Contributor Update: Victor Lodato Waxes Romantic In The Times

Hey there dear readers! Superstition Review is back after a brief hiatus with more good news: past contributor Victor Lodato’s essay “When Your Greatest Romance Is a Friendship” has been published in The New York Times‘ “Modern Love” column. Lodato was featured in our Interview section of Issue 8 in an interview conducted by former intern Marie Lazaro. In addition to being a recipient of the PEN Center USA Award for fiction, Victor Lodato has also been the recipient of fellowships from the Guggenheim Institute as well as the National Endowment for the Arts.  His latest novel, “Edgar and Lucy” is out now from Macmillan, and can be found both online as well as at most major bookstores. Do yourself a favor and check out the essay here, and buy one (or two, or seven) copies of “Edgar and Lucy” here. Congratulations Victor, we couldn’t be happier to know you!

Read the essay and buy the book!

Victor Lodato, author of “When Your Greatest Romance Is a Friendship” and “Edgar and Lucy.”

s[r] Goodreads #FridayReads

Enjoy this recent review on our page from s[r] staff, Julie Matsen.

QuakertownQuakertown by Lee Martin

The unfortunately true story of an African American community’s upheaval in 1920s Texas focuses on the reactions of two quasi-fictional families, one white and one black, who are integral in the town’s shift toward further segregation and its fiery aftermath. Little Washington Jones, a talented gardener, has to adapt to changing attitudes towards people of color, making a life for himself in a white man’s world while trying to protect his daughter Camellia. Andrew Bell, a banker, tries to make life in nearby Denton more palatable for his fellow townspeople while taking care of his alcoholic wife Tibby and crippled son Kizer. When the demands become too great after a public shooting, both men have to choose between their families and the town they hold so dear. Their children must also live with the often-heartbreaking consequences of their own actions as well as those of their parents.

Though it may be billed as nonfiction, Lee Martin’s Quakertown reads as what it is–an engaging novel from a talented translator of the past.

You can read The Last Words of Boneheads and Fraidy Cats by Martin in s[r] Issue 8.

s[r] Goodreads #FridayReads

Superstition Review staff member Abner Porzio submitted his review of Dorianne Laux’s Facts About the Moon for our page in December.

FactsAboutTheMoonFacts About the Moon by Dorianne Laux

This is one of those books that can be read over and over again to reach the same or different understandings of how it feels to be alive. This fantastic collection of poems is one that has the potential to never cease to resonate with its readers. Readers can feel its charged energy. Without a doubt, this collection will continue again and again to be cherished. The body of shared experience can become part of the reader. Throughout Laux’s work, the question of purpose juxtaposes with desire. Human nature is made by Laux to be majestic, raw, visceral, and magical all at the same time. It’s rare if readers do not admire her title poem, “FACTS ABOUT THE MOON.”  Respect for Laux’s lines: “her eyes/ two craters, and then you can’t help it/ either, you know love when you see it,/ you can feel its lunar strength, its brutal pull,” this indefinable moment of realization is yet a written snapshot of the poet’s capability of capturing such emotional weight.

Yes, these poems are true to the characters and speaker on the page. For example, in Laux’s poem “THE IDEA OF HOUSEWORK,” she takes the banal activity of cleaning, of doing domestic chores and she renders this experience into the universal question of what’s the point. Laux’s poems become sort of facts of themselves, they can be seen as testaments of fully experienced realities.

Laux successfully poetizes exotic events worth preserving. The poem titled “MORNING SONG” shows the fresh glimpse of what a “sleep-repaired morning” entails, along with the subjective perception that is shown perfect for its causality, forged with aligned imagery: “that for each of use there is/ some small sound like an unseen bird or/ a red bike grinding along the gravel path/ that could wake us, and take us home.” Laux’s poems contain the most incredible imagery.

Some lines that I enjoyed:

“Why should the things of this world/ shine so? Tell me if you know.”

“This walk in the park is no/ walk in the park.”

“Even sinus infections and rusty rake tines sunk/ in rank earth near the shed.  Mushroom spores.”

“I never wondered. I read. Dark signs/ that crawled toward the edge of the page.”

Go on, he beseeches, Get going, but the lone elk/ stands her ground, their noses less than a yard apart./ One stubborn creature staring down another./ This is how I know the marriage will last.”

You can read Laux’s poem On The Edge in s[r] Issue 8.

SR Pod/Vod Series: Writer Lee Martin

Each Tuesday we feature audio or video of an SR Contributor reading their work. Today we’re proud to feature a podcast by Lee Martin.

Lee MartinLee Martin is the author of the novels, The Bright Forever, a finalist for the 2006 Pulitzer Prize in Fiction, River of Heaven, Quakertown, and Break the Skin. He has also published three memoirs, From Our House and Turning Bones, and Such a Life. His first book was the short story collection, The Least You Need To Know. He is the winner of the Mary McCarthy Prize in Short Fiction and fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Ohio Arts Council. He teaches in the MFA Program at The Ohio State University.

You can listen to the podcast on our iTunes Channel.

You can read along with the work in Superstition Review.

SR Pod/Vod Series: Writer Jill Christman

Each Tuesday we feature audio or video of an SR Contributor reading their work. Today we’re proud to feature a podcast by Jill Christman.

