of typhus two weeks before the camp was liberated. Saintly Anne: no less fractured than anybody else, but fractured in circumstances designed specifically to bring such features out in their many ways.

Fractured, I am a man who is a woman who is a man; a woman who is a man who is a woman. LGBTQ! Peaceful, wanting a quiet, loving family life, and the others who persecute them: they are God’s abomination.

Fractured, I am well-educated, but for what matters in my life—writing—I am an autodidact; I am wise, I am a drooling idiot. Disciplined, I am loose, narcissistic: I look to the heavens (if there is such a place; it depends upon your beliefs), but my feet are walking to Sheol. Or is there, in fact, no afterlife, no paradise, purgatory or hell. I’m taking my chances, I know, risking the evil eye, and by the time I know, it’ll be too late: I’ll either be awash in endless liquid fire, or I’ll disappear, soulless: a bit of space dirt.

I am fractured, fractured. I am the hunter and the prey. I am honest and a cheat. And so, in the twilight, in the evening, at the time of night and darkness, I lie alone, or with a companion whom I may or may not know, and come face to face with myself, in a shattered glass.

 

#ArtlitPhx: The Jealous Curator Podcast & Book Signing

artlitphx

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Date: November 17, 2018

Time: 3:00pm-4:30pm

Location: Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art (SMoCA), 7374 E 2nd St, Scottsdale, Arizona 85251

Event Description:

$10

Meet the creative mind behind The Jealous Curator, Danielle Krysa, as she records an intimate podcast featuring local artists. Join us afterward for a book signing of her latest published work A Big Important Art Book (Now with Women).

Authors Talk: Stan Sanvel Rubin

Today we are pleased to feature author Stan Sanvel Rubin as our Authors Talk series contributor. In this podcast, Stan discusses two of his poems, “Entre Des Etrangers” (the meaning of which is “Between Strangers”) and “Tickle.”

Stan states that these poems “weren’t written together, although they were written fairly close in time.” While he continues that these poems weren’t “meant to be paired,” he describes how each “holds the page in a similar way— that is, they have a similar visual weight.” Each poem also has 14 lines; which, Stan admits, is unique considering that he is “instinctively drawn to 13-line units.” He emphasizes the fact that “Tickle” is a single-sentence poem, while “Entre Des Etrangers” is broken up into several sentences, and that this structure serves to reflect the overall meaning of each piece. While Stan continues that these two poems “are not sonnets, and they’re not trying to be,” he describes how both poems are “examples of what lyric poetry is especially about— the creation of a sound body…what you might call the music of each poem.”

“Each poem has some connection to narrative,” Stan continues. While “Entre Des Etrangers” , he states, “has a kind of embedded story involving two strangers coming together….’Tickle’ has a narrative instance of a young boy having just caught a trout, and holding that trout in his hand.” While each poem differs in terms of plot, Stan declares that the significance of both pieces goes “beyond the particular actions of the participants of the poem,” and is “owned again by… the way sound and words can be put together and juxtaposed in somewhat complex ways.”

You can read Stan’s two poems, “Entre Des Etrangers” and “Tickle,” in Issue 19 of Superstition Review.

 

#ArtLitPhx: Borderlands Poetry

 

#artlitphx

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Event Description:

Natalie Diaz and [archi]TEXTS present Borderlands Poetry: A Reading and Conversation with Eduardo C. Corral benefitting No More Deaths/No Más Muertes

Date(s): Monday, November 19, 2018, 6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.
Location: Pima Auditorium, Memorial Union, Arizona State University, 301 E. Orange St., Tempe, AZ 85281
Type(s): Conversation, Discussion, Lecture, Reading
Genre and Form(s): Multi-genre, Poetry
Cost: Free; Suggested donation to No Más Muertes

Live streaming will be available at the date and time listed at https://asunow.asu.edu/asulive

To make a donation to No Más Muertes, visit https://donatenow.networkforgood.org/nomoredeaths?code=asu

To learn more and RSVP, visit http://piper.asu.edu/classes/eduardo-c-corral/borderlands-poetry

About the Conversation
What are the physical and metaphysical conditions of borders and borderlands? How do borders span the imaginary, emotional, and physical landscapes of the human condition? Join a conversation and reading with poet and educator, Eduardo Corral, exploring the imaginative, bodily, societal, political, emotional, physical, and linguistic impacts of borders to us as human beings, our connections, and our artistic bodies of work.

Fundraising for No Más Muertes
This conversation benefits No Más Muertes (No More Deaths), a humanitarian organization based in southern Arizona dedicated to increasing efforts to stop deaths of migrants in the desert. Their mission is to “end death and suffering in the Mexico–US borderlands through civil initiative: people of conscience working openly and in community to uphold fundamental human rights” (No Más Muertes).

About Eduardo C. Corral
Eduardo C. Corral is the author of Slow Lightning, which won the 2011 Yale Series of Younger Poets competition. His second book, Guillotine, will be published by Graywolf Press in 2020. He’s the recipient of Whiting Writers’ Award, a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship, the Holmes National Poetry Prize and the Hodder Fellowship, both from Princeton University. He teaches in the MFA program at North Carolina State University.

Presented by [archi]TEXTS and the Virginia G. Piper Center for Creative Writing at ASU

Original photo credits: Sonoran desert by No Más Muertes; Eduardo C. Corral by Matt Valentine.

