Hunger is everywhere and anywhere. And, thanks to pandemics, conflicts and climate change and politics, it’s on the rise big time. Just google “hunger” and you’ll see what’s going on.
In case you didn’t know, poets are fighting back.
Hiram Larew, Ph.d. founded www.poetryxhunger.com in 2017 to put poets and creatives to work bringing awareness to the persistent problem of global hunger. The initiative is his call for poets to write about hunger, because he believes that poetry has the power to touch hearts and minds in a way that statistics can struggle to communicate.
In his own words:
I founded Poetry X Hunger a few years ago to bring a world of poets to the anti-hunger cause. With partners like the United Nations, Feed the Children, arts councils and many food banks, more than 400 poems by poets near and far are now published on the website.
And, those poems are being put to work.
In 2023, Poetry X Hunger poets along with other creatives used readings and auctions to raise more than $10,000 US for global and US-based hunger-fighting organizations like Seed Programs International and Roots for Life. And yes, Feed the Children featured a Poetry X Hunger poem as voiceover in an internationally-aired Public Service Announcement. Even more recently, another poem on the website was selected as the lyric for a newly commissioned composition featuring a string quartet and a chorale. The soon-to-be released recording is amazing.
All to say, poets are turning their poetry into food.
Join us by writing and submitting your poetry about empty-stomach poetry for possible publication on the website. Here are the Submission Guidelines. The organization can be contacted at PoetryXHunger@gmail.com.
Since earning two degrees from Oregon State University (an MS in Botany and Plant Pathology in 1977 and a PhD in Entomology in 1981) Dr. Hiram Larew rose to prominence in the science, policy, and management of the US Government’s international agricultural sciences programs. Dr. Larew has won the hearts and minds of people around the world by helping to fill empty stomachs. His poetry has been nominated four times for national Pushcart Prizes, and he has received grants from the Maryland State Arts Council and the Prince George’s Arts and Humanities Council for his poetry activities. His poems have appeared widely in journals and books in the U.S., Germany, Britain, Nigeria, The Netherlands, Ireland and elsewhere. His fourth collection, Undone, was published in 2018 by FootHills Publishing. You can find out more about Hiram’s own poetry on his website.
Congratulations to After Dinner Conversation literary magazine on the recent publication of their first themed short story collection! Technology Ethics is part of a series of nine themed editions the magazine is releasing throughout 2024.
The dawn of AI, transhumanism, and robotics, will rise just like the sun, inexorably, and we are now struggling to imagine that future, to understand what it might mean for humanity when/if something else takes the wheel. There is no doubt now that AI will surpass our abilities in many areas: radiological analysis, data entry, medical diagnosis, paralegal research, and the list expands daily, as does the worry surrounding the disruption to our jobs, and to our lives.
This issue of ADC speaks to the growing unease with respect to our loss of control and our involuntary delegation of decision-making to technology. This powerful and accelerating wave will be transformative.
Deborah Serra – Technology Ethics Edition Editor
You can purchase the Technology Ethics collection on Amazon. Their next collection, Crimes and Punishments is available for preorder and will be released on February 21!
This collection has already received well-deserved praise:
“These collections can offer a spine for such courses, or the individual stories could be added to a course as illustrative material to stimulate discussion; outside of educational contexts, they work nicely to stimulate conversation in families, elder hostels, youth clubs, or book groups.”
Luc Bovens, PhD – Philosophy Professor, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
After Dinner Conversation is an independent, nonprofit, literary magazine that focuses on short story fiction that encourages philosophical and ethical discussions with friends, family, and students. Each story comes with five suggested discussion questions. You can discover more on their website and social media: fxi.
Congratulations to our friends at El Martillo Press for their launch this past June.
About El Martillo:
El Martillo Press publishes writers whose pens strike the page with clear intent; words with purpose to pry apart assumed norms and to hammer away at injustice. El Martillo Press proactively publishes writers looking to pound the pavement to promote their work and the work of their fellow pressmates. Founded in Los Angeles in 2023 by Matt Sedillo and David A. Romero, and launched with a diverse group of celebrated and hardworking writers who embody our working-class intellectual spirit, El Martillo Press maintains an editorial board that makes its selections for publishing.
