Contributor Update, Hannah Brown: ‘Look After Her’

Today we are happy to announce the news of past SR fiction contributor Hannah Brown. Hannah’s debut novel, Look After Her, published by Inanna Publications, is now available for preorder. The novel takes place in the 1930s and follows two young Jewish sisters through the betrayal of a family friend, captivity, addiction, and danger. 

“With the background of anti-Semitism and exploitation, of sex and love and art and dramatic ruses, all during the terrifying rise of fascism in Austria and Italy, Look After Her reveals this truth: no matter how close we are to another human being, even a beloved sister, that’s what we are: close—we all have our own secrets to keep.” 

Next year, in September 2020, Inanna Publications will also publish a collection of her interlinked short stories, including “On Any Windy Day,” which appeared in SR’s Issue 15.

More information about Hannah and her forthcoming novel can be found here. You can find her fiction piece, “On Any Windy Day,” from Issue 15 here.

Congratulations, Hannah!

Contributor Update, Elizabeth Searle: ‘Four-Sided’ Film Screening

Join us in congratulating SR fiction contributor Elizabeth Searle. Massachusetts Independent Film Festival accepted Elizabeth’s short film, “Four-Sided,” based on her critically acclaimed novel, A Four-Sided Bed, for this September’s festival. Directed by Vittoria Colonna, the film stars transgender Rain Valdez and explores the dynamics between four lovers who each react differently when it comes to accepting their sexual identities and desires. The film screening will take place in Arlington’s Regent Theater on September 7.

To read more about Elizabeth’s book and the upcoming film, click here. You can find her story from SR Issue 3 here.

Congratulation, Elizabeth!

#ArtLitPhx: ‘Aladdin’ by Rhythm Dance Company

Rhythm Dance Company presents: Aladdin, Ek Anokhi Prem Kahani—A unique love story

Enjoy a Bollywood musical presented by Rhythm Dance Company production team that shares the classic love story of Aladdin and Jasmine in the good old city of Agrabah. The Bollywood dancers promise an extraordinarily colorful and extravagant event that is sure to impress!

EVENT INFORMATION

Date: Saturday, August 24

Time: 5 p.m.

Location: Tempe Center for the Arts, 700 W. Rio Salado Pkwy.

For more information, click here.

Guest Post, Dara Elerath: Going by Way of the Unknown

Writing poetry requires us to get away from the rote maps of meaning we follow in our daily lives and enter our imaginations. There are many ways of doing this, but one of the most helpful I’ve found is to focus on a subject I am not particularly knowledgeable about and have little to no emotional stake in. I don’t mean areas of expertise that are not my own, like cellular biology, beekeeping or astrophysics. I mean small things: words or objects I encounter that do not appear to carry great weight or significance. Certain objects, like knives, are so laden with symbolism that it seems almost impossible to approach them without invoking particular narratives; however, other, less freighted objects retain their mystery because they’re often overlooked. They exist in shadows—dropped under one’s desk, forgotten in a drawer or hidden beneath a pile of papers. An eraser, for example, is a small, functional piece of rubber that we’ve all likely interacted with on numerous occasions, but have probably never had reason to give much thought to. It embodies the concept of erasure, of course, but erasure on a small scale. I think of times I used one as a child—when trying to learn cursive, or when sketching figures in a notebook; otherwise, the object is not associated with any moment of great importance in my life. For me, these things make it an ideal starting point for a poem.

This brings me to the approach I took when writing “Oriflamme.” Instead of an object, I began with a word I did not know the meaning of (it was not oriflamme, incidentally, but another word with similar qualities). I chose it because it was not associated with any crucial stories or memories in my life; it was merely a series of syllables that pleased my ear. Granted, there may have been certain ideas the sound evoked, or echoes of other words that informed my thinking, but, on the whole, it was a sealed box I had to open by way of language. Knowing only the music of the syllables I was compelled to use my sonic imagination; instead of following a particular narrative thread, I imagined possible definitions of the word by following the syntax of the language and the sounds of the words, looking for rhymes, slant rhymes and patterns that might guide me towards meaning. I used this same approach when writing “{ }”; taking a mathematical symbol I had little knowledge of, I began to make associations with it visually. Over time I’ve come to realize that the more my sonic or visual imagination is engaged, the more elastic my thoughts grow; at such moments the language of metaphor and figuration comes to me naturally. 

Our minds want to make meaning; they want to recite, over and over, the particular myths and stories that constitute the logic of our lives. If we write expressively and choose a conduit through which to channel this poetic thought—be it a crumb, a pair of hands, or a beetle—these stories will begin to manifest themselves. The key thing is to surprise ourselves, and this is most possible when what we’re describing is somewhat unknown to us. Chances are that the image or sound will trigger some associated thoughts that, if we follow them deftly, will guide us down towards deeper meaning. There is also the fact that we experience these everyday things—an eraser, an orange, a word—tactilely and intimately, by the way an eraser feels in our palms, the way an orange smells and tastes, or the way letters look as our eyes move across them on the page. We can use these simple, physical facts to anchor our writing in reality and sensory detail. These objects and words (if we are speaking of words with definitions we choose to remain ignorant of) can have as much or as little meaning as we elect to ascribe to them, whereas the subject of one’s parents or other high-stakes topics come with expectations that we may be inclined to lean into. Often, the sentiments and ideas that emerge when I write about subjects of known importance tend towards the cliché, as though I’m merely reflecting back the many stories about birthdays, death, pet dogs, and so on, that I’ve heard or seen over the years, instead of discovering anything new about myself. 

