SRAWP: Spotted, B.J. Hollars & Michael Martone

Superstition Review editors were happy to catch up with B.J. Hollars, Fiction Issue 6, and Michael Martone, Interview Issue 4.

B.J.’s essay “Fifty Ways Of Looking At Tornadoes” is forthcoming in Quarterly West.

Michael’s new book is Four for a Quarter. It is separated into four sections, with each section further divided into four chapterettes. The book returns again and again to its originating number, making chaos comprehensible and mystery out of the most ordinary.

The Shape of the Eye, Memoir by George Estreich

George Estreich, poet and author of “Shape of the Eye”

Issue 7 contributor George Estreich recently published a new memoir, The Shape of the Eye, in which he describes the blessings and challenges of raising his daughter Laura, who was diagnosed with Down Syndrome. Estreich is known for his book of poems, Textbook Illustration of the Human Body, which won the Rhea and Seymour Gorsline Prize from Cloudbank Books.

While writing Shape of the Eye Estreich was faced with new challenges, both technically and personally. Having a strong background in poetry, Estreich found writing a memoir to be both a foreign and familiar experience: “When I wrote poems, I was mainly concerned with language, line by line and word by word […] In a way, I was still writing poetry, trying to get each sentence right, to find the right word and metaphor and form. At the same time, those formal choices became part of a larger goal.”

Creative nonfiction can have its own challenges, especially when the topic is so personal. Estreich commented on that intimate quality of Shape: “It’s odd to have written so much autobiographical work, in poetry and prose, because I think of myself as a private person. So there was a tension between necessary truth-telling and privacy. Also, if one is writing about people one cares about, and one acknowledges that true stories can do harm to relationships, then writing and family are in tension too. Storytelling is an ethical act. I don’t have a formula for resolving these tensions, and I don’t think there is one, but these issues were never far from mind.”

Despite the challenges creative nonfiction presents, Estriech found that, “in writing nonfiction prose about Laura, [he] wanted to be, in a small way, an agent of change.” Estreich goes on to say, “I wanted to raise questions about what “normal” meant, and to raise the question of who counts in our society. More specifically, I wanted to oppose a complex and singular portrait of Down Syndrome to the generic, medically ratified portrait that most people know.”

Estreich’s memoir has received attention from both the medical and literary fields. He has spoken and presented excerpts of the novel at the Willamette Valley Down Syndrome Association, the Spring Creek Conference on Nature and the Sacred, and the World Down Syndrome Conference in Vancouver. Estreich remarked: “I don’t know what effect Shape has had, but I hope it’s been positive. I do know that the responses to the book so far have been very gratifying, from other parents and from medical professionals. I’ve spoken to a number of medical audiences, and am always glad to have the chance to answer questions and have the necessary conversations. In general, I’ve found an extraordinary amount of goodwill, which reflects the goodwill Laura seems to inspire in person. This isn’t to say that attitudes don’t have a long way to go, about Down Syndrome or disability in general. But as a writer and a father, I’ve been very happy with the response to my book so far.”

The Shape of the Eye is a finalist in the 2012 Oregon Book Award for creative nonfiction and has been nominated for a Reader’s Choice Award (you can vote online for the memoir here). You can read an excerpt from Shape of the Eye and find out more information on George Estreich’s webpage.

Announcing: Terese Svoboda’s New Novel

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In Issue 5, we had the privilege of interviewing Terese Svoboda, and in Issue 7 we were honored to publish her short story “Madonna in the Terminal.” Svoboda has written more than 11 books of poetry, fiction, translations, and short stories, among them Cannibal, Trailer Girl and Other Stories, Tin God, and Black Glasses Like Clark Kent, and she is the recipient of awards such as the Iowa Prize and the O. Henry Award. Now, she has added another item to her list of accomplishments, the novel Bohemian Girl.

Praise for Bohemian Girl:

“Harriet’s observations of the world and her small place in it are insightful and often touching. And Svoboda (Trailer Girl and Other Stories) often displays a poet’s touch with language and imagery.”—Publishers Weekly

“Creating a western world as raucous and unpredictable as any imagined by Larry McMurtry, and teeming with characters as tragically heroic as those created by Willa Cather, Svoboda offers a vividly distinctive tale of the American frontier.”—Carol Haggas, Booklist starred review

For more information on Bohemian Girl: http://www.nebraskapress.unl.edu/product/Bohemian-Girl,674858.aspx

Congratulations, Terese. We look forward to hearing more great things about you and your work.

 

Progress Update: Issue 6 Prepares for Launch

Superstition Review staff are preparing for the launch of Issue 6. With just 4 weeks left in our publication process, Section Editors will finish reading submissions, and our web designer will publish the content on the magazine’s webpage. We are still accepting submissions at http://superstitionreview.submishmash.com/Submit until October 31.

