Authors Talk: Catharina Coenen

Authors Talk: Catharina Coenen

Today we are pleased to feature Catharina Coenen as our Authors Talk series contributor. In this podcast, she invites her nephew, Christopher Van der Meyden, to discuss her nonfiction essay, “Stain,” published in SR’s Issue 23.

“Stain” explores Catharina’s need to clean up the shattered eggs someone had thrown at the garage and driveway of her neighbor who was recently arrested by the FBI. As she reflects on this event through her writing, she notices the strong connections between her actions and the history of her family and country.

Catharina explains that she had a difficult time understanding her physical and emotional reactions to seeing the arrest: shaky knees and hands, circular thoughts, and a feeling of anger and fear despite not having any immediate threats. She says, “I started writing as a way to help myself understand why I was experiencing these physical reactions and mental confusion.”

Christopher and Catharina also take a closer look at the way the essay uses family stories organically throughout the piece as “a way to ground [Catharina] in the present—to come back from a traumatic past that explained the inner turmoil to the present tense where there was no physical danger to [Catharina] or anyone else in that moment.”

As a biologist, Catharina also makes connections between the structure of her essay and recent developments in our understanding of the biology of trauma. Although “physical responses to trauma can be encoded across generations,” Catharina explains, “storytelling and an anchoring of the person in the present” can undo this transgenerational trauma. Catharina notices her essay mimics this necessary healing process, allowing her to understand and process her reactions.


You can read Catharina’s work, “Stain,” in Issue 23 of Superstition Review.


#ArtLitPhx: First Draft Book Club

Join Changing Hands at First Draft Book Bar (the wine and beer bar inside Changing Hands Phoenix) for a discussion of this month’s pick, On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean Vuong.

Stop by Changing Hands Phoenix or Tempe to get your copy of On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous.

Then meet Changing Hands and Arizona Republic reporter Barbara VanDenburgh at First Draft Book Bar to discuss the pick and enjoy HAPPY HOUR prices all through the event.

Sign up for Barbara VanDenburgh’s weekly “Feel Good 5” newsletter here, and join the First Draft Book Club Facebook group here.

ABOUT THE BOOK 

Poet Ocean Vuong’s debut novel is a shattering portrait of a family, a first love, and the redemptive power of storytelling.

On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous is a letter from a son to a mother who cannot read. Written when the speaker, Little Dog, is in his late twenties, the letter unearths a family’s history that began before he was born — a history whose epicenter is rooted in Vietnam — and serves as a doorway into parts of his life his mother has never known, all of it leading to an unforgettable revelation. At once a witness to the fraught yet undeniable love between a single mother and her son, it is also a brutally honest exploration of race, class, and masculinity. Asking questions central to our American moment, immersed as we are in addiction, violence, and trauma, but undergirded by compassion and tenderness, On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous is as much about the power of telling one’s own story as it is about the obliterating silence of not being heard. 

With stunning urgency and grace, Ocean Vuong writes of people caught between disparate worlds, and asks how we heal and rescue one another without forsaking who we are. The question of how to survive, and how to make of it a kind of joy, powers the most important debut novel of many years.

WHAT IS FIRST DRAFT BOOK CLUB? 
First Draft Book Club is the official book club of First Draft Book Bar – the coffee, beer, and wine bar inside Changing Hands Phoenix. Every month, Arizona Republic reporter Barbara VanDenburgh picks a hot new book and hosts a guided book club discussion.

EVENT INFORMATION

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

Date: Wednesday, July 24

Time: 7 p.m.

For more information about the event, click here.

Contributor Update, Xochitl-Julisa Bermejo: ‘When We Were Seeds’

Join us in congratulating SR poetry interview contributor Xochitl-Julisa Bermejo. Xochitl was invited as a guest instructor to teach a class on poetry for current times at Writing Workshops Los Angeles. The course takes place from July 22 to September 16 and allows students to read, analyze and discuss contemporary poetry from women, people of color, and queer poets “cultivating their own poems of resistance, persistence, and celebration.”

To read more about Xochitl and her upcoming workshop, click here. You can find her interview from Issue 19 here.

Congratulations, Xochitl!

Contributor Update, Elissa Washuta: ‘Shapes of Native Fiction’

Join us in congratulating SR interview contributor Elissa Washuta. She recently worked with fellow editor Theresa Warburton to publish Shapes of Native Nonfiction: Collected Essays By Contemporary Writers this summer.