Going by way of my own unknowing (innocence with regards to the self might be another way of thinking about it) is certainly not the only way to approach poetry, but it helps me to overcome the cultural and personal maps of reality that I’m used to orienting myself by. It allows me to become disoriented, to discover the secret mythologies that my psyche is always trying to find a way to speak. Because the self is small and the heart is vulnerable, the smaller, more vulnerable and lesser known objects (in my experience) often make the best conduits through which to pull the weight of the tender and diffident psyche.

#ArtLitPhx: Long and Short of It

Long and Short of It Book Club is a new bimonthly club that explores one book and one story collection connected by a theme.

Tonight the group discusses The Gone Dead and The Man Who Shot My Eye Out is Dead, both by Chanelle Benz. The Gone Dead is a debut novel about a young woman who returns to her childhood home in the American South and uncovers secrets about her father’s life and death. The Man Who Shot My Eye Out is Dead is a debut collection about lives across history marked by violence and longing.

Stop by Changing Hands Phoenix or Tempe (or order online by clicking “add to cart” below) to get your copies of The Gone Dead for 20% OFF and The Man Who Shot My Eye Out is Dead for 10% OFF.

Then meet fellow book lovers at First Draft Book Bar to discuss the pick.

FREE PARKING / LIGHT RAIL

  • Don’t want to drive? Take the Light Rail! It lets off at the Central Avenue/Camelback Park-and-Ride, which has hundreds of free parking spaces across the street from Changing Hands.


About The Gone Dead:
Billie James’ inheritance isn’t much: a little money and a shack in the Mississippi Delta. The house once belonged to her father, a renowned black poet who died unexpectedly when Billie was four years old. Though Billie was there when the accident happened, she has no memory of that day—and she hasn’t been back to the South since.


Billie James’ inheritance isn’t much: a little money and a shack in the Mississippi Delta. The house once belonged to her father, a renowned black poet who died unexpectedly when Billie was four years old. Though Billie was there when the accident happened, she has no memory of that day—and she hasn’t been back to the South since.

Thirty years later, Billie returns but her father’s home is unnervingly secluded: her only neighbors are the McGees, the family whose history has been entangled with hers since the days of slavery. As Billie encounters the locals, she hears a strange rumor: that she herself went missing on the day her father died. As the mystery intensifies, she finds out that this forgotten piece of her past could put her in danger.

Inventive, gritty, and openhearted, The Gone Dead is an astonishing debut novel about race, justice, and memory that lays bare the long-concealed wounds of a family and a country.


About The Man Who Shot Out My Eye Is Dead:
A brother and sister turn outlaw in a wild and brutal landscape. The daughter of a diplomat disappears and resurfaces across the world as a deadly woman of many names. A young Philadelphia boy struggles with the contradictions of privilege, violence, and the sway of an incarcerated father. A monk in sixteenth century England suffers the dissolution of his monastery and the loss of all that he held sacred.

The characters in The Man Who Shot Out My Eye Is Dead, Benz’s wildly imaginative debut, are as varied as any in recent literature, but they share a thirst for adventure which sends them rushing full-tilt toward the moral crossroads, becoming victims and perpetrators along the way. Riveting, visceral, and heartbreaking, Benz’s stories of identity, abandonment, and fierce love come together in a daring, arresting vision.

EVENT INFORMATION

Location: Changing Hands Bookstore, 300 W. Camelback Rd., Phoenix 

Date: Tuesday, August 20

Time: 7 p.m.

For more information about the event, click here.

#ArtLitPhx: Found in Translation Meeting

This month Changing Hands will discuss China Dream by Ma Jian, translated by Flora Drew.

Whether you’re a seasoned traveler, a voracious reader, or a dreamer who wants to see the world, all are invited to our newest book club focused on international literature. Sometimes visiting other countries doesn’t always give travelers an insider’s view into foreign cultures; sometimes we are still too outside, too different, to get at the heart of a place. Often the best way to understand distant lands and peoples is to read their literature, to get inside the head of a foreign author, to hear their myths and fairy tales molded around words they penned in their mother tongue.

In Found in Translation, you will delve into a work of international literature in a small group setting while enjoying coffee, beer, or wine drinks from First Draft Book Bar, located in Changing Hands Phoenix.

Stop by Changing Hands Phoenix or Tempe (or order online by clicking “add to cart” below) to get your copy of China Dream for 20% OFF.

Then meet us at First Draft Book Bar to discuss the pick and enjoy happy hour prices all through the event.

FREE PARKING / LIGHT RAIL

  • Don’t want to drive? Take the Light Rail! It lets off at the Central Avenue/Camelback Park-and-Ride, which has hundreds of free parking spaces across the street from Changing Hands.

