Superstition Review’s blog is now accepting new submissions!
We feature Guest Posts and Authors Talks posts on our blog. These are short essays, videos, or audio recordings that examine current literary topics and trends. Submission guidelines for our blog can be found by clicking submit on our website.
We do not publish poetry or short stories on our blog.
Superstition Review is open to submissions for Issue 31! Our submission window closes January 31st, 2023. Our magazine is looking for art, fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. Read our guidelines and submit here.
Issue 30 of Superstition Review will be launched December 1st, marking SR’s 15th year anniversary. This issue features interviews with five award-winning authors: Angie Cruz, Leopoldo Gout, Rudy Ruiz, Manuel Muñoz, and Raquel Gutiérrez. All interviews were conducted by Riqué “Rich” Duhamell, this semester’s interview section editor. Read about the authors below!
Angie Cruz is a novelist and editor. Her most recent novel is How Not To Drown in A Glass of Water (2022). Her novel, Dominicana, was the inaugural book pick for GMA bookclub and shortlisted for The Women’s Prize, long-listed for the Andrew Carnegie Medals for Excellence in Fiction, The Aspen Words Literary Prize, a RUSA Notable book and the winner of the ALA/YALSA Alex Award in fiction. Cruz is the author of two other novels, Soledad and Let It Rain Coffee, and the recipient of numerous fellowships and residencies. She’s published shorter works in The Paris Review, VQR, Callaloo, Gulf Coast and other journals. She’s the founder and Editor-in-chief of the award winning literary journal, Aster(ix) and is currently an Associate Professor at University of Pittsburgh. She divides her time between Pittsburgh, New York, and Turin.
A visual artist, filmmaker, and writer who hails from Mexico City, Leopoldo Gout studied sculpture at Central St. Martins School of Art in London. His work belongs to multiple collections and has been in exhibitions all over the world. After finishing his studies, Gout’s creativity extended into writing, television, and film. He is the author of the books Ghost Radio and the award-winning Genius YA trilogy, and the recently published fable for all ages, Monarca. Piñata is set to publish with Tor Nightfire in March 2023.
Rudy Ruiz is a writer of literary fiction, essays, and political commentary. His earliest works were published at Harvard, where he studied literature and creative writing, and was awarded a Ford Foundation grant to support his writing endeavors. Seven for the Revolution was Ruiz’s fiction debut. The collection of short stories won four International Latino Book Awards.
Manuel Muñoz is the author of two previous collections and a novel. He is the recipient of a Whiting Award, three O. Henry Awards, and has appeared in Best American Short Stories. A native of Dinuba, California, he lives in Tucson, Arizona.
Raquel Gutiérrezis an arts critic/writer, poet and educator. Gutiérrez is a 2021 recipient of the Rabkin Prize in Arts Journalism, as well as a 2017 recipient of the The Andy Warhol Foundation Arts Writers Grant. Her/Their writing has recently appeared in or is forthcoming in Art In America, NPR Music, Places Journal, and The Georgia Review. Gutiérrez teaches in the Oregon State University-Cascades Low Residency Creative Writing MFA Program. Her/Their first book of proseBrown Neon is an ekphrastic memoir that considers what it means to be a Latinx artist during the Trump era. Gutiérrez calls Tucson, Arizona home.
One needs two things to be a good Fiction Editor. #1 is an attitude of Playful Openness that gets one excited to read the submission pile. #2 is Time. While working on this issue of Superstition Review, I had boundless amounts of openness and only a breadcrumb of time because of extra classes I was taking to graduate early. These classes diminished some of my enjoyment in being a Fiction Editor and are my only regrets.
Yet, I will never forget the pleasure of reading submissions. One of the marks of good fiction is escapism: allowing the reader to feel like he’s away from home. Many submissions helped me forget the strain of my other assignments and gladly found a home in my YES pile. It was also a delight to learn from my fellow editors Patricia Murphy, Kristin LaCroix, and Hannah Coleman. You were all generously patient as I learned the ropes.
“A writer should create living people; people not characters,” says Ernest Hemingway. I’m always looking for these living people when reading fiction. Not perfect people, but people who are afraid, unworthy, or not suited for the situation or task facing them—much like myself. This forges identification between reader and character, and it is the key to a reader’s escape and relief. When we read about people in trouble like ourselves (or better, people worse off), we’re healed. A character’s efforts to overcome adversity always leave the reader with a smile.