The collection features both established and emerging Native writers including Stephen Graham Jones, Deborah Miranda, Terese Marie Mailhot, Billy-Ray Belcourt, Eden Robinson, and Kim TallBear. Taken together, the essays examine materiality, orality, spatiality, and temporality in Native literary traditions.

This upcoming Monday, July 22, both Elissa and Theresa will discuss their work on this project from 7 to 8:15 p.m. at the Seattle Public Library, 1000 4th Avenue. The discussion will be recorded for a podcast.

To read more about Elissa’s workshop, click here. You can find her interview from Issue 17 here.

Congratulations, Elissa!

#ArtLitPhx: Jasmine Guillory’s ‘The Wedding Party’

The New York Times bestselling author of The Wedding Date and The Proposal shares her exhilarating new romance.

Maddie and Theo have two things in common:

1. Alexa is their best friend.
2. They hate each other.

After an “oops, we made a mistake” night together, neither one can stop thinking about the other. With Alexa’s wedding rapidly approaching, Maddie and Theo both share bridal party responsibilities that require more interaction with each other than they’re comfortable with. Underneath the sharp barbs they toss at each other is a simmering attraction that won’t fade. It builds until they find themselves sneaking off together to release some tension when Alexa isn’t looking, agreeing they would end it once the wedding is over. When it’s suddenly pushed up and they only have a few months left of secret rendezvouses, they find themselves regretting that the end is near. Two people this different can’t possibly have a connection other than the purely physical, right?

But as with any engagement with a nemesis, there are unspoken rules that must be abided by. First and foremost, don’t fall in love.

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 
Jasmine Guillory is a lawyer, a graduate of Wellesley College and Stanford Law School, and a Bay Area native who lives in Oakland, California. She has been published in The Toast and The Hairpin, has towering stacks of books in her living room, a cake for every occasion, and upwards of fifty lipsticks. She is The New York Times bestselling author of The Wedding Date and The Proposal.

EVENT INFORMATION

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

Date: Saturday, July 20

Time: 5 p.m.

For more information about the event, click here.

#ArtLitPhx: Whitman Summer Social

Poetry selections from the Arizona Friends of Chamber Music

WEDNESDAY, JULY 31, 2019 – 5:30PM

This event takes place at the Copper Room at Hotel Congress (311 Congress St., Tucson AZ).

Join the University of Arizona Poetry Center for a short reading of poems that the Poetry Center library staff has selected for the programs of the Arizona Friends of Chamber Music (AFCM) Programs over the past two years.  Supporting AFCM’s diverse and excellent programming, the featured poems speak to the pleasures of music and the transformative experience of excellent art.  Poems will be read by Library Director Sarah Kortemeier and Senior Library Specialist Julie Swarstad Johnson. The band Young MacDonald will play before and after the event.

There will be a short 20 minute reading of curated poems.  Event will feature complimentary snacks and a cash bar; doors at 5:30, program at 6 p.m.

Click here for more information.

#ArtLitPhx: Writing Workshop with Stella Pope Duarte

Workshop Title: Three Easy Steps to Writing a Dynamic Short Story

The American Book Award-winning author of If I Die in Juárez hosts a two-part writing workshop for writers of all levels. 

From the host: “Once upon a time, deep in a great dark forest, lived three bears. The beginning of one of the most beloved fairy tales on earth is about three bears and a little girl named Goldilocks. Stories that become part of our universal experience reveal the human heart. This workshop will zero in on what it means to write a dynamic short story.”

WORKSHOP DETAILS

  • Cost: $40, for two sessions: July 16 and 23.
  • Register below or directly on Eventbrite.
  • Refunds will not be issued within one day of the event.

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 HOST
Stella Pope Duarte is described by Jacquelyn Mitchard as a “magical weaver with a sure hand and a pure heart,” and praised by Ursula K. Leguin as an author who “will enlarge humanity.” Her works explore the human heart, revealing both dark and light. Duarte has won honors and awards nationwide, including a 2009 American Book Award, a Pulitzer Prize nomination, the Southwest Book of the Year Award, and a nomination to Oprah’s Book Sense list. She is a descendant of Irish and Mexican American parents, and was born and raised in the Sonorita Barrio in South Phoenix. Inspired to write by a prophetic dream of her father, she believes that writing, like love, begins within, or it doesn’t start at all.

EVENT INFORMATION

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

Date: Tuesdays, July 16 and 23

Time: 6–8:30 p.m.

