Editorial Preferences in Fiction: Spencer Litman

One of the most important realizations of my life was that people are not one way, that they often do and say conflicting things not out of malice or to deceit, but because it a necessary part of the ever-changing human condition. There is a sort of dialectic behavioral therapy that must take place within all of our minds when we consider that good people can do very bad things and bad people can do very good things. This is the dynamic nature of humanity. It is unavoidable. It might be the only unchanging and shared characteristic of humanity.

And it is for this reason that I am drawn to literary fiction. There often isn’t a clear line between good and bad. The characters in literary fiction make terrible choices and deal with the repercussions. As a reader and editor, I want to read stories that sink deep into these chasms between right and wrong, stories that teach us something about what it means to be fallible and imperfect. I want to read stories that challenge me, that make me so angry I hold my breath until the final sentence, so sad that I think of the characters long after I finish the stories. I want to see myself and my flaws laid out before me. I want to read narratives that do not pass judgement but present a situation and ask me to consider a point of view I may never have arrived at myself.

Literary fiction is a conversation between all of the writers in the world, constantly arriving at theses only to have them blown up and reordered by the next. Show me a side of humanity only you can construct, the things that make your perception unique.

But above everything, I want to feel something. I want to finish a story, let take root in my brain and change my long-held beliefs. Whether it is characters, setting, plot, language, form, it doesn’t matter. The stories that stick with me are the ones that make me think about life in a way I couldn’t or wouldn’t. This is the goal of fiction, and this is the fiction I want to see adding to the literary conversation.  

Spencer Litman is the fiction editor for Issue 23. He is a fiction writer and essayist living in Phoenix with his wife, Kristine, and his two children, Jayden and Aubrey. He is finishing his undergraduate degree in English with a creative writing concentration and hopes to attend an MFA program somewhere cold, with pine needles and snow.

Contributor Update, Emily Matyas: Sol y Tierra

Today we are happy to share news about past contributor photographer Emily Matyas. Emily has a new book releasing this spring titled “Sol y Tierra: Views Beyond the U.S. – Mexico Border, 1988-2018.” The collection of photographs explores life just south of the border, beginning a conversation between the two countries. Along with the photographs, journalists Linda Valdez and Sergio Anaya have included essays and one of the photographic subjects have included a short memoir.

Some more of Emily’s work, published in our 14th issue, can be found here. Be sure to look out this spring for more information on the book and events!

Congratulations Emily!

#ArtLitPhx: English at ASU Open Door 2019

Date: Saturday, February 23, 2019
Time: 1-6 p.m
Location: Ross-Blakley Hall (RBHL), Tempe Campus, 1102 S McAllister Ave, Tempe, AZ 85281
Cost: Free of charge and open to the public

Event Description:
Please join us at ASU Open Door 2019! All English activities will take place at ASU’s campus in Tempe in or near Ross-Blakley Hall, are free of charge, and are open to the public.

Swords Instead of Quips in YA Fantasy
1-3 p.m.   |   RBHL 196

Join NYT Bestselling Author Melissa Marr to learn how to integrate combat sequences into story. Using primarily Historical European martial arts (longsword and single-handed messer), but touching on kali sticks and improvised weaponry, Marr will discuss and demonstrate fighting as a realistic outgrowth of character, world, and setting. Marr will cover integrating action into story naturally and touch on tricks to stretch out the action in text without relying on historical inaccuracies, gross misuse of weapons, or action clichés like villain monologues.

Making the Star Wars Universe
1-6 p.m.  |  RBHL 101

ASU experts in film, television and literature share their perspective on the secret of Star Wars’ success. Mix and mingle with your favorite Jedis, hear the backstory of those vintage Star Wars toys and action figures, learn about the female heroes of Star Wars, enjoy themed face-painting and get your own balloon creature made by a Star Wars cosplayer. (Face-paint and balloons from 1:30-3:30 only).

RED INK Tipi Experience 
1-6 p.m.  |  RBHL (outdoors on SDFC East Field)

ASU’s Red Ink Indigenous Initiative presents cultural stories from Indigenous communities for children and adults. Each session is facilitated in a traditional tipi setting by tribal storytellers.

