EJ Levy author photo

Keeping Alive a Feminist and Transgender Icon


Congratulations are in order for past contributor E.J. Levy, whose newest book, The Cape Doctor, was released this summer. E.J. was kind enough to send us her own description of the book, found below.


I’m delighted to have had my debut novel, The Cape Doctor, out from Little Brown on June 15th, after nearly a decade of work. The book is inspired by the life of Dr. James Miranda Barry–born Margaret Ann Bulkley circa 1795 in Cork, Ireland–a brilliant, irascible, dandified, army surgeon who advocated for the rights of the marginalized and was the first person known to perform a successful caesarian in Africa; Barry was caught in a sodomy scandal with the aristocratic governor of Cape Town (then the Cape Colony) in 1824, and eventually rose to the level of Inspector General, only to be discovered after death to have been “a perfect female” and to have carried a pregnancy late to term.

In the 150 years since Barry died, the doctor has been celebrated as both a feminist icon (as the first female-born person to receive a medical degree in the UK, 50 years before Elizabeth Garrett Anderson would, and 35 years before Elizabeth Blackwell would earn her degree in the US) and more recently as a trans icon. Both are valid interpretations in my view. I agree with biographer Jeremy Dronfield (author of Dr. James Barry: A Woman Ahead of Her Time) who has said that he sees validity in both a feminist and a trans reading of Barry’s life, but he rejects any effort to impose one interpretation to the exclusion of the other or to present one as definitive. Mine is one reading of a richly ambiguous historical record of the fascinating and courageous life of Margaret Bulkley and James Barry. In writing the book, I was aiming for something like Virginia Woolf’s Orlando–in which the protagonist changes sex over centuries–but I think I’ve ended up with something closer to Charles Dicken’s David Copperfield.

I have changed Barry’s name to be clear that mine is a work of fiction. But it has felt at times more like a seance. I first learned of Barry on a trip to Cape Town; as we traveled around the city and into the countryside, I felt a little possessed by that spirit, as if Dr. Barry was whispering in my ear; I’m delighted that others have a chance to hear that same voice now. 

I’m gratified that Booklist has given The Cape Doctor a Starred Review, calling it “Remarkable…Absolutely superb… beautifully written…In sum, an unforgettable work of art that deserves raves.” The book was also named among Barnes & Noble’s “Best 100 Books of Summer” and was a New York Times Book Review Editors’ Choice.

I hope The Cape Doctor helps bring wider attention to and awareness of the remarkable life of both Margaret and James.


The Cape Doctor is published by Little Brown and available for purchase from Bookshop, Barnes & Noble, Apple Books, Google Play, and Amazon.

E.J. was interviewed by SR about her story collection Love, In Theory in Issue 16. Keep up with what else E.J. is up to on her website and Twitter.

Internship Opportunities for ASU Undergraduates Spring 2022

Superstition Review

Internship Opportunities with Superstition Review 

Are you an ASU student interested in creative writing, publishing, marketing, social networking, blogging, or advertising? Do you wish you could get marketable job skills while earning college credit? Do you like to have a little fun while you learn?

Then an internship with Superstition Review is right for you.

Superstition Review is the online literary magazine produced by creative writing and web design students at Arizona State University. Founded in 2008, the mission of the journal is to promote contemporary art and literature by providing a free, easy-to-navigate, high quality online publication that features work by established and emerging artists and authors from all over the world.

We publish two issues a year with art, fiction, interviews, nonfiction, and poetry. We also enjoy honoring all members of our Superstition Review family by maintaining a strong year-round community of editors, submitters, contributors, and readers on our blog and social networks.

Trainees

Trainees will register for a 3 credit-hour ENG 394 course. The course will offer a study of the field of literary magazines.

Upon successful completion of ENG 394, trainees will enroll in ENG 484 and become active interns with the magazine.

  • All work is done completely online.
  • We welcome interns from all fields.
  • The internship is not available to ASU Online students.
  • Applications are accepted on a rolling basis.

What Interns Say:

Trish provided valuable experience in my field of interest that is not offered anywhere else. This class has been a huge eye-opener for me and I feel so lucky to have had the opportunity to work in the publishing and editing industry before graduating.

The skills I learned have given me a huge amount of confidence as I begin my search for a job, and I’m so glad this course was available.

Trish is enthusiastic, knowledgeable, and very trusting of her students. Although all the work for SR goes through her, she allows for students to take control and engage in the work fully. Thanks for the wonderful experience!

