Martha Silano headshot

Watch Our Guest Lecture With Martha Silano!

SR is excited to have recently hosted past contributor Martha Silano as a guest lecturer! In the lecture, Martha discusses her background in poetry as both a poet and poetry editor, including how she chooses poems as an editor. She provides insightful guidance on how to curate poems for a magazine and how to approach selecting poems for a magazine. If you’re a poetry editor looking for advice, be sure to watch the video below.

View the lecture here:

Check out Martha’s work in Issue 27 and visit her website to learn all about her work and upcoming workshops. Keep up with Martha on Twitter and Instagram. Thank you so much for your time, Martha!

Patricia Colleen Murphy headshot

Meet Our Founding Editor!

Ever wondered who Patricia Colleen Murphy, founding editor of SR, is? This week, the blog sat down with Trish to learn more about her. Below, find out what Trish is streaming, how she got into literary publishing, and more!

What are you reading right now?

I’m reading a really interesting book called How to Do Nothing: Resisting the Attention Economy by Jenny Odell. I love reading nonfiction when I’m working out. I read a lot of poetry and fiction for my job, so it is a fun change of pace.

What are you watching right now?

I just watched Roadrunner: A Film About Anthony Bourdain. It was so interesting I want to watch it again to get all the details. I also really enjoyed the show On the Verge with Julie Delpy and Elizabeth Shue.

Why do you love what you do for SR?

There are so many reasons!!! First, I truly feel grateful for the relationships I form with all of the interns. It feels like an extended family, and we really look after each other. I also like providing a high quality publication opportunity to so many authors and artists. It’s always a thrill to send acceptances and to support creative careers.

What are your long-term goals for SR?

I would really love it if I could get interns more involved in the local community. This seems to be tough due to Covid restrictions right now. I’m hoping that as students get used to being back on campus they will be more outgoing with events.

What are you most excited about in Issue 28?

We have some super innovative poetry! Curating this section was a fun experience because we got so much good work that was really out of the box. We grabbed a lot of varied content!

How did you get into the lit mag world?

Oh, it started in high school! When I was a senior I was the editor of the literary magazine at the Cincinnati Public Library. It was called Seven Hills Review, and I was in charge of curating content for several issues. So it has been a lifelong passion.

What advice do you have for people trying to get published?

Absolutely read the lit mag you are sending work to. You would be surprised how many submissions we get that are nothing like what we publish. It makes me sad because it sets the sender up for failure.

What are you most proud of right now?

I have a really great group of interns right now who are self-motivated and driven. It’s so wonderful when students take charge of their roles within the magazine and create innovations.

What are you looking forward to right now?

I am really looking forward to creating the team for next semester’s internship. This is the time of year when I assign roles to interns and choose new trainees. It’s always a joy to match students to roles.

Where is your favorite place you’ve traveled?

Oh my, this one is so hard! There is no possible way to pick just one. My heart grows 10 sizes when I travel. I feel alive and happy when I get to explore other places. I have been to 50 countries so I can’t even narrow it down. It’s like a slideshow of memories in my head. My most recent trip abroad was to Morocco, and it was simply stunning. I really enjoyed the history and geography. It’s such a diverse country.

What’s your all-time favorite book and why?

I have so many. It’s usually the book I am reading now. A book I recommend a lot is Fantasyland: How America Went Haywire: A 500-Year History.

What’s your coffee order?

Decaf Americano.

To learn more about Trish, visit her website, Instagram, Twitter, or LinkedIn.

Kalani Pickhart headshot

Kalani Pickhart’s Debut Novel is Revolutionary


We are happy to share that past contributor Kalani Pickhart just released a book, I Will Die in a Foreign Land. The novel is Kalani’s first book and is published by Two Dollar Radio.

The lives of four people intersect during the 2014 Ukrainian Revolution… Innovative, emotionally resonant, and deeply affecting, this is a more-than-promising debut from a very talented writer.

Kirkus, Starred Review

I Will Die in a Foreign Land is the story of four people living through the 2013-14 Ukrainian Revolution. Set over the course of an unstable winter, the plot turns around the Euromaiden protests. The characters – a doctor, an engineer, an activist, and a KGB agent – embody empathy and perseverance as they grapple with their ever-changing surroundings and political landscape. I Will Die in a Foreign Land is sweeping, touching, and powerful.

Love triangles, grieving parents, sex trafficking, the KGB, Chernobyl, the Euromaidan protests—I Will Die in a Foreign Land has it all. This bold, intricate novel is as rich and complex as the Ukrainian history it describes with such precision and longing. In spite of their unspeakable personal and political tragedies, the people in this book will fill you with hope for a better world long after you turn the last page.

Maria Kuznetsova, author of Oksana, Behave! and Something Unbelievable

I Will Die in a Foreign Land is an American Booksellers Association “Indie Next List” pick for November 2021. Grab a copy of the novel from Two Dollar Radio, Bookshop, or Barnes & Noble.

Kalani’s short story “Little Mouse” was featured in Issue 19. To learn more about Kalani, visit her website, Twitter, or Instagram. Congratulations, Kalani!