As a writer myself, I want to thank every person who submitted to Superstition Review for their courage to imagine, draft, and craft, because it’s taught me that this is the most important part of writing stories.
This semester, I had the pleasure of working as Superstition Review’s Nonfiction Editor under the supervision of Patricia Murphy and Rebeca Byrkit. My experience was informative and enriching. I read an impressive selection of essays from renowned authors who originate from different backgrounds. Receiving the opportunity to review these authors’ works was one of the most rewarding parts of my experience. I feel honored that these authors submitted their pieces to our magazine.
Another rewarding part of my role was learning more about what editors do. Before assuming this role, I only knew about copy-editing and technical editing. When I realized that magazine editors were responsible for tasks like reading and selecting submissions, contacting authors, and copy editing, I was delighted because I finally felt like I had discovered my calling.
I find nonfiction important because it is a versatile literary genre that can be used to inform readers, document history, and more. This genre is also remarkable because the truths present in nonfiction provide direct links between the author and the audience. The vulnerability and relatability of nonfiction are crucial factors; with them, we can use literature as a tool to understand one another and connect.
The idea of universality and human connection inspired how I evaluated and chose pieces for Issue 29. I wanted to focus on selecting stories that would either hold a mirror to our society or allow readers to appreciate the world from a different perspective. My goal with my selections is to promote empathy and boost the power of human connection through presenting stories that encapsulate emotions that all readers can find relatable. I hope that everyone who reads these selections sees a part of them reflected in the five essays.
If I have to narrow down my editorial preferences, there are two things that make an artwork especially attractive: story and process. As I’ve written in my editor’s note for Issue 28, you can perceive an art piece’s story in a single glance. Sometimes, the story changes or grows the longer you look at it. Oftentimes, the story you see is different from what someone else sees.
I chose the artworks for Issue 28 in hopes that readers will have a fun time exploring the stories each piece tells, and maybe even learn something new from the message each piece conveys. Take our cover artist, Jeff Rivers, for example. The subjects of his art have featureless faces, yet their clothing contains meaningful patterns and the positioning of their bodies exude emotions. Even without knowing Rivers’s inspiration for this collection – Tony Morrison’s Beloved – you can feel the poignant account of Southern life in each piece. Or take Kateryna Bortsova’s acrylic paintings, spread across maps of Spain, Germany, and Jordan. Might the powerful expressions of the male subjects reflect each location’s history? Or a facet of each location’s personality?
Having been acquainted with artists my entire life, and having created art myself, I know the direction of an artwork is formed not just in the first idea but also during the process of creating. When artists pick up their tools, touch their canvas, and play with their composition, they discover new relationships between colors, shapes, textures and other art elements. What gets shared with the world is this personal and oftentimes vulnerable process. I feel this in pieces like Teresa Sites’s colorful collages. There is time-consuming sincerity in the arrangement of each cut of paper, a sincerity that better communicates her theme of movement and music.
My time as an art editor was very fun personally, but I always thought about how readers of Superstition Review might experience the art I select. Whether it is a new story or the process of creating art, or just a relaxing moment, I hope our audience will experience something worthwhile in the work of the artists I have shared with them.
We’re back with another installment of getting to know the Issue 28 contributors! In this post, we hear from some of our Fiction and Nonfiction contributors.
What’s your coffee/tea order?
Katherine Tunning (Fiction) says, “The order goes: coffee on Tuesday, Thursday, and the weekend. Black tea on the other days, plus the coffee days, so I can pretend I don’t have a caffeine problem.”
Kelly Gray (Nonfiction) goes for “dark roast coffee with more cream than you would expect.”
Where do you like to vacation?
Jacqueline Doyle (Nonfiction) says, “It’s nearby, but I always love weekend trips to the Northern California coast.”
Barbara Lock (Fiction) tells us: “I’ll vacation anywhere that provides a washer and dryer, and a chance to get on water! Last summer we paddled on the Colorado, even though the access highway was blocked with half a mountain’s worth of rubble. We took Cottonwood Pass to get from Vail to Glenwood Springs–it was really narrow! The river guide told us that the great thing about driving back on the pass at night was that since we could see all the headlights from far away, we could drive as fast as we liked, ha ha. We didn’t do that though, because we didn’t want to die.”
Melissa Llanes Brownlee lives “in Japan, so anywhere I haven’t been in the country yet, and usually I am camping. If I leave Japan, I like to explore Southeast Asia! Next on my list is Thailand.”
What’s a holiday tradition that you love?