Cost: $40

For more information about the event, click here.

Contributor Update, Robert Krut: ‘The Now Dark Sky, Setting Us All on Fire’

Join us in congratulating SR poetry contributor Robert Krut! Robert’s newest book titled The Now Dark Sky, Setting Us All on Fire was recently published this summer.

Robert’s book won the 2018 Codhill Poetry Award. The poetry collection contains surrealistic imagery, cityscapes, and apocalyptic moments that allow the reader to imagine a new world with “fingerprint police,” “helix fireworks,” and “vampire teeth.”

SR’s own founding editor, Patricia Colleen Murphy, said “Robert Krut inventively crafts image after shape-shifting image, each suggesting an alternate universe designed to help us better understand our real one.”

More information about Robert and his new book can be found here. One poem included in the book can be found in S[r]’s Issue 18, and four more in Issue 3.

Congratulations Robert!

#ArtLitPhx: Getting That Novel on the Page

The goal of Desert Sleuths, the Phoenix chapter of Sisters in Crime, is to nurture, encourage, guide, and offer fellowship to new writers.

New writers like you! From the Sleuths: “Maybe you’re one of the thousands of people who would love to write a book but your career has been focused in a non-literary field. Here’s your chance to get the lowdown on how to fulfill your dream of becoming an author. Changing Hands is hosting our presentation of beginning and newly published authors who also had writing dreams. They may have been police officers, service workers, lawyers, office workers, or elementary school teachers. Now they’re involved in putting their stories on paper. A panel of newbie writers will detail how they have gone from dreamer to writer, including Deb J Ledford, an author and professional content editor who has worked extensively with the panelists. Get your questions answered, listen to the writers’ stories, then go home and fire up your computer!

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 ORGANIZATION 
Sisters in Crime, a national organization originated in 1986 when best-selling author, Sara Paretsky and several friends wanted to create more support and recognition for women writers. Desert Sleuths was organized in 1992 and boasts an annual membership of 100+. It holds an annual writing conference in September, and bi-annually, in odd-numbers years, publishes an anthology of members’ short mystery stories.

EVENT INFORMATION

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

Date: Sunday, July 14

Time: 3 p.m.

For more information about the event, click here.

#ArtLitPhx: Lehua Taitano and Bojan Louis Poetry Reading

The University of Arizona Poetry Center is proud to present our summer resident Lehua Taitano and Bojan Louis (new poetry faculty in the Creative Writing program and in American Indian Studies), who will read from their work. After the reading, there will be a short Q&A and a book signing.

Lehua M. Taitano is a queer CHamoru writer and interdisciplinary artist from Yigo, Guåhan (Guam) and co-founder of Art 25. She is the author of two volumes of poetry—Inside Me an Island (WordTech Editions) and A Bell Made of Stones (TinFish Press). Her chapbook, appalachiapacific, won the 2010 Merriam-Frontier Award for short fiction. She has two recent chapbooks of poetry and visual art: Sonoma(Dropleaf Press) and Capacity (a Hawai’i Review e-chap). Her poetry, essays, and Pushcart Prize-nominated fiction have appeared in FenceKartika ReviewRed Ink International JournalPoetry Magazine, and numerous others. She has served as an APAture Featured Literary Artist via Kearny Street Workshop, a Kuwentuhan poet via The Poetry Center at SFSU, and as a Culture Lab visual artist and digital exhibit advisor for the Smithsonian Institute’s Asian Pacific American Center. Taitano’s work investigates modern indigeneity, decolonization, and cultural identity in the context of diaspora.

Bojan Louis (Diné) is the author of the poetry collection Currents (BkMk Press 2017), which received a 2018 American Book Award, and the nonfiction chapbook Troubleshooting Silence in Arizona (The Guillotine Series 2012). His fiction has appeared in EcotoneNuméro Cinq MagazineYellow Medicine Review, and Alaska Quarterly Review; nonfiction in MudCity Journal and AS/US. Former poetry editor at RED INK and former poetry editor and co-founder of Waxwing, Louis has been a resident at The MacDowell Colony and is the inaugural Virginia G. Piper Fellow-in-Residence at Arizona State University. He will be joining the MFA and AIS faculty at the University of Arizona in the fall 2019.

EVENT INFORMATION:

Date: Thursday, July 25

Time: 7 p.m.

Location: University of Arizona Poetry Center, 1508 E. Helen St., Tucson

Cost: Free

For more information, click here.