Authors Talk: Paisley Rekdal

Paisley Rekdal

Today we are pleased to feature Paisley Rekdal as our Authors Talk series contributor. In her discussion with fellow poet and classicist Kimberly Johnson, she takes the opportunity to talk about working with classical literature, the complexities of language and translation, women as translators of the classics, and the themes of the classical writings which the two have used as inspiration for their own work. They discuss mainly Paisley’s work with Ovid’s Metamorphoses and Kimberly’s translation of Virgil’s The Georgics and how they have found inspiration in these classical poetic texts. And with their work, they’ve become “steeped in an ancient idiom” which has influenced their own poetic style and translation methods.

Paisley speaks to her own journey in contemporizing Ovid’s myths in her book of poetry Nightingale which is to be released in May. She notes that one of the trials of her work was finding how to “contemporize the myths without becoming a slave to just retelling them” and how she wanted to try “translating images of power” and “structures of change” that exist within the myths into her own poetry. She details the struggles and trials she faced in her work with the text and more.

They also take time to discuss the trials of translation of the classics and Kimberly’s work with Georgics. Kimberly notes that she “lives the world in lines” as a translator and poet, wanting to preserve the experience of the original poem. She and Paisley “reside in that complexity of language” which is inherent to poetry as an expressive art. Their extensive interest and creative engagement with the classics also helps them speak to modern topic of women working in classical translation and the appeal of the classical myths to a modern audience. For them, “the classics holler out to us from a period of imagined stability” and the themes and unique stories of those works are particularly attractive to modern readers. To hear more about the intricacies of their creative processes and their perspectives on the classics, please take the time to listen to this fascinating podcast.

You can read our interview with Paisley in Issue 19 of Superstition Review.

Contributor Update, Sarah Wetzel: The Davids inside David

Today we are happy to announce the news of past contributor Sarah Wetzel! Sarah’s newest poetry collection, titled The Davids inside David, was published on March 15th by Terrapin Books. According to Marcela Sulak, another past contributor, “This is a memoir of a woman who moves through art as through the world, who moves through the world as through an ever changeful museum of art.” Sarah will be attending and conducting a few events, leading up to the official book launch on May 29th.

More information about the poetry collection can be found here, more of Sarah’s poetry can be found in S[r]’s Issue 11 and Issue 14.

Congratulations Sarah!

#ArtLitPhx: New Voices Live Reading

Date: April 5th, 2019

Time: 4PM

Location: Trans Am PHX, 1506 Grand Ave, Phoenix, AZ 850007

Event Details:

Join us for a night of live readings from the Phoenix College Creative Writing Department. New Voices will feature student and faculty reading their poems, short fiction, and brief non-fiction pieces before a live audience.

If you’re a Phoenix College student and would like to read, please submit your piece to josiah.kilduff@phoenixcollege.edu before March 30th.

This reading is hosted at Trans Am PHX in the Grand Ave Arts District.

Contributor Update, Nicole Sealy: Princeton Fellowship

We are happy to announce the news of past contributor Nicole Sealey! Nicole has been selected as one of the five creatives chosen to be a Mackall Gwinn Hodder Fellow (2019-2020) at the Lewis Center for the Arts at Princeton University. An award-winning poet, Nicole has had poems published or recognized by The New York Times, The Paris Review, NPR, etc. While a fellow at the Lewis Center, Nicole has committed to tackling the erasure of the Ferguson report by the United States Department of Justice and will also engage with the Princeton and literary communities through lectures, readings and other events.

Our interview with Nicole from Issue 21 can be found here, and more information about her two poetry collections and awards can be found here.

Congratulations Nicole!

Contributor Update, F. Daniel Rzicznek: Settlers

Today we are happy to share the news of past contributor F. Daniel Rzicznek! Daniel has just announced his third poetry collection titled “Settlers.” The collection is available now and Paul will be reading and signing copies at the Portland AWP Conference. Stop by and say hello to Paul and S[r] staff at our table! The collection is centered around the landscape of the American Midwest, and the conflict of ease and resistance in the process of settling.

 

More information about the collection can be found here from Parlor Press, his poem Wiggle Room can be found published in our 22nd Issue here.

 

Congratulations Daniel!

 

Guest Blog Post, John Walser: In Praise of Not Knowing

Courtesy of the contributor, John K Walser“We are hungry for the secret news about life.” – Stanley Kunitz

As writers, as readers of poetry and prose and drama, we are, more or less, hungry for mystery and surprise, hungry for understanding that is not washed in the dust of everyday living.  We are hungry for the secret news about life.