The Faceless Old Woman cover

What the SR Staff is Reading

You probably won’t be surprised to hear that the SR staff – interns and trainees – are avid readers. Given that we students have varied interests, majors, and roles at SR, we read a lot of different things! Keep reading to find out what books we’ve got on our shelves this fall.

What we’re reading right now

Taylor, a trainee, is reading Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo. “I was hooked once I saw the Shadow and Bone series on Netflix,” she says. “Now reading this book just makes me love the characters and new adventures more.”

As part of a research project, our Art Editor, Khanh, is rereading The Myth of Sisyphus by Albert Camus. “I love it because, although it’s a philosophical text and not fiction, it makes me reflect a lot on the way I’ve been living and the way I’d like to live. It also calms me as a person who thinks too much!”

Paress, our Nonfiction Editor, is enjoying Midnight Sun by Stephenie Meyer because “it’s an easy read. A nice break from reading formal writing.”

Our favorite books of the year

Sara, the Blog Editor, highly recommends The Only Plane in the Sky by Garrett M. Graff. “It’s a fascinating showcase of 9/11 stories,” she says. “As someone who doesn’t remember that event, I think it’s important to learn about it.”

Our Fiction Editor, Hannah, read Appleseed by Matt Bell for a class, “but it’s a really interesting dystopian take on the environment and how we effect it. The characters are so varied and I really enjoy the writing style!”

Amy, the Content Coordinator, enjoyed The Murderbot Diaries series by Martha Wells. “One of my favorite tropes is the loner character who insists that they don’t need friends and they don’t care about anyone, yet somehow makes friends wherever they go and finds themselves caring about everyone. This series is all over that.”

Bree, our Poetry Editor, recommends Wylding Hall by Elizabeth Hand. She says, “I loved this one the most because it is a combination of a ghost story, and also about the disintegration of a band in the 1970s. There’s a lot of great content in it, and is an especially great read going into October!”

One of our trainees, Etosha, loved Rose by Li-Young Lee. “I reread this book this year because I love the passion that he writes with in each poem.”

What we’re looking forward to reading next

Next up for Charlie, a member of our Social Media team, is The Faceless Old Woman Who Secretly Lives in Your Home by Joesph Fink and Jeffery Cranor. “I love the Welcome to Night Vale universe, and this book gives the spotlight to one of the most interesting characters. Plus, the writing style is amazing.”

Veronica, a trainee, says, “Andrea Gibson’s new poetry collection, You Better Be Lightning, comes out in November, and I’m really excited to get my hands on it and read it! Andrea Gibson is one of my favorite contemporary spoken word poets; there’s not a poem of theirs that hasn’t made me cry. Their poetry is also really insightful in regards to gender, sexuality, and politics.”

Our Student Editor-in-Chief, Madeline is “so excited to read Gone Girl next – I’ve of course heard great things about this novel, and about Gillian Flynn, but have not read it yet. I think I’ve heard that this book has a major plot twist, which I always love.”


Which of these books interests you most? What are you reading? Tell us in the comments!

Day of the dead altar

Support an ASU Scholarship!

Day of the dead altar

Join us next week to raise funds for the College of Integrative Sciences and Arts’ Interdisciplinary Humanities and Communication (IHC) scholarship. This scholarship helps underrepresented students pay for tuition, housing, books, and other expenses as students of ASU. Kick-off for the IHC fundraising campaign begins Monday at Day of the Dead Walk with Ancestors!

When: Monday, November 1st, 4:00-6:00pm

Where: ASU Polytechnic campus, Student Union, Cooley Ballroom

Price: Free – make sure you register for the event

Day of the Dead Walk with Ancestors begins with a one-mile walk/run through the Polytechnic campus, during which time participants can get their event passport stamped in natural environment spaces on campus. Redeem your passport at the end for a treat! Additionally, honor the life of a loved one by bringing a photo of them and and placing it on the Day of the Dead altar in the Student Union.

The fun continues after the walk in the Student Union with:

  • Food
  • Aguas frescas
  • Mariachi music
  • Skull painting
  • Discussions with students in a Chicana/o Literature course
  • A migration exhibit

Visit the IHC campaign webpage to learn more and donate directly – any amount is appreciated and will support underrepresented students pursue the humanities.

Ananda Lima headshot

Mother/land by Ananda Lima Explores Identity and Heritage

Mother/land cover

Congratulations are in order for contributor Ananda Lima, who just released the book of poems Mother/land! Incorporating English and Portuguese, the collection explores the nuances of ancestry, language, identity, and motherhood and dives in to how the confluence of them all can complicate or enhance life. Mother/land asks us to consider the aspects of life we take part in and those which are chosen for us.

Ananda Lima’s Mother/land is as much a mother’s grappling with how to raise her son amid the danger and violence of today’s America as it is an investigation of a daughter’s inherited, migrant Brazilian past. Lima’s poetry has the rare power to let us feel and “know the terror” of the present moment, while reflecting on ancestry and passing on familial legacy to the next generation. Her poems aren’t afraid to “shout ‘I’m an American citizen’ ” across borders and languages, while shattering the security of presumed identity and recognizing both the precarity and privilege of citizenship. Piercing and poignant, Lima’s voice and music stay with you, “undisturbed / by wind or water, there will always remain/ a footprint” guiding your way home.

