Authors Talk: Jane Satterfield

Authors TalkToday we are pleased to feature poet Jane Satterfield as our Authors Talk series contributor. Satterfield discusses the process and inspirations apocalyptic literature and her project book played on the creation of her poem “The Zombie Skateboarder at the Bus Stop.”

Jane Satterfield’s poem appears in Issue 21 of Superstition Review.

#ArtLitPhx: Its Writing Group! Four Chambers 2nd Sundays at Songbird Coffee & Tea House

Writing Group EventIts: Writing Group!

Public · Hosted by Four Chambers Press and Songbird Coffee & Tea House

Every second Sunday from 4:30 to 7 pm
at Songbird Coffee and Teahouse
812 N 3rd St, Phoenix, AZ 85004
Event Description:

Because what’s a writing community without structured opportunities for feedback?

We are open to individuals of all backgrounds and experiences working in any genre, style, or form of creative writing—poems, short stories, flash fiction, experimental work, personal essays, op-eds, articles, blogs, memoir, etc—at any stage of the writing process. If you are bringing work, please bring 5 – 6 hard copies to share with the group. If you are bringing prose, we respectfully ask you to bring under 3000 words. Please note that you do not have to bring work. Parking is available for free in a small parking lot behind the coffeeshop and metered down 3rd St and throughout surrounding neighborhoods. Songbird is also a five-minute walk from the light rail via the Central Ave and Roosevelt stop. We also recommend a bicycle. Feel free to coordinate car-pooling on our Facebook page as well. Writing group is a safe, structured, and supportive space for people to come together, get to know each other, and exchange compassionate, constructive, and thoughtful feedback on each others work–helping each other to grow and progress as creative writers, connecting as human beings, and building community. For more information please e-mail fourchamberspress@gmail.com. Hope to see you there!

Contributor update, Kathy Fagan: 2018 Ohioana Book Awards Finalist in Poetry

We are proud to announce past contributor Kathy Fagan from Issue 18 is a 2018 Ohioana Book Award Finalist for Poetry! Her book “Sycamore” was selected and is described by Ohioana Library Association as “a collection of luminous insights on lost love, nature, and the process of recovery.” She was featured in Ohioana Library Association’s Facebook page special feature “30 Books, 30 Days,” highlighting finalists each weekday through Friday, June 29.

Contributor Update

Please click on the link for pricing information on “Sycamore”: https://milkweed.org/book/sycamore

Visit her website: http://kathyfagan.net/

 

Authors Talk: Grady Chambers

AuthorsTalkToday we are pleased to feature Grady Chambers as our Authors Talk series contributor. Chambers talks about his poem “Stopping the War” featured in Issue 21, he mentions the focus on his talk is on the “origins of that poem and what it was like to be a teenager in Chicago in the early and middle years of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the influences of my parents who are long time anti war and social justice activists, on the small actions I took as a teenager to voice my dissent for those wars.” He also expands on the uncertainties he felt during the time of the events mentioned and gives further context to the poem.

Grady Chambers’ poem appears in Issue 21 of Superstition Review.

#ArtLitPhx: Iron City Magazine Reading on First Friday on Roosevelt Row

Iron City Magazine Logofirst friday iron city mag

June 1st Iron City Magazine Reading- First Friday on Roosevelt Row

Event Date and Time: June 1, 2018 7:00pm-9:30pm
Please join Iron City Magazine this Friday on Roosevelt Row! Editors from Iron City Magazine and volunteers will be reading from Issue 1 & Issue 2. Kylie Killian a contributor of their upcoming Issue will also be reading a couple of her submitted pieces. Come join them in sharing the creative expressions of incarcerated writers and artists!
[Issue 1 ($8) and Issue 2 ($10) will be sold at the event. Credit/Debit and Cash only.]
For more info on First Fridays, go here: https://artlinkphx.org/first-fridays/
To browse Iron City Magazine, go here: ironcitymagazine.com.