Hogwarts Sorting Hat & Spell Casting
1-3 p.m.  |  RBHL 117

Welcome to Hogwarts! Inspired by the Harry Potter books, young visiting wizards get sorted into a “house” and receive a corresponding wand; use the wand to magically correct misspelled words! Teeny tiny wizards can just enjoy learning silly spells. Beware: Dementors may show up! Facilitated by professors Jim Blasingame and Peter Goggin and English Education students.

Hogwarts Wand-Making and Platform Photos 
3:30-6 p.m.  |  RBHL 117

Members of Dumbledore’s Amy at ASU, a Harry Potter-themed student club, coach wannabe-wizards on the art of wand-making (supplies provided). Take a selfie at Platform 9 ¾ in London’s King’s Cross Station!

Giant Crossword and Word Search Puzzles  
1-6 p.m.  |  RBHL Lobby

Interactive word games for all ages designed by Regents’ Professor and Arizona Poet Laureate Alberto Ríos. Prizes for correct answers!

Writing Takes Place: Your Life in Haiku
1-6 p.m.  |  RBHL 119

Write your autobiography in Haiku, a short Japanese verse form. Take your finished poem with you! Coached by teachers in ASU Writing Programs (who are expert syllable-counters).

 

To learn more about the event, click here.

Contributor Update, Pam Houston: Deep Creek, Finding Hope in the High Country

Today we are happy to share the news of past contributor Pam Houston. Pam’s memoir “Deep Creek: Finding Hope in the High Country” was just published by W. W. Norton & Company in January of 2019. Reminiscing about her life living in the Colorado Rockies, Pam discusses the beauty and pain of human life and her ties to the earth, specifically her 120-acre ranch. The memoir not only includes her essays but also 12 of the author’s own black and white photographs.

The book can be purchased here, and information about her signing event at Bookshop Santa Cruz can be found here.

Congratulations Pam!

Editorial Preferences in Art: Shalanndra Benally

Through the process of curating art, I would say that I have gained new eyes for looking at different pieces of work. I can admit that I was never one to look at art in the manner of color, context, and composition before. I mainly base what I like on no other context other than just liking the way things look.

I think art as a medium can be something over saturated with the sheer number of artists, but I believe that I have learned so much. Through this journey I was also able to differentiate an artist from a hobbyist.

Looking at art now, I am finding myself drawn to artists that have a lot of work and specifically work that contains the three C’s. The first aspect I like to look for is composition. I really like to take composition into consideration and make sure that it matches the Superstition Review and what the audience would engage with. Secondly, I like to look into the context of the piece. Not simply understanding what the piece looks like, but taking the time to understand what the underlying theme is or what the piece is trying to say. And of course, taking color into consideration with each piece. All of these elements have helped me understand on a different level of viewing and appreciating art.

With that being said, I don’t particularly have a specific type of art I enjoy, I can look at any piece of work from any medium and still be able to apply what I have learned.

Overall, I am very grateful and pleased that I am able to see art differently. And I will continue to utilize what I have learned as I flourish throughout the art community.

Shalanndra Benally is the art editor for issue 23. She is currently in her first semester of her Senior year at Arizona State University studying Digital Culture with a concentration in Design. Currently she is working on the design team for TEDx at ASU, as well as being the sole designer for the 40th annual Ms. and Mr. Indian ASU. She is always looking for new opportunities to show off her artistic abilities and demonstrate her extensive design experience. After graduation she hopes to work in digital media or another creative field.

#ArtLitPhx: ASU Symphony Orchestra

#artlitphx

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Date: January 27, 2019

Time: 4:00pm-5:30pm

Location: Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts, 7380 E 2nd St, Arizona, 85251

Tickets

Event Description:

Jeffery Meyer conducts the ASU Symphony Orchestra in a dramatic program of Eastern European works influenced by events of World War II, featuring Yuhui Li on piano, 2018 Concerto Competition winner. Core repertoire works by Dmitri Shostakovich and Béla Bartók are performed with Krzysztof Penderecki’s avant-garde Threnody and the masterpiece of neoclassicism Concerto for String Orchestra by pioneering female composer Grażyna Bacewicz.

