Authors Talk: Stan Sanvel Rubin

Today we are pleased to feature author Stan Sanvel Rubin as our Authors Talk series contributor. In this podcast, Stan discusses two of his poems, “Entre Des Etrangers” (the meaning of which is “Between Strangers”) and “Tickle.”

Stan states that these poems “weren’t written together, although they were written fairly close in time.” While he continues that these poems weren’t “meant to be paired,” he describes how each “holds the page in a similar way— that is, they have a similar visual weight.” Each poem also has 14 lines; which, Stan admits, is unique considering that he is “instinctively drawn to 13-line units.” He emphasizes the fact that “Tickle” is a single-sentence poem, while “Entre Des Etrangers” is broken up into several sentences, and that this structure serves to reflect the overall meaning of each piece. While Stan continues that these two poems “are not sonnets, and they’re not trying to be,” he describes how both poems are “examples of what lyric poetry is especially about— the creation of a sound body…what you might call the music of each poem.”

“Each poem has some connection to narrative,” Stan continues. While “Entre Des Etrangers” , he states, “has a kind of embedded story involving two strangers coming together….’Tickle’ has a narrative instance of a young boy having just caught a trout, and holding that trout in his hand.” While each poem differs in terms of plot, Stan declares that the significance of both pieces goes “beyond the particular actions of the participants of the poem,” and is “owned again by… the way sound and words can be put together and juxtaposed in somewhat complex ways.”

You can read Stan’s two poems, “Entre Des Etrangers” and “Tickle,” in Issue 19 of Superstition Review.

 

Contributor Update: Barbara Crooker

Barbara Crooker bio photoPast contributor Barbara Crooker was featured on The Writer’s Almanac with Garrison Keillor. Check out their site here, to read or listen to audio of the poem. In addition to the poem and reading, you the site features interviews with contributors. You can read Barbara’s interview here.

Three poems by Barbara Crooker appeared in issue 2 of Superstition Review. 

#ArtLitPhx: Gwendolyn Brooks Poetry Workshop at the Juneteenth Festival

We Jazz JuneThis Saturday June 17th is the annual Juneteenth Valley of the Sun Festival. The Juneteenth festival is a state holiday celebrating the end of slavery in the United States. This one day free festival will be held at Eastlake Park from 4-9PM and features guest speakers, art, music, dance, sporting events, and vendors.

We Jazz June will host a Gwendolyn Brooks workshop at the event from 4-6PM. In addition to the writers’ workshop, the event will hold a discussion about Brooks’ poems, and an in-depth look at the Golden Shovel poetic form.

You can RSVP to the event on Facebook here. And more information about the Juneteenth Festival can be found here.

Contributor Update: Kathleen Winter

Past contributor Kathleen Winter has been featured as the poet of the day for May 25th on Poetry Daily. Kathleen’s poem “Parthenon Marbles” was the featured poem and can be found here. Poetry Daily is a great source for contemporary poetry, check back daily for a seemingly endless supply of poems. Kathleen Winter Bio Picture

Her poem, “Dogs with Amber Eyes” was published by Superstition Review in issue 13, you can read that here. Congratulations Kathleen!

Authors Talk: Kate Fetherston

Kate Fetherston Bio PhotoToday we are pleased to feature author Kate Fetherston as our Authors Talk series contributor. Kate first discusses the poem “Particles, Waves, Hello, Goodbye” which was first published in Issue 18 of Superstition Review.

Kate speaks about her poetic process is similar to her artistic process. She is constantly searching for the balance between the “quotidian and the abstract.” Kate talks about the way that poetry is a compass and not a map for her. She reads from different poets to illustrate this point.

You can read Kate’s poem in issue 18 here. And click here for Kate’s website.

Guest Post, Patricia Caspers, Poetry: A Meal Served at the Table of Resistance

Poetry: A Meal Served at the Table of Resistance

Patricia Caspers headshot

 

 

 

On a recent Saturday morning seven of us sat around a table with steaming cups of tea and homemade blueberry muffins. Good friends, we spent a fair amount of time sharing our common despair over the current state of the U.S. government. We had come together to talk writing, but the two Ps – politics and poetry – seem to roll around each other like shards of broken glass in a swelling sea.