Guest Blog Post, Denise Emanuel Clemen: At the Heart of Memory

A woman's shadow on sand.

Photo courtesy of the author.

Editor’s note: This piece contains discussion of sexual assault and rape. 

I’m interested in lies. I’m interested in truth. And in memory. How accurate are my memories? Do I trust that what I remember is true?

A few days ago I had coffee with a friend I see only every couple of years. Rebooting our conversation from when we last met, he wanted to know if he correctly remembered the story of the end of my marriage. “You were on a weekend get-away with your husband in San Diego,” he said. “He told you as you were unpacking your suitcases that the marriage was over, he was in love with someone from the office, she was pregnant, they were getting married, and he wanted to keep the house so he could raise his new family there.” Except for the weekend in San Diego and the pregnancy my friend’s memory had served him well.

It’s easy to explain the insertion of these two erroneous details. I had probably told my friend that only a month before our end-of-marriage conversation, my husband and I, and our children, and grandchildren had gone to San Diego for a family vacation. As for the pregnancy, in the fractured aftermath of learning that the life I knew was over, I concocted a scenario for my own survival. My husband didn’t want to end our marriage, but he was in a tough spot. Yes, he’d slept with her. Once. Maybe twice. She was on the pill, she’d told him, but that was a lie. Now she was pregnant. Or said she was. She wanted the baby, but her parents would be devastated that she was unmarried. They’d been saving and planning for her wedding since the day she was born. After much angst, my husband promised her that he’d leave me. They announced their engagement to her parents, and then she had a “miscarriage.” My husband had been duped, but he didn’t know it.

This tale helped me get out of bed in the morning. It was the story I told myself in the dark, alone. But as far as I recall, I hadn’t shared it with anyone. Then again, where did my friend come up with the idea of the pregnancy? Had I recounted my byzantine fake pregnancy, fake miscarriage theory to him? Was I so unhinged that I uttered it aloud? Maybe. And maybe, in the course of my ramblings, my friend was paying more attention to how I was negotiating the wreckage of my life than to the parsing of theory and fact. Regardless, the heart of the story as my friend remembered it was true.

Forty-two years ago I was raped by a business associate. I don’t remember his last name. I don’t remember if it happened in Indianapolis or South Bend. A couple of years earlier an acquaintance attacked me and nearly strangled me. I don’t remember his last name either. In fact, I don’t even remember his first name. What I remember is how swiftly he pinned me to the front seat of my car. What I remember is the pressure of his thumbs against my throat.

I write both nonfiction and fiction, and sometimes when there are details I don’t recall while writing an essay or memoir, I ask myself if it might be better to use my idea as a jumping off point for a short story. How can I write the piece as nonfiction when there are so many things I don’t remember? How do I flesh out the missing pieces of a true story?  Is it even necessary to do that?

Since watching the Senate testimony of Christine Blasey Ford, I feel stronger than ever that the bones of a personal essay can stand on their own, sans padding. Those exposed bones, like a skeleton hanging from a porch on Halloween night, are more dramatic without additional detail. The bareness delivers commonality.  My skeleton, in so many ways, looks just like yours.

There’s power in forgetting. Sometimes forgetting saves us. What we don’t remember is what we want to forget. The details that stay with us, in combination with the details that lay submerged beyond the access of memory, combine to render a story woven with complexity. There’s no need to embellish or invent. There’s a whole story lodged in our bones. Negative space is part of the picture. The erasure wrought by trauma tells its own part of the story. Just as sensory detail can engage the reader, the writer can draw the reader into the emptiness. I cannot recall a single feature of my attacker’s face. I can’t see his eyes, or whether or not he had a mustache, or freckles, or any type of a scar. He was quite pale, I think, or maybe just seemed so there on the dark street where he’d offered to walk me to my car.

The emptiness unites writer and reader. We struggle together to make out that pale face in the dark car. You are with me, clawing back your own memories just as I am with Dr. Basey Ford, running down the stairs and out the door of a house on a street with no name—a street that led us back home without knowing how we got there. Our memories can fail us. That failure is part of the story.

Authors Talk: Anna Geary-Meyer

Today we are pleased to feature author Anna Geary-Meyer as our Authors Talk series contributor. In this podcast, Anna discusses the process of creating her short story, “Natural People,” which she says was “born through a writing exercise.”

Anna describes how one day, in a writing workshop sponsored by The Reader Berlin, she was given an assignment to write on the mythical “Adaro” creature. Based on her having worked in several different startups at the time, she “ended up fashioning this…merman-like spirit into a hyper-exercised, hyper-optimized boss character,” who acts as a negative force in the life of the protagonist. This, she says, relates to the overall theme of animals in her story, and the degree to which they’re found throughout the piece.

Anna states that the “crux of the story is the main character’s realization that, to find a home in the world, she has to make one herself,” and that,  while “I didn’t write with this theme in mind, it’s where I was at as a person.” She continues that the main character “could only really begin to find a home in herself and her environment…when she accepts this feeling of being lost”, which occurs both literally and metaphorically. Eventually, Anna concludes, the main character is able to “find a rhythm in her own body.”

You can read Anna’s story, “Natural People,” in Issue 21 of Superstition Review.