#ArtLitPhx: Tempe Writing & Cover Design Contest 2019

Tempe Writing & Cover Design Contest 2019

ASU students from all majors and campuses in metropolitan Phoenix (including ASU Online students who reside in Maricopa County) are invited to submit their creative work in the 5th annual Tempe Writing and Cover Design contest.

The contest will accept entries from Jan. 7 – Feb. 18, 2019. Writers may submit one original, unpublished work in either poetry, short fiction or creative nonfiction (including essays and memoir). Entries are read anonymously by members of ASU’s creative writing community and a winner is chosen in each genre for the three entry categories: high school student, college student (undergraduate or graduate) and community adult.

Graphic artists (age 14 and above) are invited to prepare a color cover design for the 2019 issue of Tempe Writers Forum, the publication that shares the winning entries.

Contest winners — in addition to having their work published in volume five of the Tempe Writers Forum and on the library’s website — will be celebrated at a reception at the Tempe Public Library on Wednesday, April 3, 2019. Additionally, the Friends of the Tempe Library will award a $50 prize to all winners.

Want to learn more? Full contest submission guidelines, as well as past issues of Tempe Writers Forum and the works of writers receiving honorable mention, can be found at www.tempe.gov/WritingContest.

#artlitphx#artlitphx

#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.

#ArtLitPhx: ASU Undergraduate Writers Showcase

#artlitphx

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Event Description:

Join the Virginia G. Piper Center for Creative Writing for our second-annual ASU Undergraduate Writers Showcase, Thursday, November 15, 2018 at the Piper Writers House (450 E Tyler Mall, Tempe, AZ 85281) from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m.!

To RSVP or submit your work, visit our website at http://piper.asu.edu/events/2018/asu-undergraduate-writers-showcase. The deadline for submissions is October 19, 2018.

While encouraged, RSVPs are purely for the purposes of monitoring attendance, gauging interest, and communicating information about parking, directions, and other aspects of the event. This event is open to the public and free.

A final line-up of readers will be announced November 1st.

#ArtLitPhx: Poetry of Witness with Andrea Scarpino

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Event Description:

Poetry of Witness. Poetry as Trace with Andrea Scarpino

Date: Friday, November 16, 2018, 5:30 to 8:30 p.m.
Location: Piper Writers House, 450 E Tyler Mall, Tempe, AZ 85281
Individual Course Cost: $119 Regular, $107 ASU, $99 Student
Two-Course Bundle: $210 Regular, $189 ASU, $175 Student

Poetry of the Body with Andrea Scarpino takes place the following day, Saturday, November 17, 2018 from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Both classes can be bundled for additional savings.

To learn more and register, visit http://piper.asu.edu/classes/andrea-scarpino/two-poetry-workshops

About the Class:
The poet Carolyn Forché describes poems of witness as bearing “the trace of extremity within them . . . the poem might be our only evidence that an act has occurred.” Traditionally, this has meant bearing witness to atrocities like war or genocide, but we will take a more expansive look at the form and how to bear witness to our own lives and to our own stories. This could include bearing witness to homophobia or racism, environmental degradation, or sexual harassment (#metoo), but it could also include bearing witness to difficult relationships, to a health crisis, or to the death of someone we love. In this workshop, we will read and discuss poems of witness, generate our own poems of witness through writing prompts, and workshop our writing together.

About the Instructor:
Andrea Scarpino is the author of the poetry collections Once Upon Wing Lake (Four Chambers Press, 2017), What the Willow Said as it Fell (Red Hen Press, 2016) and Once, Then (Red Hen Press, 2014). She received a Ph.D. in Creative Writing from Bath Spa University and an MFA from The Ohio State University. She has published in numerous journals, is co-editor of Nine Mile Magazine, and served as Poet Laureate of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula 2015-2017. Her upcoming edited anthology is Undocumented: Great Lakes Poets Laureate on Social Justice (MSU Press).