Like the mythmakers before us, who were trying to ground a belief system and initiate people into society through the use of story and poem and play, we too are hungry to explore who we are, why we are here, the purposes of living and dying, our places in the worlds of space and of time, what love is.  Unlike the mythmakers before us, though, as we deal with these existential realities, we know that we don’t have the answers; we know that we don’t know any secrets besides our own; and we know that most of those are still secret from us even after we have spent our lives searching for them.

Because of this, because the human mind cannot be easily explained, the creation of art, as well as art itself, is unpredictable.  Sure, we can break down the processes of the brain to synapses firing and axons stimulating and all that electrochemical junk (scientific terminology there), but the mysteries of the mind, of its processes of creation, of why we have certain thoughts and why certain people can produce new cuisines, or a starry night on canvas, or a little night music, or a midsummer night’s dream is beyond us.  In fact, that it is beyond us is the very thing that gives art in any form its power; that they had not thought of it in quite that way themselves but they make the connection the artist created nonetheless is what makes an audience say, “Yes.”

Where scientists create narratives of the brain – big bangs and quantum mechanics, electron transfers, and quarks – explainable, empirical, and, they hope, synchronic – we writers are doing something equally important, creating verities of the mind – a man who turns into a domed beetle, a woman weighted down by her waterlogged dress and sinking below the surface of a clear stream growing murky, a catalog of unabashed gratitude – each one a little mysterious yet still familiar, each one individual yet understandable.  

Writing (like any art) in its own peculiar way holds up mystery in order to be confirmed; it holds up proof in order to show the question mark.  Art is natural science, history, philosophy, psychology, theology, experience and enigma pressed into a superball, but one with a big chunk missing from it.  And that superball is bounced in a child’s room, with unheard of abandon, and with all of the crazy spin that missing chunk causes and that child can muster. Where it ends up – under the bed, crashing into the lampshade, hidden among the toys, lodged between the wall and the dresser, simply gone until it strangely, magically reappears months later in a shoe that had already been checked – is anyone’s guess.

Art is all of this.  Writing is all of this.  And here is the most wonderful thing about it: it always fails to satisfy our hunger completely.  

And this, for me, is where the joyful pain (the painful joy) of writing lies.  

Whenever I sit down at my desk, I’m hungry for words; I’m hungry for understanding – even though I know that they’re not completely available to me, that they are in a sense beyond.  I believe in the pursuit of words, in asking questions, in exploring the ambiguity and complexity of being human. I feed my insatiable hunger for language as I write: for sound and sense, for rhyme and reason, for glee.  I write, and I know that I’m writing from and within my own ignorance and toward my own failures, my inability to know it and to say it exactly the way I want to say it, whatever it is.  

Wordsworth said, famously, that the process of writing poetry is “the spontaneous overflow of emotion recollected in tranquility.”  For me, though, it is the spontaneous overflow of emotion recollected in anxiety and uncertainty, in pain-behind-the-eye head-thumping mistake-riddled frustration, and finally (every once in a while) in satisfaction and thus something that resembles tranquility (until I of course work on the next poem, or until a month or two or a year down the road I of course see something in my finished poem I don’t like.)  

Feeling comfortable in this unsure process, having the techniques learned, then letting both go, letting the unanticipated, the newness take over, in a sense, feeling lost, that is what gets me moving toward something.  As I write, it is right for me to feel lost. Because that spurs discovery. The great guitarist from the band King Crimson Robert Fripp once said, “The key characteristic of mastery is the assumption of innocence within the context of experience….If you walk out on stage not knowing what you are going to do, you might just do it, but not as a novice, where you really don’t know what you are doing.  The master has integrated all of the skill set of a professional and then throws it away. Or assumes the innocence.”

So…

Planning, practice, patience, passion, concentration, discarding, perseverance, worry, wonder, confusion, ignorance combine to move something forward toward artistry and someone forward toward mastery.  I know I must approach my work with arrogance and humility. We know this. When we create art, we want our god hand to shine like yellow fondant-drape sunlight on the steeple, on the whole cathedral of our creation; we think that we can satisfy that hunger for knowing and saying, but the closer we get to art, the more we appreciate what we cannot do and what we must push ourselves to become.  