CEO, EL Martillo Press
Matt Sedillo has been described as the “best political poet in America” as well as “the poet laureate of the struggle.” He is a co-founder and CEO of El Martillo Press. His work has drawn comparisons in print to Bertolt Brecht, Roque Dalton, Amiri Baraka, Alan Ginsberg, Carl Sandburg and various other legends of the past.
David A. Romero is a Mexican-American spoken word artist from Diamond Bar, CA. Romero is a co-founder and editor-in-chief of El Martillo Press. Romero is the author of My Name Is Romero (FlowerSong Press, 2020).
WE STILL BE: Poems and Performances by Paul S. Flores
The long-awaited full-length debut of poems by the nationally-celebrated, award-winning spoken word artist, playwright, and educator Paul S. Flores, WE STILL BE: Poems and Performances, is a collection that masterfully weaves together political and personal testimonies. WE STILL BE speaks to issues of gentrification, mixed Latino identity, masculinity, machismo, incarceration, systemic racism, racial unity, fatherhood, and more.
“Paul S. Flores unlocks the hot key, the people’s voice, and the Spanglish ritmoRhythm on how to write our story. He swags us into the soul and soulfulness of our life-chapters and our plight in the USA. It is a personal mambo, a face-to-face truth riffin’ us into a “Spanglish mandala of hope,” at last. We never again will ask ourselves “Who am I?” “Who are we?” Flores is not afraid to speak of his wounds of familia-yes, he is intimate, he is loving. He escorts us through the Bay Area, land of poets, artists, musicians, and muralists-he is part of that, he is all that-and we will be as we enter this world. Don’t forget: Huey Newton, Lolita Lebrón, and José Feliciano in this salsa history bowl that will light you up all the way to feverish happiness. Flores is a master weaver, with a blazing kaleidoscopic lamp that reveals and embodies our lives. No book like this one in the last 50 years.”
—Juan Felipe Herrera, Poet Laureate of the United States, Emeritus, winner of the Ruth Lily Prize, 2022, and Robert Frost Lifetime Achievement Medal, 2023
A Crown of Flames: Selected Poems & Aphorisms By Flaminia Cruciani
“Flaminia Cruciani’s language holds the vivid and evocative between its fingers like glue and lets us see the natural world and mysteries of the cosmos. A Crown of Flames is a celebration that delves into the mysteries of human civilization, illuminating the hidden depths of our shared human experience. Cruciani’s words evoke a sense of awe and reverence for the natural world. Each poem in this collection feels like a masterful exploration of the soul, inviting readers to see the world in new and profound ways.”
—Tshaka Campbell, Santa Clara County Poet Laureate, author of Tunnel Vision (NaturalKink Enterprises, 2018)
“Flaminia Cruciani’s A Crown of Flames is a lush, often times terrifying, mythic, end/restart of civilization-a tour of the history of literature, philosophy, and western ideals-churning images that range between pastoral and apocalyptic. A book of revelations-quixotic, Odyssean, Catholic, and quintessentially Italian.”
—Linda Ravenswood, Winner of the Oxford Prize in Poetry and Edwin Markham Prize in Poetry
“The daughterland is a Plathian interrogation of Mexican motherhood during the regressive Covid-era by a mother who was a daughter during the arms race, Ronald Reagan, and socially-accepted toxic masculinity. Garcia’s poems are the secrets parents wish they didn’t have to keep to themselves.”
—Michelle Cruz Gonzales, Musician, professor, author of The Spitboy Tales of a Xicana in a Female Punk Band
“Margaret Elysia Garcia may be my favorite living poet, a maestra of the form. In our era of sacrifice, young blood spilled, and hummingbirds that fly too close to the sun, Garcia tenders her exquisite language, late-stage lyricism, & fullnamed, full-throated mestiza cri de cuento.”
—Susie Bright, author of Susie Bright’s Sexual State of the Union and Big Sex Little: A Memoir
God of the Air Hose and Other Blue-Collar Poems By Ceasar K. Avelar
“Ceasar K. Avelar swings a Central American hammer in poems that sing the working life while also decrying the gaps and empties. He’s a powerful voice from the Central American migrant stream essential to the ‘essential workers’ risking life and family to keep economies going, even in pandemics.”
