One of my first professors of poetry was Dr. Henry Quintero. While his lectures were full of intensity and a passion for what he did, it was how he ended his classes that taught me the most. While his students packed up their backpacks and filed out the door, Dr. Q would stand up and in that wonderful, warm, booming voice of his he would tell us to take care of ourselves because you are the most important piece of poetry you will write.
Dr. Quintero taught me that poetry is less of an art form, strict and unforgiving then it is an action. The actions we go through each day and the experiences that we share with other people in our lives. When reading poetry, I am looking for action and reaction. For a truly strong voice to jump out through the pages, making it impossible not to give that voice the space and attention it craves. Consider the work of Lorna Dee Cervantes, a proud Chicana whose works include “Emplumada” and “Sueño”. Cervantes knows how to use her actions to get the reader to pay attention, implementing line break and rhythm like just another tool in her toolbox. She writes about immigration and Chicano heritage but refuses to let her words stand alone. Her poetry is presented with action, purposeful line breaks and meaningful rhythmic and repeating phrases. These are some things that I read for in a poem for publication, mechanisms that work to expand the main idea and a speaker who is not afraid to use them. This is the poetry that brought me to creative writing; poems that speak through their actions and the people who read them.
Alyssa Lindsey is the poetry editor for issue 22. She is a Junior at Arizona State University. She is majoring in both creative writing and global health with a pre-health emphasis. After graduation, she plans to attend medical school and go on to work in pediatrics.
Today we are pleased to feature author Deborah Bogen as our Authors Talk series contributor. The topic of Deborah’s podcast, as she says, is “prose poems: the how and why of writing them.”
She confesses that after writing three books of “mostly lineated poems,” she took a break from poetry, or as she emphasizes “poetry took a break from me.” She describes her struggle to write a poem, saying that she “tried, but could not do it.” After a time spent writing novels, she states that “a strange thing happened: I was filled, and I do mean filled, with the urge to make new poems.” Due to her time writing in a novelistic style, she declares that she “quite naturally… fell into the world of prose poems.” She had previously enjoyed the style, but now, “the joy…was that I had a form, a box into which I could place… what I was noticing in what we call the world.” She closes by urging fellow poets to “have some fun [with prose poems],” and to “write a bunch.”
You can read Deborah’s poem, “This Poem May Be Read In Any Order,” in Issue 21 of Superstition Review.
Today we are excited to share news of past contributor Jessica Mehta. Jessica’s poem, “Summer in Lorraine,” has been recently featured in The Bookends Review. Click here to read the poem. Congratulations, Jessica!
Jessica’s poem, “Bars and Planets,” can be read in Issue 21 of Superstition Review here.
Today we are pleased to feature poet Ephraim Scott Sommers as our Authors Talk series contributor. In this brief interview, Ephraim discusses his life as a poet and as a singer/songwriter, and how each endeavor creatively informs the other.
While Ephraim grew up in a musical household, he said that he “didn’t really think about being in a band until I turned 18,” when he formed the group known as Siko with other musically inclined friends. He admits that he originally “was way far behind in his musicianship”, but that through years of dedication and hard work, he was able to “create something…from nothing” and craft many memorable experiences.
Speaking on the interrelationship of poetry and music, Ephraim states that “he came to lyricism and to poetry writing through music.” He elaborates that “what really drew me to poetry at first was the sound of words,” and that this inspired him to “try to tell stories in a musical way” through his pieces. In light of this, he expresses his interest in the lyric tradition of people like Dante and Virgil, who are “singing you a story” through their poetic work.
You can read another interview with Ephraim, “The Funeral Pyre of Poetry,” in Issue 19 of Superstition Review.
Today we are happy to share news of past contributor Sarah Carey. Sarah’s poem, “Before Landfall,” has been featured in SWWIM (Supporting Women Writers in Miami), and centers around hurricane Irma and the loss that followed.
Sarah’s poem, “Exotic Taste,” can be read in Issue 18 of Superstition Review.
Today we are pleased to feature author Bryn Gribben as our Authors Talk series contributor. The topic of Bryn’s podcast is “finding your voice.” She begins by saying that “Everything you do before you find your voice matters,” and, to demonstrate this truth, describes her own journey of discovery as a creative writer and poet.
In the beginning of her college experience, Bryn states that she “was more interested in learning than in creating.” However, after discovering that she “just wasn’t having enough fun,” she began to pursue the creation of poetry. She says that “the feedback I was getting at the time made it seem like I had to choose between two paths: the academic and the creative,” but as she continued to find her literary voice, she realized that she didn’t have to make a choice. She just, as she says, “had to find a different audience.” She emphasizes that nowadays, she is still “pulled constantly between those two modes of being,” the analytical and the creative; for, as she says, “both modes of being engage my best self.”
You can read Bryn’s essay, “Divorce Closet,” in Issue 21 of Superstition Review.
Today we are glad to announce that Sharanya Manivannan’s first novel, The Queen of Jasmine Country, is available for pre-order on Amazon India. According to the book’s synopsis, myths, dreams, desires, the timeless reality of the body and soul – in the midst of nature’s bounty – is at the essence of The Queen of Jasmine Country. This is the first novel in English about the celebrated 9th century Tamil poet Andal, who was known for her erotic devotional verses.
Four poems by Sharanya can be read in Issue 6 of Superstition Review here.