Our Nonfiction Editors have confirmed works from Paul Lisicky, Madeleine Blais and Ira Sukrungruang. Paul Lisicky has been published in Five Points, The Seattle Review and Brevity. His pieces Lighten Up, It’s Summer and The Queen of It will be published in Issue 6. Madeleine Blais worked for the Miami Herald from 1979-1987 and was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Feature Writing. Her nonfiction essay entitled Another Martini, Another Lobster will be featured in our upcoming issue. Ira Sukrungruang is the author of Talk Thai: The Adventures of Buddhist Boy; his nonfiction essay The Wide Open Mouth will be published in Issue 6 of Superstition Review.

As a reminder, the Superstition Review Reading Series is featuring Melissa Pritchard. The reading is on Monday, November 8 at 7 p.m. in the Memorial Union Pima Auditorium on the Tempe campus.

Meet the Interns: Michaela Stephens, Submissions Coordinator

Michaela Stephens is a senior majoring in Literature, Writing, and Film with a Creative Writing concentration.

Superstition Review: What is your position with Superstition Review and what are your responsibilities?

Michaela Stephens: I am the Submissions Coordinator. My job is to log in to our submissions and contributor spreadsheets information about…surprise, submissions and contributions! I post the work to the correct discussion board for the editors to read and then log their verdicts into the spreadsheet. I also notify submitters if their submissions did not conform to our guidelines. (Yes, I’m the bad guy who sends form letters.)

SR: How did you hear about Superstition Review and what made you decide to get involved?

MS: One of my coworkers in the Writing Center was interning with Superstition Review and she talked about what she was doing a fair amount. I decided I wanted to get involved because it sounded like it would be good experience and a very helpful addition to my resume. Also, I thought it might be very interesting.

SR: What are you hoping to take away from your Superstition Review experience?

MS: I want to take away a thorough knowledge of how the publishing world works and why things are done the way they are.

SR: Describe one of your favorite literary or artistic works.

MS: Only one? You want to ask a bibliophile to describe just one of her favorite literary works? Impossible! I cannot do it! I cannot choose only one!

Bible, Book of Mormon, Jane Austen, C. S. Lewis, L. M. Montgomery, Mark Twain, George Elliot, Orson Scott Card, etc.

SR: What are you currently reading?

MS: David Copperfield by Charles Dickens. I haven’t had enough exposure to Dickens.

SR: Who would be the Superstition Review contributor of your dreams?

MS: Orson Scott Card. His stories are very psychological, but also very accessible.

SR: Do you write or create art? What are you currently working on?

MS: For the last few years I’ve been predominately a writer, but I do have an artistic strain as well. I did pretty well in a sculpture class I took in Austin, Texas, and I still have a mask project hanging on my wall that I made for that.

Right now, I am working on a piece of genre fiction about a spoiled prince who has to marry someone from a specific town or he won’t inherit the kingdom.

SR: Besides interning for Superstition Review, how do you spend your time?

MS: Doing homework, working at the Polytechnic Writing Center, blogging, reading, reading, reading. Throw in weekly cub scout den meetings, a visit to the temple, church attendance, church choir, and you’ve gotten a picture of most of my time.

SR: What is your favorite mode of relaxation?

MS: Undoubtedly reading, but after sitting down at the computer all day it is hard to sit and read some more, so then I either go running or I go for a walk with my husband.

SR: Where do you see yourself in ten years?

MS: I see myself as a published author of several novels, and a professional organizer. If children don’t come. If children come, I’ll be a stay-at-home mom who scribbles away in the early morning hours.

Issue 4 of Superstition Review

We apologize for not announcing it on the blog sooner, but Issue 4 of Superstition Review is up and running!

Brought to you by Fall 2009’s 23 student interns through the B.A. program in Literature, Writing, and Film at the ASU Polytechnic campus, Superstition Review‘s fourth issue features excellent new work from established and emerging artists and writers.

In our Art section, we present work from Christopher Jagmin, Eric Penington, and José Bechara.

For Fiction, we have stories from Allen Kopp, Cary Holladay, Charlotte Holmes, Jen Knox, Juli Henshaw, Karen Brown, Kate Kostelnik, Leslie Epstein, Sherril Jaffe, Sudha Balagopal, and Vytatuas Malesh.

In Interviews, our interns speak with Carol Ann Bassett, Judith Halberstam, Leslie Epstein, Michael Martone, Robert Ekiss, Robin Hemley, Tania Katan, and Wanda Coleman.

We present Nonfiction essays from Anna Viadero, Carol Ann Bassett, Christine Steele, Jo Scott-Coe, Joseph Lombo, Rachel Yoder, Rick Steigelman, and Tania Katan.

Our Poetry section features poems from Aaron Fagan, Barbara Kingsolver, Billy Collins, Deborah Bogen, Emily Ferrara, James Kimbrell, Katherine Soniat, Kathleen Hellen, Keith Ekiss, Kelli Russell Agodon, Richard Bronson, Sarah J. Wangler, Stefanie Silva, and Timothy Liu.

Check it out and enjoy!