Christopher holding If We Had a Lemon in the snow

When Life Gives You Lemons…


Congratulations to past contributor Christopher Citro on his recent poetry collection If We Had a Lemon We’d Throw It and Call That the Sun, which was published by Elixir Press in April. The collection is Christopher’s second poetry book.

The title poem was originally published in Gulf Coast Literary Journal in 2018:

If We Had a Lemon We'd Throw It and Call That the Sun

I’d like to invite you to the party but I don’t
know your name, have your address, or
know you well enough to really want you
around my cat. I feel a kinship with all people
and then I share a beach with them and want
to yell use your inside voice. We’re outside
but that doesn’t mean we’ll not dissolve
if raised to the light. Some days the sea wants
to chew us into shattered two-by-fours.
Some days she’s a kitten pasting soft hairs
around our ankles. I know—I know this for
a fact—there are moist pasta salads being
prepared and eaten all around me—in those
bushes for instance—and I’m not getting any.
I tried to start my life out right and still
lost track of where I was going. Example,
I picked my college because my girlfriend
went there. She slept with my best friend.
I went there anyway. That determined
the course of the rest of my life. I wiped
the table down with bleach before sitting
and now my forearm smells. It’s going
to be okay though. I’m going to need this
bleach-arm for some purpose. To identify
some wanderers in the sky it’s helpful to
determine the color. At a distance everything
for me goes gray. A mountain range in
a black-and-white film. We’ve been walking,
my horse and I, for days. For water we
think about rivers and lick our own ideas.

Check out this video to hear Christopher read two poems in the collection, “It’s Something People in Love Do” and “Our Beautiful Life When It’s Filled With Shrieks.”

Christopher Citro reads two poems from If We Had a Lemon We’d Throw It and Call That the Sun by Christopher Citro, August 3, 2020

The collection is the winner of the 2019 Antivenom Poetry Award and is available from Small Press Distribution. Find more from Christopher on his website, Instagram, and Twitter.

Before I Had the Word cover

New Poetry Collection by Brooke Sahni Coming Soon!

Before I Had the Word cover
Before I Had the Word by Brooke Sahni (Texas A&M University Press, forthcoming 2021)

We are excited to share that past contributor Brooke Sahni has a book coming out this November! Before I Had the Word is a poetry collection that explores the confluences of religion and culture in the world. In the poems, Brooke draws on her backgrounds in Sikhism and Judaism to challenge our notions of the self and the divine. Nature, sexuality, and the body, plus the secular and mundane worlds, are thoughtfully questioned.

Before I Had the Word invites us to consider what is essential and what is sacred: language, the body, pleasure, faith. It invites us to consider who we are, how we inhabit ourselves, how words – “words that give and words that take away” – shape our experience. There are poems in this book that are etched in me now. Poems I’ll return to again and again. Poems I’ll teach. Poems I’ll share with my own daughter. This book is a gift.

Maggie Smith, Author of Keep Moving

Before I Had the Word is the 2020 winner of the X. J. Kennedy Poetry Prize and is available for pre-order from Texas A&M University Press. Brooke contributed to our Issue 24 and is also the author of the poetry collection Divining. To learn more about Brooke, visit her website or Instagram. Congratulations, Brooke!

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.

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.

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.

Contributor Update, John Nieves

Join Superstition Review in congratulating past contributor John Nieves on his new poetry collection, Curio, out now. Winner of the 13th Annual Elixir Press Poetry Award, Curio, with a lens of curiosity, explores a wide range of topics, including the significance of humans and the traces we leave behind.

“Augury— ‘the bones’/ can only reveal what is asked of them,’ John A. Nieves writes in this stunning first book. Part scientist, part shaman, Nieves is unswervingly intelligent and deftly imaginative at knowing what to ask of the world. Human-scale, empathetic, and far-reaching, these poems engage the full range of the curiosity at the root of curio: the epistemological work of a mind turning/returning. From a father’s machine work to Schrodinger’s cat, archeology, bloodwork, and language, Nieves reminds us of the ‘magic / in the artifact’ and ‘in the making.”

Alexandra Teague, author of The Principles Behind Flotation

To order your copy of Curio click here. Be sure to also check out John’s website as well as his past work in Issue 9 and 15.

Contributor Update, Alissa Nutting and Dean Bakopoulous

Join Superstition Review in congratulating past contributors Alissa Nutting and Dean Bakopoulos on their forthcoming show, Made for Love, out April 1st on HBO Max. Made for Love is a dark comedy, based on Alissa’s novel of the same name (awarded the best book of 2017 by GQ, The New Yorker and NPR), of which the first two episodes are produced by Dean Bakopoulos. The show will star actress Cristin Milioti as a woman who escapes her marriage only to find that her husband, played by Billy Magnussen, has implanted her with a tracking device. She then goes to seek refuge with her father, actor Ray Romano, and alarmingly, his sex doll. Through this plot, the show explores themes such as divorce, revenge, and the depths of both love and destruction.

Be sure to check out both Alissa’s and Dean’s Twitters as well as their websites (Alissa’s and Dean’s) and our interviews with them in Issue 20.