ABOUT THE BOOK 
Blending fact and fiction, China Dream is an unflinching satire of totalitarianism. Ma Daode, a corrupt and lecherous party official, is feeling pleased with himself. He has an impressive office, three properties, and multiple mistresses who text him day and night. After decades of loyal service, he has been appointed director of the China Dream Bureau, charged with replacing people’s private dreams with President Xi Jinping’s great China Dream of national rejuvenation. But just as he is about to present his plan for a mass golden wedding anniversary celebration, his sanity begins to unravel. Suddenly plagued by flashbacks of the Cultural Revolution, Ma Daode’s nightmare visions from the past threaten to destroy his dream of a glorious future.

This darkly comic fable exposes the damage inflicted on a nation’s soul when authoritarian regimes, driven by an insatiable hunger for power, seek to erase memory, rewrite history, and falsify the truth. It is a dystopian vision of repression, violence, and state-imposed amnesia that is set not in the future, but in China today.

EVENT INFORMATION

Location: Changing Hands Bookstore, 300 W. Camelback Rd., Phoenix 

Date: Wednesday, August 14

Time: 7 p.m.

For more information about the event, click here.

Contributor Update, Caitlin Horrocks: ‘The Vexations’

Join us in congratulating SR interview contributor Caitlin Horrocks. Caitlin’s debut novel, The Vexations, published by Little, Brown and Company, is available for purchase. Caitlin has been named “wildly entertaining” (San Fransisco Chronicle), “startlingly ingenious (Boston Globe), and “impressively sharp” (New York Times Book Review).

The book follows the life of eccentric composer Erik Satie, who dives into the Parisian art scene after the early death of his mother and his father’s breakdown. As time passes, Erik finds himself lashing out against his close friends and alienating himself, an artist who strived for greatness but only achieved notoriety. It’s up to Erik’s siblings—Louise and Conrad—to hold the family together and maintain faith in their brother’s talent.

To read more about Caitlin and her novel, click here. You can find her interview from SR’s Issue 9 here.

Congratulations, Caitlin!

Contributor Update, Cathy Ulrich: ‘Ghosts of You’

Today we are happy to announce the news of past contributor Cathy Ulrich! Cathy’s new book titled Ghosts of You is available for preorder and is soon to be published this October. Ghosts of You is a collection of stories that examines the tropes of mystery and crime storytelling where the plot always begins with the body of a murdered woman.

More information about Cathy and her book can be found here. You can find her work, “In the Crowded Spaces,” in Issue 18 of Superstition Review.

Congratulations, Cathy!

#ArtLitPhx: Heather Hillenbrand’s ‘A Girl’s Magic’

Join author Heather Hillenbrand for a book launch party in Phoenix. A Girl’s Magic is an empowering approach to educating girls about menstruation, puberty, and sex.

Parents will be guided on how to open those tough conversations with colorful symbolism, images, and poetry that help young girls gain a deeper understanding of what it is to be a girl. This book helps parents prepare daughters for physical changes, teach about menstruation from an age-appropriate creative perspective, inspire confidence about natural body development, and empower girls to feel magical.

Created to look like a children’s book, A Girl’s Magic is designed to keep young audiences engaged with this challenging topic. A parent guide in the back of the book offers a language for dialogue as well as other resources to support conscious parenting choices in our ever-changing world.

Please note: This event is primarily for adults.

PARKING / LIGHT RAIL

  • Don’t want to drive? Take the Light Rail! It lets off at the Central Avenue/Camelback Park-and-Ride, which has hundreds of free parking spaces across the street from Changing Hands.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR 
While studying and working in spiritual sexuality, Heather Hillenbrand was inspired to create this book. She offers workshops and coaching for women and parents to be able to tackle this challenging area. Heather is working toward certification as a Sex Educator through the American Association for Sex Educators, Therapists and Counselors (AASECT). She has also been accepted to and will complete the Human Sexuality Certificate through the University of Minnesota in Spring 2020. Heather resides in Phoenix with her sweet cat.

EVENT INFORMATION

Location: Changing Hands Bookstore, 300 W. Camelback Rd., Phoenix 

Date: Saturday, August 10

Time: 5:30 p.m.

For more information about the event, click here.

#ArtLitPhx: Come to the Table

Come to the Table Opening Reception: August 31 at 2:00 PM

Curated by Leela Denver in collaboration with Wren Awry, with additional curation by Dr. Laura Vázquez Blázquez.

Come to the Table presents work about, inspired by, and in conversation with food. This exhibit explores the many forms of food poems that exist while also asking “what can a food poem be?” Organized by four fundamental stages of a food experience—growing, sourcing, cooking, and eating, with a highlight of food culture along the US-Mexican border—this exhibit explores the various ways poetry uses food and food uses poetry. Come to the table and join us for an interactive exhibit where you can explore the world of food poetry and share your own with us.  

Exhibitions are displayed in the Jeremy Ingalls Gallery of the Poetry Center at the University of Arizona, 1508 E. Helen St., Tucson.