Ashley Wolfe (Nonfiction) shares, “I’m lucky to have a lot of wonderful family traditions. I love cooking a traditional Thanksgiving dinner for a big group of relatives. Baking Christmas cookies with my mom, sister and all our children is another favorite. I also treasure waking up too early on Christmas morning to watch my children discover what Santa left under the tree.”
Kelly explains: “My daughter and I stopped celebrating Thanksgiving many years ago. We take the money we would have spent on food/celebrations and send it to Native run organizations or land trusts. Then, we sit around watching Dolly Parton movies, and now we just refer to it as our own personal Dolly Day.”
Molly Andrea-Ryan (Fiction) says, “My husband and I started a Christmas tradition that I’m pretty fond of. We watch the 1954 White Christmas followed by the 1974 Black Christmas, back to back on the same night. (If you haven’t heard of the latter, it’s a Canadian slasher movie set in a sorority house—and yes, it counts as a Christmas movie. There are Christmas decorations and everything!)”
Tell us about your pets!
Amanda Gaines (Nonfiction) has “two cats—Lady and Carlos. They like to watch squirrels and destroy my house when I’m out of town.”
Erin Murphy (Nonfiction) has “two Siamese cats: Vixen and Djuna. They’re like dogs in cat bodies — they greet you at the door and play fetch. We are in the process of adopting a third cat.”
What are you reading right now?
Molly is “wrapping up Misery right now. Before that, I read a few books by Jennifer McMahon, a contemporary horror novelist from Vermont. I’m also enjoying a few collections of poetry, including “Peculiar Heritage” by DeMisty D. Bellinger—highly recommend.”
For Barbara, “Michael Ondaatje’s Coming Through Slaughter is what I’m reading now. My To Read pile, which takes up six boxes on the upstairs landing of the house, threatens to trip me daily. Right now, Yasunari Kawabata’s Beauty and Sadness and Jenny Offill’s Dept. of Speculation are on top of the pile, but that could change at any moment.”
What are you streaming/watching right now?
Ashley says, “I’m not one to watch much TV on my own, but I do enjoy shows with my husband and kids. As a family, we’re re-watching every season of The Office and eagerly awaiting the Netflix release of Lost in Space season three. My husband and I also just finished watching Squid Game – I’m still not sure how I feel about that one.”
Jaqueline is watching “‘Minari” (finally). Always on the lookout for Scandinavian noir releases on Netflix.”
Molly tells us: “I just finished a months-long binge of the Sopranos and a days-long binge of Midnight Mass. Oh, and the Bachelorette is back. Seinfeld’s on Netflix now. I’m not gonna lie, I watch a lot of TV.”
If you could instantly learn any language, what would you choose? Why?
Amanda wants to learn “French, so I can watch Amelie without the subtitles.”
Melissa would go for “Korean – I love Kpop and Korean food. Also Hawaiian, because I feel disconnected from my heritage sometimes.”
Katherine says, “I guess Japanese, because I’m currently trying to learn it the traditional, non-instant way, and it turns out that takes kind of a long time.”
What’s the next thing on your bucket list?
Erin tells us: “My niece convinced me to sing along to her new karaoke machine recently, so now I want to try singing karaoke in a club.”
Jacqueline is excited for “a trip to Paris.”
Katherine says, “it is probably tempting fate to say ‘publish a book,’ but: Publish a book.”
What is your most-used phone app?
For Amanda, it’s “Google Docs—I’m not that cool.”
Jacqueline and Barbara both make extensive use of Waze to shave time off their travels.
Melissa: “*whispers* Twitter.”
What song can you listen to on repeat without it getting old?
Ashley loves “anything by the Beatles. And ‘I Feel It Coming’ by The Weekend.”
Kelly enjoys “‘Over Your Shoulder’ by Calexico.”
Erin chose “‘Radar Love’ by Golden Earring (also the first song I chose on my niece’s karaoke machine).”
Thank you to these contributors for helping us get to know them! We can’t wait for the Issue 28 virtual launch party on November 30!
In this semester of acting as SR’s poetry editor, I have learned three very important things about working in an editorial role. It’s okay to trust your gut, it’s okay to ask for a second opinion, and having conversations about what you do and don’t like about writing is the best way to discover your own biases around art and poetry in particular. I think it’s very important to be knowledgeable of your biases before reading pieces critically, and will help to generate the most diverse group of submissions for publication. Getting into the editing was the hardest part for me, especially at the very beginning. There are times when insecurity wants to take over and you worry you can’t tell the difference between a great poem and a simply okay poem. But that insecurity really leaves quickly once you’re actually in the thick of it, and get to rise to the occasion by showcasing some excellent submissions for our readers. That has definitely been my favorite part of the editing process, finding the ones that really stand out.