 

I do know English and, therefore, when hungry, can ask for more than minimum wage, pointing repeatedly at my mouth and yours. – Eileen Tabios [1]

 

We live in Northern California’s red towns. The conversation we had wouldn’t be welcome in other parts of our lives: at work, with our neighbors, with our families. The ability to speak freely felt like discovering a camellia tree pink as a valentine in bloom during a long, rainy winter.

12.what once passed for kindling

13.  fireworks at dawn

14. brilliant, shadow hued coral – Danez Smith[2]

 

As we finished up, gathered our bags and coats and headed out the door, I was filled with dread at the idea of going back out to a world where I look at everyone I meet and think, “Did you vote for this?” knowing that half of those people would say yes.

In the entryway, I said to my friend, “Time to return to the unsafe spaces.”

It wasn’t until later it occurred to me: I said these words to a woman who at one time was forced out of her home because she’s a lesbian. She’s been living in unsafe spaces for years.

 

For those of us
who were imprinted with fear
like a faint line in the center of our foreheads
learning to be afraid with our mother’s milk –
Audre Lorde[3]

 

As a white, able-bodied woman who’s married to a man, I’m not really experiencing unsafe spaces, other than the usual walk through a dark parking lot with my keys between my fingers. That’s nothing new.

Now, though, I am afraid – of what? – that someone will wear a “Make America Great Again” hat to our neighborhood block party, and we’ll no longer have conversations over the fence while pulling weeds? Yes. But what’s the worst that’s really going to happen at that party? I might feel compelled to turn in early for the night.

 

Someone asks 

if the black girl knows she has already been beaten, as if 

the black girl hasn’t always survived beatings. – Deonte Osayande[4]

 

It’s not on quite the same level as a black person who’s worried that the neighbors are white supremacists who feel they’ve been given the go-ahead to burn down homes because racism is now employed in the highest levels of government.

There’s nothing I am or wear that makes me a target.

And yet, every day feels like a long walk alone through a poorly lit garage.

 

I pay taxes and I am a child and
I grow into a bright fleshy fruit.
White bites: I stain the uniform.
I am thrown black type-
face in a headline with no name.
– Morgan Parker[5]

 

I’ve always been prone to bouts of inexplicable sadness, but since November there have been so many nights when, last to bed, falling asleep in the dark, I’ve wished I wouldn’t wake, and in the grayish numb dawn the heaviness clings to me, and I have to talk myself into an upright position.

 

Quit bothering with angels, I say. They’re no good for Indians.

Remember what happened last time

some white god came floating across the ocean – Natalie Diaz[6]

 

My conversation with myself begins this way:

If I die, someone else will raise my 9-year-old son, and she’ll let him watch rated-R movies and swig Monster energy drinks for breakfast.

If I die, my daughter will drop out of college, and unable to re-pay her student loans she’ll be forced to live on the streets.

 

Isiah is dead— or

Isiah is standing right in front of me,

he doesn’t even know what a bullet means.  – Sean Desvignes[7]

 

If I die, my husband will become an alcoholic, lose his job, lose the house.

No one will walk the dog and as a result he’ll bite people and have to be put down.

If I die, I won’t be here to see the glorious defeat of evil.

I want to see the glorious defeat of evil.

Finally, the fact that I choose whether or not I continue to live is my white privilege.

It’s highly unlikely that another person is going to take my life because of who I am, and I understand that there are so many who aren’t given the choice to stay alive.

 

for even after the dead, there are things to learn,
like reading, and maps, and minus one.
– Zeina Hashem Beck[8]

 

I’ve heard people from marginalized communities say again and again: You thought America was a safe space? That’s cute. Welcome to our reality: Educate yourself.

It’s fair.

 

No difference

if we don’t get along with each other

or speak perfect English—

you can’t help mixing us up –Amy Uyematsu[9]

 

And little by little, I am trying to educate myself, beginning with poetry.

A few kind people have pointed me in the right direction, some poets I have discovered on my own, and some I am reading anew.

It’s not perfect, this fragile understanding. It will never be perfect, but I keep reading, along with many other forms of resistance. Maybe it will help. Maybe it won’t. In any case, I don’t want my death to be a tiny white flag of surrender. If it comes to it, I want to die fighting this beast, a sword in one hand and a poem in the other.