—Luis J. Rodriguez, former Los Angeles Poet Laureate, author of Borrowed Bones: New Poems from the Poet Laureate of Los Angeles
”Ceasar Avelar writes for the people in the trenches, for the marginalized, for those who sometimes feel as though they have no voice. The power of his words jump from the page. He is not writing to impress, he is writing to inspire.”
—Jeffery Martin, author of Ripples, Shadows & Huddled Scraps
“Through his palabras, Donato Martinez presents and pays homage to the many men and women who often are excluded from our history books. He acknowledges their being, their presence, and the many contributions they make to our everyday life. Donato’s poems make sure that we recognize their sudor, their hours of excessive work, and understand that they keep our cities in motion.”
—Angelina F. Veyna, Emeritus Professor of History, Santa Ana College
“Touch the Sky is a collection of silent prayers told over the beds of sleeping children, dreams of blacktop crossovers, Dorrito sandwiches, and the return of Aztec gods. At once modern and ancient, urban and sacred, Donato Martinez’s debut book Touch the Sky mines the everyday for the profound. Martinez turns his eye just outside the window and finds heaven in the streets and alleys. This is Chicano city writing. And it’s damn good.”
—Matt Sedillo, author of Mowing Leaves of Grass and City on the Second Floor
John Reed has recently published The Never End: The Other Orwell, the Cold War, the CIA, and the Origin of Animal Farm.
In The Never End, John Reed collects two decades of subject-Orwell findings previously published in PANK, Guernica, Literary Hub, The Brooklyn Rail, The Rumpus, The New York Press, The Believer, Harper’s Magazine, and The Paris Review. Reed views Orwell in a twenty-first century global context, considering Orwell’s collaboration with Cold War intelligence operations in the U.S. and UK with unfaltering objectivity and a corrective and peerlessly contemporary lens. The Never End is at once a hatchet job and a celebration. It’s hard to imagine that Orwell—in our own moment of global doublethink—wouldn’t have wanted his devotion to contrariety applied to the literary legacy he left behind.
Reed’s perspective on Orwell has already garnered extensive praise from The New York Times, Publishers Weekly, Guernica, and Popmatters.
“John Reed challenges us deeply with his elegant September 11 updating of Orwell’s Animal Farm.” —Richard Falk, professor at Princeton University.
“Some books double as a matchstick: if struck in the right conditions, they can cause a wildfire.” —The Rumpus
“Reed skewers our early twenty-first century (edgy, tragic, absurd) with a marvelously precise wit.” —Locus Magazine
“John Reed has been writing hard-to-classify books for over a decade, to great acclaim and sometimes greater notoriety.” —Bomb Magazine
John grew up in the shadow of the Towers, born to prominent downtown artists Judy Rifka and David Reed. John is an American novelist who wrote “A Still Small Voice,” “Snowball’s Chance” with a preface by Alexander Cockburn, “All the World’s a Grave: A New Play by William Shakespeare,” “The Whole,” “Tales of Woe,” “Free Boat: Collected Lies and Love Poems,” “A Drama In Time: The New School Century,” and “The Family Dolls: A Manson Paper + Play Book.” He holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Columbia University. His work has been widely published in journals including ElectricLit, the Brooklyn Rail, Tin House, Paper Magazine, Artforum, Hyperallergic, Bomb Magazine, Art in America, the Los Angeles Times, the Believer, the Rumpus, Observer, the PEN Poetry Series, the Daily Beast, Gawker, Slate, the Paris Review, the Times Literary Supplement, the Wall Street Journal, Vice, The New York Times, Harpers, and Rolling Stone, and anthologized in Best American Essays (Houghton Mifflin). HIs works have been translated and performed worldwide, and his films have been distinguished at festivals internationally. A two-term board member of the National Book Critics Circle, he is currently Associate Professor and Director in the MFA in Creative Writing at The New School.