Trish is extremely personable and is great at making people feel welcomed and she listens very well to her students.

Trish is extremely accessible and welcoming. I felt very comfortable coming to her with questions. I feel I got a great internship experience that will help me post graduation.

Read more about us on our social networks:

        

Anna B Sutton author photo (Credit Jasper & Fern)

“Savage Flower” Doesn’t Shy Away From Heavy Themes


Summer 2021 was a fruitful season for our past contributors! We’re back to announce another contributor’s new book: Anna B. Sutton’s poetry collection Savage Flower. Anna’s debut book includes “Postpartum,” which was featured in Issue 13. Savage Flower, winner of the 2019 St. Lawrence Book Award, centers on women in the American South. Reproductive rights, gender, religion, oppression, and family are just some of the timely and weighty topics brought up.

Make no mistake: the poems in Savage Flower will break you open with their beauty, with their unflinching ability to turn and keep the gaze on the moments of life so painful we try not to look at them: death and abandonment, injury and loss. Through Sutton’s work, we see the world as a continual process of loss and gain, of departure and return, in which “like prayer, waves fall back against the earth.” But these poems break you in a way that heals you, that continuously reminds you that despite its deaths and losses, this world still “[a] thing of beauty that / blossoms even as it withers.”

Emma Bolden, Author of House Is an Enigma

Savage Flower is available for purchase from Black Lawrence Press and Anna kindly mentions SR in the acknowledgements. Learn lots more about Anna and her work on her website and Twitter. Congratulations, Anna!

The Thicket cover

Kasey Jueds Leaves No Stones Unturned


We are excited to share that past contributor Kasey Jueds is releasing a poetry collection, The Thicket, this November. Jueds’ poem “The Tool Shed” was featured in Issue 25. She is also the author of the poetry collection Keeper.

As its name suggests, The Thicket evokes themes of the natural world and poems often center on the less-prominent aspects of nature. Unique to this collection, the reader contends with an undefined force: it may be self, God, both, neither. Advance praise describes The Thicket as timely, serene, and observant.

Long after finishing The Thicket, I felt rocked inside its motion, a music made of wind and river current, blood, breath and wingbeat. In poem after poem Jueds leads us across the natural world, turned fabular by lavishly lyric detail, to passages unseen, through which deer spotted one moment vanish the next. The Thicket is a true beauty of a book, fully awake to the many spells of our existence.

Kathy Fagan, author of Sycamore

The Thicket will be available in November, 2021, from University of Pittsburgh Press. You can pre-order the collection from Pitt or Bookshop. Find more from Kasey on her website and Twitter. Congratulations, Kasey!

Contributor Update, Paul Luikart

Contributor Update, Paul Luikart


We’re so excited to share that past contributor Paul Luikart has published a new book! The Museum of Heartache, a short story collection, debuted this week from Pski’s Porch Publishing.

Paul Luikart earns his spot on the shortlist of writers who can sink you right into the skin of a character in only a few lines. This collection of stories, some almost poetry, captures moments in his characters’ lives when they aren’t just down and out but squeezed in the vice of their circumstances, whether peculiar or mundane. In their shoes, you’ll grapple with what it means to be fully human and come out the other side changed.

Audrey Keown, Author of the Ivy Nichols Mysteries

The book includes Paul’s story “Blessed Assurance,” originally published by Superstition Review in Issue 22. That story touches on the reality of things we may never expect to encounter, framed by the binaries of heaven and hell, alive and dead. It’s an honest and intense glimpse into a life the narrator wanted to escape. Yet we leave the story hopeful. To read “Blessed Assurance,” click here.

The Museum of Heartache is available on Amazon and more information can be found on the Pski’s Porch website. Check out Paul on Twitter.

Contributor Update, Marieken Cochius

Contributor Update, Marieken Cochius

Frequency #51, by Marieken Cochius
Frequency #51, by Marieken Cochius, 2021. Inks on paper 22 x 30 in.

We are pleased to share that past contributor Marieken Cochius’s art will be on show this fall at the Lockwood Gallery in Kingston, New York! The exhibit, One Thing Leads to Another, features the contemporary, abstractionist work of Marieken and four others: Karlos Carcamo, Meg Hitchcock, Matthew Langley, and Greg Slick. Pieces from Marieken’s recent “Frequencies” series, such as the one seen above, will be on display, some for the first time. These layered ink on paper drawings capture transient moments in nature and their innate energy. The effect is enchanting.

