#ArtLitPhx: ASU MFA Reading Series feat. Steve Abell, Kalani Pickhart, and Jack Geist

The Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing Program at Arizona State University is hosting a special 8-part reading series featuring brand new work from ASU graduate students! Each reading will host 3-4 students at The Watershed, a beautiful waterfront restaurant and bar.

Watershed LakeviewThe next installment of the series will take place on November 7 from 7:30pm to 8:30pm, though you can come earlier to mingle, drink, and eat. You can find The Watershed at 5350 S Lakeshore Dr, Tempe, Arizona 85283.

The featured readers for the November 7 event are:

  • Steve Abell, Poetry
  • Kalani Pickhart, Fiction
  • Jack Geist, Poetry

(Update: Natasha Murdock has replaced Jack Geist as the third reader!)

We’re so excited for this installment of the series, especially because Kalani Pickhart was a contributor in Issue 19 of Superstition Review! You can read her piece, “Little Mouse,” here.

Stay tuned for later installments of this reading series! You can find more information on the event’s Facebook page and on the Facebook page for the ASU MFA Program in Creative Writing.

Authors Talk: Kalani Pickhart

Today we are pleased to to feature author Kalani Pickhart as our Authors Talk series contributor. Kalani discusses the process and personal significance of “Little Mouse.” She concludes by offering a piece of advice for other young writers.

Kalani explains that “Little Mouse” is her first story that “did a lot with very, very little.” She explains her immediate affinity for this method because it allows the characters’ voices to be communicated more directly. Characters revealing themselves and being heard on their own terms and in their own tone is Kalani’s first priority. This is clear from her language throughout the talk.

You can read and listen to “Little Mouse” in Superstition Review, Issue 19.

Guest Post, Maureen Alsop: Anemomancy

AnemomancyAnemomancy

              divination by predicting weather change or reading the future strength and

direction of the wind

 

Along the road’s pitch, a token of yellow moths—the auburn
river’s warning tool— electricity
                          between wing and crescent, where
reeds open the mailbox’ flag. As for the matter
of your father’s death.  I observe a signet ring lower
into the dim.  I signal in conscious dream
that day’s influence where I crossed into a calm
             holding his hand— what bereavement became—a percussion
of bullets bore his chest
in the faithful matter of betrayal.  No more ledgers.

But a bowl’s moss and mixed grain, a morning
without generation, a narcoleptic close of eye like envelopes.

Once I stopped talking.  Once I was love’s weak redundancy.
Did I not say no?       I did not say yes.
My hair undoes the lake’s ether.

#ArtLitPhx: ASU Stellar Alumni Reading Series feat. Bojan Louis and Irena Praitis

Bojan Louis and Irena Praitis

ASU’s Creative Writing Program is so excited to present its brightest, most talented alumni writers in this new series, the Stellar Alumni Reading Series. In this installment, Irena Praitis (MFA 1999; PhD 2001) and Bojan Louis (MFA 2009) will read from their work.

The reading will take place Thursday, October 26 from 7pm to 8:30pm in the Cochise Room of the Memorial Union on the ASU Tempe campus. A book signing will follow the reading – Bojan Louis is the author of Currents, and Irena Praitis is the author of The Last Stone in the Circle.

In Currents, Louis discusses the kinetic dissonance of the contemporary struggle to coexist with self-inflicted eroding environments. In The Last Stone in the Circle, Praitis chronicles experiences of prisoners in a WWII German work re-education camp based on eye-witness accounts. The synopsis details, “Delving into the murkiness of human experience in the face of suffering, the poems consider the complicated choices people make in impossibly difficult circumstances and explore the sheer resilience of survival.”

This event is free and open to the public. We previously featured this event in our Contributor Updates because Irena Praitis was featured in our very first issue – read her poems in Issue 1 here.

For more information on the event, check out the ASU website and the Facebook page.

#ArtLitPhx: Literatura, artes e industria editorial en Phoenix

Literatura, artes e industria editorial en PhoenixCardboard House PressCALA Alliance, and ASU’s School of International Letters and Cultures are hosting Casandra Hernandez and Giancarlo Huapaya in their lecture series. The pair will discuss literature, arts, and publishing in Phoenix during this bilingual event. The event will take place Thursday, October 19, from 1:30pm to 2:40pm at the Piper Writers House on the ASU Tempe Campus (450 E. Tyler Mall, Tempe, AZ 85281).

Casandra Hernandez is the Executive Director of the CALA Alliance, and Giancarlo Huapaya is the editor of Cardboard House Press. For more information, check out the event’s Facebook page.

#ArtLitPhx: ASU MFA Reading Series feat. Charlee Moseley, Joel Salcido, and Edward Derbes

The Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing Program at Arizona State University is hosting a special 8-part reading series featuring brand new work from ASU graduate students! Each reading will host 3-4 students at The Watershed, a beautiful waterfront restaurant and bar.