To me, poetry is an excellent window into other people, and is a great demonstration of what the humanities can be. Through poetry, we learn to demonstrate a lot of complex thoughts and feelings, and how we interpret them is indicative of our own perspectives and experiences we bring to the table. The coolest part to me, is how much variation poetry can utilize, and the fact that each poem is fully dependent on the voice of its author. I feel like poetry is one of the most intimate forms of expression, and one of the most creative and expansive outlets that humans have.
For Issue 28, I started by reading each submission and giving my instinctual vote on it, usually in the form of a Yes, No, or Maybe. I am a little more forgiving in this step of the process. Once I’ve selected my Yes’s and Maybe’s, I then re-read them more critically, analyzing the content, composition, and craft to try and narrow down the best top ten submissions for the magazine. The act of collaborating with the Poetry team on the final selections is the most exciting part of the whole semester, outside of the actual publication itself! The role of Poetry Editor has taught me so much about curating selections for readers and how to trust your own opinion in the way that your peers and readers trust you to show them great pieces of work.
Join Superstition Review in reading our favorite books. Below is a list of recommendations from Superstition Review’s trainees and interns.
I recommend On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean Vuong. Written in letter format, Vuong’s story of his life as an immigrant is told with vulnerability and grace. He remembers his childhood in the US along with the stories that his mother and grandmother told him from their lives in Vietnam. Throughout the novel, Vuong realizes truths about himself and his family. I was immersed by the lyrical style and was impressed by how Vuong’s imagery stood out- this truly is a unique novel.
Madeline Lewis, Content Coordinator
I’d like to recommend Jay Heinrichs’ Thank You for Arguing because I have found it to be a very useful guide in learning the art of persuasion and the power of compromise through agreement. It’s a fun read with the author’s humor and difficult concepts are simplified for the average reader. I would highly encourage people to give it a read since it’s an entertaining and informative book.
Kayla Morales, Advertising Coordinator
Born A Crime by Trevor Noah. This book is an autobiography about Noah’s childhood in apartheid and post-apartheid South Africa. Being mixed-race, Noah was literally a crime, and couldn’t be seen in public with neither of his parents. It’s a hilarious and mind-opening story about race, identity, and family.
Khanh Nguyen, Trainee
My book recommendation is Children of the Land by Marcelo Hernandez Castillo. It is a memoir and it is absolutely heart wrenching, captivating, and beautiful. Although it is a memoir, its form becomes poetry and then prose and then narrative and it is so intelligent! It is also great to learn about immigration issues in the United States and it is so relatable for Latinx immigrants in the United States. I found a home in this book.
Carolina Quintero, Poetry Editor
Welcome to Night Vale by Joesph Fink and Jefferey Cranor. I chose this book because I absolutely love the podcast that led to this book. The characters are compelling, as is the world that the two authors have created. But, most of all, I love the writing style of the Welcome to Night Vale series. The unorthodox descriptions and the ways that the authors play with tropes are so interesting to me, and I love to read interesting stories about interesting people.
Charlie Saifi, Social Media Manager
Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides. Middlesex explores gender identity and the problem space of societal norms and expectations of gender roles. The novel follows a Greek family, particularly an intersex individual named Cal, as they hide, ignore, understand and accept that their gender identities don’t match those shown in and perpetuated by popular culture. A beautifully-written, page-turning story, it’s no surprise it won a Pulitzer Prize. I love this book because it challenges gender stereotypes and investigates the complexities of defining people.
Sara Walker, Trainee
The Dreamers by Karen Thompson Walker. This book is about a small college town that is plagued by a sleeping sickness. The difficulties faced by Walker’s characters mirror some of the current challenges we are all facing during the global pandemic. Reading this novel inspired me to consider how important it is to take care of one’s community in trying and uncertain times. Compassion and empathy can get us through any hardship.
Superstition Review is always looking to celebrate the achievements of past contributors and interns, which are featured in our weekly contributor and intern updates posted here on the blog. We now have an easier way for past contributors and interns to reach out to us with news of their literary and academic accomplishments. Updates can be submitted by following a link to Submittable, an online submission form found on the front page of our magazine, or by clicking here.
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