Nothing Follows (Texas Tech University Press, 2023)
In Nothing Follows, published by Texas Tech University Press, Lan P. Duong explores the girlhood of Vietnamese refugees through government documents, memoir, and poetry. Their sanctuary in the US, however, is questionable in the aftermath of the Vietnam War, and they face racism, objectification, and violence.
Lan P. Duong is Associate Professor in Cinema & Media Studies at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles. Her research areas include Feminist Film Theory, Postcolonial Literature, Asian American Cinema, and Genre Studies. She is the author of Treacherous Subjects: Gender, Culture, and Trans-Vietnamese Feminism (Temple University Press, 2012). Duong’s creative works have appeared in Watermark: Vietnamese American Poetry and Prose, Bold Words: Asian American Writing to Span the Centuries, Tilting the Continent: Southeast Asian American Writing, Frontiers: A Journal of Women’s Studies, and Crab Orchard Review. She lives in Pasadena, California. To learn more, visit her website.
Lan P. Duong’s debut collection is forthcoming April, 2023, but you can pre-order it here.
Nothing Follows is part of the Diasporic Vietnamese Artists Network Series, an on-going project to “foster dialogue and understanding by supporting contemporary Vietnamese and Southeast Asian authors whose rich and complex stories need to be championed and heard. It supports a range of works including novels, memoirs, poetry, anthologies, and graphic novels.” DVAN‘s first book in the series is Abbigail Rosewood’s Constellations of Eve.
On the 5th of every month, Superstition Review releases its newsletter. This free subscription updates readers on everything new with Superstition Review and the literary community. February’s newsletter, which comes out this Sunday, lets subscribers read about upcoming blog posts, Jae Nichelle (a poet who will appear in Issue 31), Paul Harding (a Pulitzer-Prize winning author), and an intriguing literary challenge.
Superstition Review’s newsletter is read by 10,000 people around the country. To join them in time to receive this month’s newsletter, type your name and email address into the box titled “Subscribe to Our Newsletter” on the right—no fee required!
Ten Planets: Stories (Graywolf Press, 2023) | Yuri Herrera
Congratulations to Yuri Herrera for his new collection Ten Plants: Stories, published by Graywolf Press and translated from Spanish by Lisa Dillman. Although often set in the future or on distant planets, each story deals poignantly (and sometimes hilariously) with the present. In “The Conspirators,” Herrera comments on both language and colonization. When describing the depth of what was stolen from them, one character reveals, “‘They made our language theirs, said it was theirs and always had been, and then imposed it on us so we’d forget that it had been ours, turned it into a broad brush to paint us in whatever way they pleased.'”
Many are filled with strange, compelling contradictions and other haunting lines. In “The Obituarist,” the protagonist observes that “this empty street, just like every empty street in every other city, is teeming with people.” Each of Herrera’s stories bewilders, but always in a way that generates connections between seemingly disparate ideas. This collection is powerful and imaginative.
Utterly brilliant, hilarious, and original, these strange jewels. Anyone whose hand alights on this book and does not open it is missing out on the best work of our time.
Deb olin unferth
Born in Actopan, Mexico, Yuri Herrera is the author of three novels, including Signs Preceding the End of the World, which was one of the Guardian’s “100 Best Books of the 21st Century” and won the Best Translated Book Award. He teaches at Tulane University in New Orleans.
Brilliant, ecstatic, and playful, Ten Planets is the work of one of the most original and prodigiously gifted writers at work today. . . . The infinite worlds of Ten Planets are further proof that Herrera is a writer of boundless talent.
HomeLands, the title of this year’s Romanian film festival, is showcasing three new movies from Romanian and European directors: Metronom, The Island, and Things Worth Weeping For. This event takes place Nov. 19 and 20 at Majestic Tempe 7. Thirty free tickets will be available to students on a first-come, first-serve basis.
People ages 18-25 who watch these movies are eligible to enter the film festival’s essay contest. Between 800-1,000 words, these essays are personal responses to one of the movies (not reviews). Submitters are encouraged to “explore what you think the film is about, using clear references from the film to illustrate your personal point of view. Refer to specific scenes, lines, shots, as well as creative choices in acting, sound design, writing, directing, cinematography.”