Guest Post, Caleb Nelson: The Oulipian Strategy

guest post, Caleb NelsonTHE OULIPIAN STRATEGY

We might think of Ouilpo as the ultimate writing workshop program. Of course, Ouilpo is more than that. The organization has a longevity few literary groups can claim. In the essay “Raymond Queneau and the Early Oulipo,” scholar Warren Motte writes, “Oulipo has certainly shattered the record of longevity for literary groups, leaving Dada, Surrealism, Futurism, Lettrism, Situationism, and so forth behind like so many sleek but abashed hares bested by the tortoise.” The constant quasi-religious in-fighting of groups like Lettrism and Surrealism made it almost impossible for the members to remain a unit. For example, André Breton’s excommunications of those like Robert Desnos and Raymond Queneau (Oulipo’s cofounder) seems almost tyrannical in hindsight. Ouilpo somehow avoids this. As Motte describes, “No excommunications here, no ritual immolations, no spectacular au·to-da-fé, no gore-drenched seppukus.” Oulipo achieves this relative peace perhaps out of its very ambitions and aims, its structuring.

Raymond Queneau described Oulipo as “Rats who build the labyrinth from which they try to escape.” In an essay called, “Into the Maze: OUILPO,” scholar Mónica de la Torre argues, “The concerns of the original members of the Oulipo were, at least, two-fold: on the one hand, they wanted to write literature that could not be easily consumed and disposed of, literature that was always in the making… Oulipians also wanted to devise a system to guarantee that writers would not run out of innovative formal possibilities.” There’s a playful paradox at work here. The Oulipian literary model attempts to impose arbitrary constraints on the writing process, and, at the same time, hopes to produce lasting, transformative (non-disposable) works of art, which suggests there’s a useful/latent degree of freedom lurking within such constraint. The idea of not running “out of innovative formal possibilities” might seem sort of old hat in our age of algorithms, but it wasn’t in the 1960s.

Oulipians wanted to maintain a system of procedural innovations for writers, but they also wanted their literature to be transformative. They differed from the Surrealists in the sense that they considered “automatic writing” to be a form of cheating. According to Queneau, in his 1963 essay, “Potential Literature,” he says the Oulipian goal is “To propose new ‘structures’ to writers, mathematical in nature, or to invent new artificial or mechanical procedures that will contribute to literary activity: props for inspiration as it were, or rather, in a way, aids for creativity.” Again, it’s kind of like the ultimate writing workshop formula(s)/exercise(s). Torre explains the exciting, if not obvious, possibilities of such a program, “Thanks to the Oulipo, poets with writers’ block can explore lipograms, perverbs, antonymic translations, homophonic translations, spoonerisms, centos, heterograms, pangrams, and a myriad of other forms instead of agonizing over the blank page.” Oulipo didn’t invent these forms or procedures, but rather, according to Torre, they rescued them from “literary oblivion.”

A writer I love and admire comes out of the Oulipian world, the Italian short story writer Italo Calvino. Calvino has a wonderful collection of short stories called Marcovaldo, which are obviously still worth reading today. In an essay called “Cybernetics and Ghosts,” Calvino describes some foundational Oulipian assumptions. He writes, “primitive oral narratives, like the folk tale that has been handed down almost to the present day, is molded on fixed structures, on, we might almost say, prefabricated elements – elements, however, that allow of an enormous number of combinations.” Here, we see again the Oulipian fascination with a predetermined “labyrinth” as a set of literary possibilities. Calvino goes on. He argues, “Even if the folk imagination is therefore not boundless like the ocean, there is no reason to think of it as being like a water tank of small capacity. On an equal level of civilization, the operation of narrative, like those of mathematics, cannot differ all that much from one people to another, but what can be constructed on the basis of these elementary process can present unlimited combinations, permutations, and transformations.” Combinations. Permutations. Transformations. Calvino, rather brilliantly, outlines the Oulipian strategy. I have to say, this program/project may partially explain Oulipo’s longevity. The possibilities within this mazelike framework are unexpectedly open and endless.

Contributor update, Laura Esther Wolfson

Congratulations to our past contributor Laura Esther Wolfson on her forthcoming essay collection/memoir, For Single Mothers Working as Train Conductors. It will be available June 1st! We are really happy for her and are grateful for her nonfiction piece published in Issue 14 of Superstition Review. Wolfson has also been featured in our guest blog (Once Upon a Time, Recall, After the Autobiography) and podcast series of AuthorsTalk and SR Pod/Vod. If you would like to preorder or visit her website please click on the links.contributor update

Your local independent bookstore; University of Iowa Press; Book Culture,

IndieboundPowell’s City of BooksBarnes & Noble; [and Amazon]