Watershed LakeviewThe next installment of the series will take place on October 17 from 7:30pm to 8:30pm, though you can come earlier to mingle, drink, and eat. You can find The Watershed at 5350 S Lakeshore Dr, Tempe, Arizona 85283.

The featured readers for the October 17 event are:

  • Charlee Moseley, Fiction
  • Joel Salcido, Poetry
  • Edward Derbes, Fiction

We’re especially proud that this installment features Charlee Moseley, a former intern at Superstition Review. She served as our fiction editor in Fall 2016. Congratulations, Charlee!

Stay tuned for later installments of this reading series as well! You can find more information on the event’s Facebook page and on the Facebook page for the ASU MFA Program in Creative Writing.

Guest Post, Liz Robbins: Generation Vex: Returning to Walls

Butterfly PaintingLast week, I had a conversation with a visual artist about the challenges of making art as we age. I’ll turn forty-six in December, and my friend is near there. I’ve read the statistics: the average poet peaks in her twenties; artists tend to be more in line with novelists, creating their best work in their forties (lucky guy). Still, with modern life and its distractions (see Anthony Varallo’s good post on interruption), finding inspiration tends to become more problematic with age.

The artist and I briefly discussed strategies we’ve tried to keep the wheels turning. He’s a pro: a gifted painter who reinvented his artistic identity by trying—and mastering—a new genre (video). He’s secured artist residencies. He’s earned a sabbatical. Yet he juggles a full-time teaching gig with a brilliant, lively family, which is to say, he drinks a lot of coffee. He’s constantly weighing appropriate balance and space—responsibilities galore, but good ones, ones crackling with depth and possibility. I struggle to find space—and inspiration within that space—for art in similar ways. In recent years, it’s been in the playgrounds of other art mediums, which sometimes means excellent live music shows, but often means wherever fresh contemporary visual art can be found locally; when on the Flagler College campus, where I teach, I frequent CEAM (the Crisp Ellert Art Museum). This is nothing new: poets have written ekphrastic poems since the beginning, many of them great and lasting (ie. Auden’s “Musee Des Beaux Arts”). And this is perhaps because there’s a certain kind of attention required of visual art—how color works to convey mood, for instance, or how vital a fresh concept to the work’s success—that helps remind us of important elements in poem-making. Not every poet has the same hurdles when it comes to making poems, but one of mine tends to be getting hyper-focused on the linear argument—that which I find most interesting, chasing the a-ha! moment—and therefore getting lazy about filling in with lush details. Or filling in the details, but not presenting them in strange or original ways. Another challenge is finding new themes: my obsessions have gone through the wash twenty times; all that hot water has faded and shrunk them. Spending a few hours with a visual artist’s work tends to get fresh angles spinning. For instance, one of my more recent riffs came courtesy of Anna Von Mertens, a highly-accomplished multi-media artist, currently living in New Hampshire. In this series, she’s taking well-known portraits (often self-portraits by artists like Van Gogh and Frida Kahlo) and from them, creating auras, using cloth, stitching, and homemade dye. Gorgeous. Mind-blowing. When I saw some of these in a CEAM exhibit, I immediately wanted to talk back to them, create a kind of tribute to them in poems. The result was a series of “aura” poems, using largely the Confessional poets. Here’s one:

aura: james wright
the head and torso shape that of a supplicant,
a nonbeliever in prayer, the eyes closed below
their frames, hands clasped at the heart, but the heart’s
red is the opposite of the dominant pigment, green: sap green
that breaks into flowering, o, Monet’s fields and water lilies
seeding and bursting beneath surfaces, all grown-blessed
in permanent green light . . . . Jenny the muse in hooker’s green:
river-rising just enough to be seen, he will wade in over
his head into the snake’s viridian venom, in the background
Van Gogh’s mother portrait, where the world’s players
smash against each other, competing terribly–
who wouldn’t waste a life for the naive green just breaking
into gallop? the wild fields blossoming?

As you can see, I’ve selected a dominant color palette that represents the poet/his work (green, with nods to significant painters who worked famously in green) and made allusions to Wright’s most well-known poems. What I’m most interested in is the conversation, the stimulation that arose from it. A familiar paradox, but one that bears repeating: artists must carve out vacuums in order to make art, yet art is not inspired by such vacuums, but life itself. In support of the collaboration of visual art and poetic inspiration, I bring my students to CEAM every semester, to view what riches our director has procured and to respond in poems; part of my own making process comes in designing prompts unique to the artist’s work. This experience is for them, for me, the dominant lesson: that the art-making engine runs on nouvelles idées, that we must constantly see potential inspiration everywhere and seek it out. If we’re young, the challenge comes in developing the habit; if we’re older, it’s in sustaining it. The irony, of course, with this particular mode: that the new ideas come from ideas already examined, though differently, by other makers. Another paradox (the soul of poetry).