[Marieken Cochius’s] work is continually evolving formally while consistently and skillfully expressing a passion for the beauty, mystery, and meaningfulness of the natural world. A visit to her website will reveal many variations on the art of abstraction in media that include oil painting, sculpture, and works on paper. There is nevertheless a consistency in her visual language that runs through its many dialects. She’s after a certain kind of energy that can’t be easily captured and held; it can only be experienced and communicated directly. The pieces in this show are records of awakening realized over time and can be seen as a call to the viewer to share a revelatory experience. … A tapestry of these visual moments gradually weaves itself together into a whole. Without specific identifiable imagery to grasp onto Cochius invites us to join in the conscious emergence of the cosmos.

Carl Van Brunt Beacon, The Lockwood Gallery

One Thing Leads to Another runs September 4th until October 3rd. For more information, visit the Lockwood Gallery website. To view Marieken’s art in Issue 25, click here. And don’t forget to check out Marieken’s website and social media: Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Saatchi Art.

Guest Post, Beckett’s Babies Podcast’s interview with Daniel Olivas

On March 15, past contributor, author of nine books (poetry, fiction, and nonfiction), Daniel Olivas, was invited on to the Beckett’s Babies podcast. Within the podcast, the group discussed topics such as Daniel’s play, Waiting for Godínez, being selected for the Playwrights’ Arena 2020 Summer Reading Series, Daniel’s first memory, how he has been selected for Circle X Theatre Co.’s inaugural Evolving Playwrights Group where he is adapting his 2011 novel, The Book of Want, with a planned Zoom reading in 2021, among a variety of other matters.

Be sure to also check out Daniel’s website and Twitter as well as his past work in Issue 13.

Tell Your Story, with Louise Nayer, a Two Part Zoom Class

Join Superstition Review in attending Tell Your Story, With Louise Nayer, a two part class on April 10th and April 17th that will be held over Zoom, and taught by five time published writer and winner of six California Arts Council grants, Louise Nayer.

This class will explore the elements of memoir writing, looking at how to “draw readers into your world.” Within the class, there will be “[e]xercises [that] will help you heighten language through sensory detail, learn the difference between scene and summary, and deal with time shifts by using flashback and slow-motion techniques. [The class] will also talk about how to find the right voice and fully engage your readers,” asking “What makes certain voices sing off the page?”

“In the second session of the class you’ll learn how to go deeper into scenes, how to structure a memoir, and narrative arc. Excerpts from Judith Barrington’s Writing the Memoir and from great memoir writers will be used for inspiration and to help with structure. [The class] will also discuss emotional blocks and ethical concerns, “making sure to incorporate “plenty of time for questions.” “The second session will include a supportive critique session where students bring in work to share. You’ll leave with a body of writing, some new writing friends, handouts sent by email, and the inspiration and determination to keep up a writing schedule.”

We look forward to seeing you there!

To register for the class click here. Be sure to also check out Louise’s website and Twitter.

Contributor Update, Joy Lanzendorfer

Join Superstition Review in congratulating past contributor Joy Lanzendorfer on her forthcoming book, Right Back Where We Started From, out May 4th. In this debut novel, Joy tells the story of Sandra Sanborn, an eager young women looking to be discovered in Hollywood during 1930s, whose life is thrown off track when she receives a letter from a man who says he is her father. Through this narrative, Joy creates “a sweeping, multigenerational work of fiction that explores the lust for ambition that entered into the American consciousness during the Gold Rush and how it affected our nation’s ideas of success, failure, and the pursuit of happiness. It’s a meticulously layered saga—at once historically rich, romantic, and suspenseful—about three determined and completely unforgettable women.”

“From the California Gold Rush to the to the San Francisco earthquake, through the Great Depression and World War II, Joy Lanzendorfer artfully weaves a beautifully textured saga. Yearnings, secrets, and shame shape the lives of three generations of American women as they dare to question the rigid societal expectations that confine them to proscribed roles and stifle ambition. Gripping prose and complex and memorable characters make this shining debut novel a pleasure to read.”

Liza Nash Taylor, author of Etiquette for Runaways and the forthcoming In All Good Faith.

To pre-order your copy of Right Back Where We Started From click here. Also, be sure to check out Joy’s website and Twitter as well as her past work in Issue 5.