A photo of Alice Kaltman

Alice Kaltman’s Almost Deadly, Almost Good


Alice Kaltman’s short story collection Almost Deadly, Almost Good will be released this November, published by the Word West Press. Kaltman’s book features fourteen interlinked short stories: the first embody the seven deadly sins, the last the seven heavenly virtues. With rich, reoccurring characters and compelling plots, Kaltman creates a collection that’s impossible to put down.

Kaltman’s opening story “Sunset Lounge (Lust)” follows a woman pining after her daughter’s attractive older boyfriend. In an unexpected but riveting twist, we discover tantalizing details about the boyfriend in “A Fancy Job (Gluttony),” and the ultimate conclusion comes in “Knickers in a Twist (Charity).” Just as the stories are linked, Almost Deadly, Almost Good links good and bad, with a special attention to gender and class.

Story after brilliantly written story, we’re shown our own fears, our own foibles, our own forbidden desires, and tenderest heartaches. These are stories of human beings under pressure, at their most “changeable” moments, and we readers can’t look away. Nor do we want to. With candor, wisdom, and humor, almost deadly, almost good  reminds us to be good to ourselves and to each other for we are all at once, beautiful and aching and ridiculous.

Kathy Fish, Author of Wildlife: Collected Works from 2003-2018

Alice Kaltman is the author of Staggerwing, Dawg Towne, Wavehouse, and The Tantalizing Tale of Grace Minnaugh. To learn more about Kaltman, visit her website.

To preorder Almost Deadly, Almost Good, go here.


We’re also very excited to share an interview that dives deeper into Kaltman’s collection. This interview was conducted via email by our Blog Editor, Brennie Shoup.

Brennie Shoup: Could you discuss your inspirations for Almost Deadly, Almost Good?

Alice Kaltman: The original idea for a linked collection occurred to me after I wrote the first story in the book, Sunset Lounge. It was so clearly a story about LUST that it got me thinking how fun it would be to create a chapbook based on the Seven Deadly Sins. I already had a few stories and characters that fit the bill for other Sins: Greedy Senator Levinson from Into the Woods, poor languorous Cecil from Cecil’s New Friends, envious Greta from Come On Over to My Place. Once I’d finished the other sinful stories, I fiddled with content to link them. Characters appear deeply in the plots of other stories, or sometimes they just pass by. So much fun!

BS: This collection is full of humor. Could you discuss this humor and how you balanced it with more serious themes?

AK: I’ve always felt that pathos is more tolerable if it can be softened with humor. That’s not always the case, and there are writers out there who do gut-punching stuff that I love, that make me weep. Sometimes tragedy needs to stand on its own broken, bloody legs. But in my own writing, I veer towards the humorous. It makes it feel more human and authentic to my vision of people and the crazy misguided things they do. I’ve been a psychotherapist for over 30 years. If you can’t laugh, you’ll sink. Need I say more? 

BS: Despite its title and theme, most of the stories in this collection don’t appear to be explicitly religious. What made you choose the motif of the seven deadly sins and seven heavenly virtues? 

AK: I can’t recall who it was, but I mentioned this project to someone along the way and they said, “Hey, why don’t you do the Heavenly Virtues also?” I had no idea what the Seven Heavenly Virtues were. I’m an agnostic Jew, who veers towards the areligious. And Jews don’t really ‘do’ sins and virtues. But I looked the Virtues up and …goldmine. I fiddled with new content and old content, pulled some sections from my novel Dawg Towne, added some new stories and revisited old ones. It was super fun to change POVs, add links that weren’t there before, change timelines, etc. Plagiarizing one’s own work is one of a writer’s deepest pleasures. Or at least one of mine.

A photo of Su Cho.

Su Cho’s The Symmetry of Fish


Congratulations to Su Cho for her debut poetry collection The Symmetry of Fish, published by Penguin Books. Winner of the National Poetry Series, Cho’s collection explores immigration, family, and language. At the heart of the collection is a coming-of-age narrative, and Cho offers insights about how language changes and condenses over generations, not diluted but distilled.

Each year, the National Poetry Series chooses five poetry manuscripts to publish, with the goal of increasing the number of poetry collections published and available. Paige Lewis, author of Space Struck, chose Su Cho’s manuscript for publication.

In her debut collection, The Symmetry of Fish, Su Cho presents us with a speaker who attempts to separate seemingly unlike things: the religious and flippant, the fishbone from the flesh, herself from her memories. In one poem Cho writes of a desire ‘to isolate these moments / pipette them into test tubes / whirl them in a centrifuge.’ Lucky for us, this turns out to be an impossible endeavor. Instead, we are graced with a glorious combination of the incompatible…

Paige lewis, author of Space Struck

Su Cho’s essay “Cleaving Translation” won the 2019 Wabash Prize in Nonfiction. She was a finalist for the 2019 Black Warrior Review Nonfiction Contest and nominated for the Pushcart Prize. To learn more about her, visit her website.

This poetry is quite marvelous. All hits no skips. I was incredibly moved by these poems about family and immigration and the relationship we have to languages. I particularly loved the poem about translating for parents. I look forward to more from Su Cho.

Roxane gay, author of Hunger

The Symmetry of Fish will be available October 11, 2022. To preorder the collection, go here.

SR Staff Book Picks

SR Staff Book Picks


We’re back with another installment of SR’s book picks. Here are some of the books the SR staff is reading right now along with some of our all-time favorites. Happy reading everyone!

What we’re reading right now:

Our trainee Guillerly is reading Cthulhu Mythos Tales by H.P. Lovecraft. She likes “The in-depth descriptions of the environment. She says “it’s very immersive.”