The winner of the contest will receive $250, and the runner-up will receive $150. Both will be featured on ARCS Arizona’s website and social media. The essay must be submitted by Nov. 30th.
To learn more about the contest and submit your essay, go here.
Pictures of Amsterdam University College’s creative writing students
Amsterdam University College’s two creative writing classes are hoping for hands-on experience with literary magazines by reading through Superstition Review’s poetry submissions. They’ve interviewed SR’s poetry editors—Madison Latham and Au’jae Mitchell—to better understand what SR looks for in a poem, how they balance reading submissions between them, and to get to know them. Some responses have been edited for clarity.
Amsterdam University College: What are your criteria for choosing poems?
Au’jae Mitchell: My main criteria for choosing poems is rooted in three questions: Does it incite feelings inside me? Does it feel like the poem has something important to say? And is it unique? A poem or collection of poems that has a positive answer to all three of these questions is one that I contend for and am passionate about. Poetry is an artistic form of expression that ranges in structure and execution, but every poem, despite this diversity, can accomplish absolutely powerful things.
AUC: Do you discuss with one another what you choose or do you split work between the two of you? How long does it take for the two of you to agree? What’s the collaboration aspect between you?
Madison Latham: We use a platform called Submittable. Our founding editor, Patricia Murphy, assigns us poems to read through and vote on. We vote on the same poems and meet with each other—as well as Patricia at the end of September—and discuss the poems we voted yes on.
AUC: Do you consider the poets’ experience or amount they’ve published?
ML: We publish both emerging and established authors. This could range between one and a hundred previously published poems, to someone who is a part of an MFA program.
AUC: Is there a limited number of pieces you can publish in a given issue?
ML: There is no cap for how many authors we will take. In previous issues, it has ranged from 10-15, but we decide based on the poet and the collection of poems they have submitted. We may publish one of their poems, or all of their poems. It can vary, but there is no set number during a reading period.
AUC: To what extent do you edit the poems before publishing them?
ML: We do not. There are no revisions accepted for poetry submissions. If a poem needs revising, we vote against it. We get so many submissions that we always have enough polished poems to publish.
AUC: Is there any content that you refuse to publish?
AM: We do not publish harmful, disparaging, or discriminatory content.
AUC: How do you decide on the order in which the poems are published?
ML: Poetry is published in the issue alphabetically by the author’s first name. Each author receives a page that includes their bio, headshot, selected poems, and an audio recording of those poems. Issue 29 demonstrates how the poetry section is organized.
AUC: How many submissions do you get in a submission window?
AM: This semester we received more than 422 submissions in poetry. These were narrowed down to 55 submissions to consider for Issue 30 of Superstition Review.
AUC: Do you write poetry?
ML: I do! I finished my capstone in poetry at ASU last semester (Spring 2022). I still write poetry in my free time, but I also enjoy reading work by other poets—which is why I wanted this position.
AM: I do write poetry! I write poetry in my free time between research for my Master’s program and my narrative writing. It is very hard for me to sit down and write poetry, so most of the poetry I write I jot down in my notes at spontaneous times during any given day and build upon that initial thought.
AUC: Is there anything you’d like to add?
ML: Thank you for your interest in SR and our work! We accept submissions from any creative writer that is not an ASU undergraduate. Our submission period for Issue 30 has closed, but we will begin accepting submissions for Issue 31 in January 2023.
AM: To any aspiring poets, writers, or artists, I encourage you to consider submitting to Superstition Review. And to all creative minds out there considering putting themselves and their work “out there” for consideration, I believe in you and what you can do!
AUC’s creative writing classes consist of 25 students, each with different majors and many from international backgrounds. Later, they will be selecting poetry from Superstition Review‘s submissions, which will appear on our blog!
Equatorial is a literary magazine dedicated to publishing talented undergraduate poets. Its founding editor, Benjamin Faro, is pursuing his MFA in Poetry at Queens University of Charlotte.
Issue One of Equatorial featured five outstanding students and focused on themes of exploration. Submissions for Issue Two of Equatorial will be open until November 30, 2022. Read Equatorial‘s guidelines and submit here!