Julia Kolchinsky Dasbach, Author of the Many Names for Mother

One of the poems, “Transa,” was originally published in SR. “Transa” is among the few poems in Mother/land that are connected with Brazilian music.

Mother/land is the winner of the 2020 Hudson Prize and is available from Black Lawrence Press. To learn more about Ananda, who has published several chapbooks, visit her website, Instagram, and Twitter. Also, find Ananda at one of her many upcoming book tour events!

Megan Mayhew Bergman

Megan Mayhew Bergman: Writing About It All

At SR, we love keeping up with our past contributors. Their pursuit of their literary or artistic talents and passions is inspiring.

Today, we’re sharing about Megan Mayhew Bergman, who has published numerous essays and articles this year.

Most recently, Megan wrote an essay for The New Yorker. The essay, “The Vibrant Life and Quiet Passing of Dottie Dodgion,” discusses the remarkable events of the drummer’s life. Dodgion was consistently involved in music – playing instruments, singing, and dancing – from age 16 until she died at age 90.

Megan is also a contributor to The Guardian and has written four articles for it this year, all on different topics.

And in June, Megan sat down to chat with author Jeff VanderMeer and actor Lili Taylor. The conversation about birds, beauty, and books can be found on LitHub.

Congratulations, Megan, on sharing your work in so many places! To learn more about Megan, visit her website.

Superstition Mountain

The Story Behind Our Name

Superstition Mountain

Have you ever wondered why we’re called Superstition Review? Well, let me tell you the story!

For those of you who don’t know, SR is housed at Arizona State University (students play a big role in the curation of each issue). ASU has four campuses in the metro Phoenix area and SR is housed on the Polytechnic campus in Mesa. From the Polytechnic (or Poly, as we call it) campus, there is a wonderful view of the Superstition Mountains. Not only are these mountains stunning in and of themselves – and therefore worthy as a namesake – our founding editor, Patricia Colleen Murphy, also has a personal connection to these mountains. Since the mountains are beautifully showcased on the Poly campus and they hold a special place in Trish’s heart, the name Superstition Review was a natural choice.

Do you have other questions about SR? Let us know in the comments!

Reese Conner and his cat

The Body He Left Behind: Poems From an ASU Alum


We’re excited to share that Arizona State University alum Reese Conner recently published a book! The Body He Left Behind is Reese’s debut poetry collection and is published by Cider Press Review. Winner of the 2020 Cider Press Review Editor’s Prize Book Award, The Body He Left Behind includes the poem “The Rapture.”

The Rapture
after Robert Dash’s “Into the Mystic”

The first thing to go was a sailboat.
It was raptured, just like that. Snap
your fingers, please. Like that.

An old couple watched from the end
of a pier. Beyond them, the sloop
tickled water for a bit, shuddered
like nostalgia or blackmail, then poof:
The mainsail, the headsail, the hull,
all the boat jargon lost specificity
like a ghost, bleeding form
and crying vowels. The boat
peeled from the water, stretching
a paintbrush of pixels in its wake
as it rose. The skyline, too,
began to glaze, and the sea
poured upward into it, everything
a swarm of movement.

Imaginative men who witnessed it
thought things like justice.
The old couple joined hands now.
And everyone who knew Robert Hass
knew he was right: everything
was dissolving, spiriting away
towards a more perfect self
of itself. As more world
blurred upward—housecats, tire swings,
entire orchards—a gentle murmur
spread in the bellies of the observant,
who saw even the ugly things
begin to ascend—blobfish, Smart Cars,
murder weapons, every issue of Us Weekly—
and thought, or began to think:
What about us? And they were all
naked now, they noticed—
clothes lifted from them
like water in a dry heat. Some ogled
the newly-naked world with intention.
Others began to tantrum—violent
or existential, all unable to translate
what must have felt like betrayal.
And that old couple, still holding hands,
looked skyward and stood up
on their tippy toes.

Cats are a major theme throughout the collection. But not only is there ample mention of cats, the poems speak to us:

These are singular, quietly soaring poems. They innocuously but effectively reach for greater truths regarding the animal nature of our beings and where we as individual humans fall on that hierarchical scale. In these poems, we so easily find in their dailiness depths of feeling we recognize immediately, even if we have never said so aloud before. They artfully connect us to something important inside ourselves. Simply put, these are heartfelt—and powerful—love poems to and about cats, poems of genuine grappling with human sensibility. These are near sentimentality all the time, but without sentimentality. This is dangerously wonderful territory for a writer, and the poems explore their terrain well. They simply make us feel, so that even as they are about cats, these poems humanize us.

Alberto Rios, Author of A Small Story About the Sky

The Body He Left Behind is available for purchase from Cider Review Press. Find more from Reese on his website. Congratulations, Reese!