Jill ChristmanJill Christman’s memoir, Darkroom: A Family Exposure, won the AWP Award Series in Creative Nonfiction, was first published by the University of Georgia Press in 2002, and was reissued in paperback in Fall 2011. Recent essays appearing in River Teeth and Harpur Palate have been honored by Pushcart nominations and her writing has been published in Barrelhouse, Brevity, Descant, Literary Mama, Mississippi Review, Wondertime, and many other journals, magazines, and anthologies. She teaches creative nonfiction in Ashland University’s low-residency MFA program and at Ball State University in Muncie where she lives with her husband, writer Mark Neely, and their two children.

You can listen to the podcast on our iTunes Channel.

You can read along with the work in Superstition Review.

SR Pod/Vod Series: Writer Eric Maroney

Each Tuesday we feature audio or video of an SR Contributor reading their work. Today we’re proud to feature a podcast by Eric Maroney.

Eric MaroneyEric Maroney is the author of two books of non-fiction, Religious Syncretism (2006) and The Other Zions (2010).  His fiction has appeared in Our Stories, The MacGuffin, ARCH, Segue, The Literary Review, Eclectica, The Montreal Review, Pif, Forge, Per Contra, Stickman Review, Samizdat, and Jewish Fiction. His non-fiction has appeared in the Encyclopedia of Identity and The Montreal Review. His story The Incorrupt Body of Carlo Busso was the runner up for the 2011 Million Writers Award. He has an MA from Boston University, and lives in Ithaca New York with his wife and two children.  He is currently at work on a novel called The Land Before You.

You can listen to the podcast on our iTunes Channel.

You can read along with the work in Superstition Review.

s[r] Goodreads #FridayReads

Here are a couple of reviews by April Hanks, a member of s[r]’s advertising staff.

This Is Not Your CityThis Is Not Your City by Caitlin Horrocks

From the woman who is able to recall her past lives to the couple on a cruise that is overtaken by pirates, Caitlin Horrocks’ debut collection of short stories takes the reader around the world and into the lives of eleven unique women. In This is Not Your City, Horrocks is able to accurately and realistically present people and situations that are extremely different while still creating an engaging and cohesive collection.

Although Horrocks deals with difficult topics such as death, a ticking biological clock, and a severe disability, the stories do not feel forced or cheesy. Instead, the emotion is powerful and realistic. Most of Horrocks’ stories do not have a happy, satisfying conclusion. But like life, they are left open ended. She explores both the lives of people who have been victimized and those who have been the victimizers. Because of this, it is difficult to read at times; several of the stories, such as “Steal Small”, will make you feel uncomfortable, but in the best way possible.

The last two stories, “This is Not Your City” and “In the Gulf of Aden, Past the Cape of Guardafui”, particularly stood out. However, the two stories are vastly different. The first of these, about a Russian mail-order bride, explores what it means to find identity in an environment you are not used to. The story is engaging but still manages to convey complex emotions. The second of these stories, “In the Gulf of Aden, Past the Cape of Guardafui”, is the story of a couple who go on a cruise as a vacation away from their severely disabled son. However, the cruise ship is overtaken by pirates. During the wait for a settlement with the pirates, the reader learns about the intricacy of the couple’s life. Despite their differences, both stories use plot to reveal deeper complexities.

Overall, Horrocks has crafted a beautiful collection that accurately reflects life and the emotions that stem from it. The powerful and descriptive writing highlights her abilities as a writer. She is able to draw you into the stories and make you care about the characters in them. This is Not Your City is not collection you will soon forget.

You can read the s[r] interview with Caitlin Horrocks in Issue 9, where we talk with her about This Is Not Your City.


Anything GoesAnything Goes by Madison Smartt Bell

Madison Smartt Bell’s thirteenth novel, Anything Goes, follows a year in the life of protagonist Jesse Melungeon. Jesse is the bass player for a cover band called Anything Goes. While the novel deals with the struggles of the band to stay afloat it also reveals Jesse’s complicated family history. Throughout its plot, the novel deals with complex issues such as race, abuse, and addiction.

Bell ingeniously develops Jesse’s character throughout the novel. Over time, Jesse becomes a more dynamic and round character. Although you learn Jesse’s history fairly early, his feelings about it are revealed slowly throughout the book. Not only does his characterization develop, but so do his relationships. Those that seem relatively simple at first are shown to be much more complex. Both the characters and relationships in the novel are complicated and realistic, greatly adding to its overall impact.

As Jesse says in Anything Goes, “there would always be people who actually were drawn to your wounds more than to you.” The characters in the novel are wounded in different ways. They deal with complicated family drama, brushes with the law, conflicts of interest, and various other problems. Although these issues are nothing new to literature, they do not seem cliché in the book. Bell is able to write wounded characters and explain them in a way that is meaningful.

One of the most interesting aspects of the book is the music theory that is incorporated throughout. The musical aspects of Anything Goes only add to the novel. Whether or not you know music theory, it feels like you can almost hear the songs playing in your head.

Bell displays extensive research in this novel. Overall, Anything Goes is a well-written and engaging novel that uses plot to explore emotion. The characters and relationships are realistic and interesting. You won’t want to put this book down.

s[r] interviewed Madison Smartt Bell in Issue 8, you can read that interview here.

Check out more s[r] reviews on our Goodreads page.