Teri, our Content Coordinator, is reading Fever Dream by Samantha Schweblin because “The exclusive use of dialogue to tell a mind-bending and eerie story is unique and striking.”

For her fiction writing class, Hannah, one of our Fiction editors, is reading The Art of the Novel by Milan Kundera. “I like that Kundera looks at the novel as something profound and an exploration of the self,” says Coleman.

Bailey, our trainee, is reading The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes by Suzanne Collins. She says, “I like the Hunger Games series and was excited to see the prequel come out. It’s been on my list to read for a while.”

What we’re reading next:

Daniel, a Fiction Editor, is going to read The Treasury of the Fantastic edited by David Sander & Jacob Weisman. He says that he’s “recently become interested in reading fantasy stories that were published before Tolkien’s time. This anthology brings together fantasy stories written by the greatest writers in the 19th and 20th centuries.”

Our Advertising Coordinator Au’jae says that she is, “reading The Source of Self Regard by Toni Morrison next because she is one of my favorite authors, and as someone who struggles to be immersed by nonfiction, this book of essays should be immensely interested given Morrison wrote it.”

Khanh, our Editor-In-Chief, says, “I’ve been reading non-fiction for a while now, so I’d like to return to fiction with On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean Vuong.”

Taylor, the Blog Editor, will be reading The Scene Book: A Primer for the Fiction Writer by Sandra Scofield. “I’m excited to read this to gain better insight on how to become a better writer and how to write a great scene,” she says.

What we recommend:

Ashley, our Art Editor would recommend The Midnight Library by Matt Haig. “I just finished this book and it changed my perspective on life. It also calmed my anxiety and stress more than I thought it would,” she says.

Interview Editor Veronica recommends Crying in H Mart by Michelle Zauner. “It was an incredibly touching, lyrical memoir, and I cried in every single chapter. It explores Zauner’s relationship with herself, her mother, and her experience as an Asian American woman. The complexities of that exploration were something that I definitely resonated with, and I think even those who don’t identify as Asian American would still love this stunning memoir.”

Anna, a trainee, says her favorites are The Host by Stephine Meyers “because it was my first starter sci-fi type book” or the Fablehaven series by Brandon Mull “for people who like more realistic fantasy.”

Kate, a Social Media Coordinator, “recommend[s] Eckert Tolle’s novel The Power of Now. It offers valuable tips on how to practice mindfulness, which has been helpful given my busy schedule!


We hope that you enjoyed our book choices and gain inspiration for what to read next. Tell us what you’re reading in the comments below!

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.

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!

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!

Issue 26 Launch

We hope you can join us for our virtual launch party for Issue 26 on December 1st from 5:00-6:00pm MST / Arizona time. We will celebrate the release of our Social Justice Issue with a reading from Alberto Rios. The event will take place virtually via Zoom. We look forward to seeing you there!

A Little Bit About Our Featured Reader: Alberto Ríos, Arizona’s inaugural poet laureate and a recent chancellor of the Academy of American Poets, is the author of twelve collections of poetry, most recently, Not Go Away Is My Name, preceded by A Small Story about the Sky, The Dangerous Shirt, and The Theater of Night, which received the PEN/Beyond Margins Award Published in the New YorkerParis ReviewPloughshares, and other journals, he has also written three short story collections and a memoir, Capirotada, about growing up on the Mexican border, with a novel forthcoming, A Good Map of All Things.  Ríos is also the host of the PBS programs Art in the 48 and Books & Co.  University Professor of Letters, Regents’ Professor, Virginia G. Piper Chair in Creative Writing, and the Katharine C. Turner Chair in English, Ríos has taught at Arizona State University since 1982.  In 2017, he was named director of the Virginia G. Piper Center for Creative Writing at Arizona State University.

BIPOC Creator: Leslie Marmon Silko

Join us in taking a look at our first BIPOC creator feature, Leslie Maron Silko. In this series, we will attempt to highlight female and BIPOC creators to go along with this semester’s theme of social justice.

Leslie Marmon Silko was born was born in Albuquerque, New Mexico near the Laguna Pueblo reservation and stayed there until she graduated from the University of New Mexico. She is a Native American author and an influential figure in the 21st century Native American Renaissance. She is the author of eleven novels and has codified several traditional stories from the Laguna Pueblo Tribe. Her writing ranges from Native American folklore to postmodern literature, and focuses heavily on the presence of racism and white imperialism in America. One theme that is of particular interest in her writing is time as a circular concept, as most Native American communities view it. Her writing draws from the cultures and traditions she grew up immersed in and the struggles for Native American communities to retain their identity in an Anglicized America. Leslie, along with being a Native American rights activist, is also an avid women’s rights activist. Leslie has taught at several universities across the United States including two in Arizona, Navajo Community College and University of Arizona.

Be sure to check out what Poets.org and the Poetry Foundation have to say about Leslie.

ASU’s Common Read to Host Jonathan Safran Foer

Join Arizona State University’s Department of English in welcoming author Jonathan Safran Foer at a virtual event to be hosted on October 1, 2020 from 6:00-7:30 p.m. The goal of the Common Read program is to have incoming freshman read and write about a topic of interest that relates to ASU’s mission for change. For this event, the focus will be on environmental protection, as is described in Jonathan’s book We Are the Weather: Saving the Planet Begins at Breakfast. The event, where Jonathan will discuss his book and answer questions from students and staff, is free and open to the public. More information about the event and a link to register for the reading can be found here.

You can find out more about Jonathan and his latest book here and more about ASU’s Common Read here.