 

Perhaps the world will end at the kitchen table, while we are laughing and crying,  

            eating of the last sweet bite. – Joy Harjo[10]

 

 

[1] “I Do,” Eileen Tabios, Poetry Foundation: https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems-and-poets/poems/detail/53813

[2] “alternate names for black boys,” Danez Smith, Buzz Feed: https://www.buzzfeed.com/danezsmith/not-an-elegy-for-mike-brown-two-poems-for-ferguson?utm_term=.owQXarYpp#.viXVe12oo

[3] “A Litany for Survival,” Audre Lorde, The Black Unicorn

[4] “Gradual Transformations,” Deonte Osayande, COG: https://www.cogzine.com/deonte-osayande

[5] “I Feel Most Colored When I Am Thrown Against a Sharp, White Background: An Elegy,” Morgan Parker, Apogee: http://apogeejournal.org/2014/08/27/i-feel-most-colored-when-i-am-thrown-against-a-sharp-white-background-an-elegy/

[6] “Abecedarian Requiring Further Examination of Anglican Seraphym Subjugation of Wild Indian Rezervation,” Natalie Diaz, When My Brother Was an Aztec

[7] “In Offense of Vision,” Sean Desvignes, PANK

[8] “The Invented Mothers,” Zeina Hashem Beck, Heart Online:

http://www.heartjournalonline.com/zeina/2015/6/6/two-poems-by-zeina-hashem-beck

[9] “Someone Is Trying to Warn You,” Amy Uyematsu, Nights of Fire, Nights of Rain

[10] “Perhaps the World Ends Here,” Joy Harjo, Poetry Foundation: https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems-and-poets/poems/detail/49622#poem

 

#ArtLitPhx: Ms. X’s Ocean by Elizabeth McNeil Book Release

Ms. XFour Chambers present’s their latest book release, a collection of poems entitled “Ms. X’s Ocean” by Elizabeth McNeil. THe event takes place Saturday, February 18th, 2017 at  7 pm  at the Hive 2222 N 16th St, Phoenix, AZ 85006. This event is free and open to the public. Parking is available along Cypress St. or surrounding neighborhoods. For more information visit their website or RSVP to the Facebook event. You can download a press release or the event flier. For a sneak preview, you can view a packet of sample poems.

Like Anne Sexton’s Transformations nearly half a century before her, Ms. X’s Ocean harbors a host mythical revisions—Daphne, Mary Magdalene, the mermaid, the fairytale haired girl—while presenting, in broader strokes, an allegory of contemporary femininity. Scouring the ground of trauma, Ms. X shape shifts her way through incest, rape, sexual abuse, and abortion. Ms. X endures with unflinching grimness, driven by the fact that she simply has to survive. With a masterful grasp of imagery and craft—ranging from the ragged grit of hard-boiled noir to the high, transfigurative lyric of an aboriginal dreamtime—McNeil creates a shattered looking-glass, its language sharp as shards, portraying a woman who, through the sheer determination of her self-authorship, through her re-immersion in pure mother earth, finds a way to fit the jagged pieces of herself back together, walking “unafraid at last / into the church of [her] beating heart.”

Elizabeth McNeil is an instructor in Languages and Cultures at Arizona State University. She also teaches memoir and poetry writing in the greater community, working with children, veterans, inmates, church groups, and writers over fifty. She has published numerous scholarly and creative works, including poetry in Hayden’s Ferry Review, Fourteen Hills, Flyway, and the Chaminade Literary Review, among other journals; the award-winning chapbook Why We Need to Come Home (Butte County Poetry Center & Press, 1988); a monograph, Trickster Discourse: Mediating Transformation for a New World (Lambert, 2010); and, as lead editor, two scholarly collections with Palgrave Macmillan, Sapphire’s Literary Breakthrough: Erotic Literacies, Feminist Pedagogies, Environmental Justice Perspectives (2012), nominated for the 2013 Association of American Colleges and Universities’ Frederic W. Ness Book Award for an outstanding book that “contributes to the understanding and improvement of liberal education,” and Mapping Queer Space(s) of Praxis and Pedagogy (Queer Studies in Education Series, 2017).