And for me, more and more, what I cannot do yet (and may never be able to do) and what I must push myself to become (yet may never become) are the true gifts, the ones that keep my hunger gnawing.

Contributor Update, Patricia Colleen Murphy: Bully Love

Today we are thrilled to announce the news of Superstition Review’s founding editor Patricia Colleen Murphy. Patricia’s poetry collection titled Bully Love will be published April 1st, 2019 and is currently available for preorder. Bully Love is a journey of displacement and an education in human and natural relationships. The collection has previously won the 2019 Press 53 Award for poetry and is a Tom Lombardo Poetry Selection.

The collection is available for preorder here.

Congratulations Patricia!

#ArtLitPhx: Blooming Chicanx Identities: A Bilingual Poetry Reading

artlitphx

Date: Friday, February 15, 2019

Time: 3:00pm – 5:00pm

Location: Coor 184, 976 S. Forest Mall, Tempe, AZ 85281

Event Details:

A bilingual poetry reading by Gabriella Gutiérrez y Muhs from Seattle University (modern languages, and women and gender studies).

 

#ArtLitPhx: Storyline Slam: “Crushing It!”

artlitphx

Date: February 15, 2019
Time: 7:00pm – 9:00pm
Location: Changing Hands Phoenix, 300 West Camelback Road, Phoenix, AZ 85013
Cost: TICKET (admits one) is $6 in advance, $8 on event day/at the door of Changing Hands Phoenix.

Get tickets here.

Event Description:
10 STORYTELLERS. 6 MINUTES. 1 WINNER

Ten tellers will have 6 minutes each to share a story based on the theme “Crushing It!”

Sign up on TheStoryline.org January 19th through Saturday, February 9th to tell a story. Eight names will be drawn on Sunday, February 10th and posted on the TheStoryline.org SLAM lineup page. Two more names will be drawn live at the beginning of the show.

Five members of the audience will be the judges and the story with the most points at the end of the show receives a $30 cash prize.

Learn more about the event here.

ABOUT THE COLLECTIVE
THE STORYLINE SLAM is a monthly slam competition hosted by Dan Hoen Hull and Joy Young aimed to further storytelling in The Valley and foster a spirit of fun in the community.

#ArtLitPhx: POETRY WORKSHOP – Merle Nudelman: “Ekphrasis Poetry”

artlitphx

Date: February 12, 2019
Time: 6:30pm – 8:30pm
Location: Changing Hands Tempe, 6428 South McClintock Drive, Tempe, AZ 85283
Cost: $25+

Register for the event here.

Event Description:
Poet Merle Nudelman hosts a creative writing workshop on ekphrasis poetry.

Ekphrastic poems are written in response to works of art and engage with the subject piece. Ekphrasis dates back to Homer’s description of Achilles’ shield in the Iliad. For the past eleven years Merle Nudelman has been part of a collaboration between the Long Dash Poetry Group and studio artists of the Women’s Art Association of Canada. Many of the poems in Merle’s most recent collection, The Seeker Ascends, were born of this artistic exploration. The Seeker Ascends follows the poet’s emotional and spiritual journey during and after her son’s arduous battle with cancer. The Seeker Ascends is a meditation on strength, survival, healing, and love.

Merle Nudelman will discuss the process of crafting ekphrastic poems. She will illustrate this literary form with some of her own ekphrastic poetry from The Seeker Ascends accompanied by the paintings that inspired these poems. Participants in this workshop will have the opportunity to experience this creative process directly by writing their own ekphrastic poems in dialogue with original paintings that will be displayed. Participants will also have the option of sharing their poems with the group.

WORKSHOP DETAILS
Cost: $25 + fees.
Refunds will not be issued within one day of the event.
Bring pen/pencil and a notebook.

ABOUT THE HOST
Merle Nudelman is a poet, essayist, memoirist, educator, and lawyer. She has written five books of poetry ̶ most recently The Seeker Ascends. Merle’s first collection, Borrowed Light, won the 2004 Canadian Jewish Book Award for Poetry and a prize in the Arizona Authors Association 2004 Literary Contest. Merle’s prize-winning poems appear in literary journals, zines, and anthologies in Canada and in the United States and her essays have been included in academic texts. Merle teaches memoir and poetry writing and gives workshops on healing through writing. For the past eleven years Merle has been part of a collaboration between the Long Dash Poetry Group and studio artists of the Women’s Art Association of Canada. Many of the poems in Merle’s most recent collection, The Seeker Ascends, were born of this artistic exploration.