Issue 32 Launch Party

Issue 32 Launch Party

The Launch Party for Issue 32 will be held over Zoom on December 1st, from 11:00 am – 12:00 pm MST. It is free and open to the public.

The party will include statements by the editors, and a roundtable discussion on collaborative writing with Issue 32 contributors Bruce Bond, Dan Beachy-Quick, Kim Magowen, and Michelle Ross.

We hope to celebrate with you!

Bruce Bio 2

Dan Bio
Michelle Bio

Register now for our online launch party for Issue 32.

John Reed’s The Never End

John Reed’s The Never End

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 HousePaper Magazine, Artforum, Hyperallergic, Bomb MagazineArt in America, the Los Angeles Times, the Believer, the RumpusObserver, the PEN Poetry Series, the Daily Beast, Gawker, Slate, the Paris Review, the Times Literary Supplement, the Wall Street Journal, ViceThe New York TimesHarpers, 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.

Order a copy of “The Never End” here.

Literary Happenings at ASU this November

Literary Happenings at ASU this November

The Department of English at Arizona State University is putting on a series of informative and educational events this October. Take a look at some of the happenings on campus:

Shakespeare at 400—’Making Shakespeare: The First Folio’ | November 8th

Arizona State University presents a screening of excerpts from the brand new PBS “Great Performances” documentary: “Making Shakespeare: The First Folio.” Shakespeare scholars Ayanna Thompson, Eric Rasmussen and Sir Jonathan Bate– all of whom appear as experts in the film – provide insights and information. ASU Scholar Ruben Espinosa moderates and provides additional insight.

Shakespeare at 400: From Fiction to Fact is an ASU celebration of the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s First Folio, the first published collection of 36 of Shakespeare’s plays. The celebration is led by staff and scholars in the Department of English and is informed by the university’s enormous strength in Early Modern studies. The fall 2023 celebration includes several events: a performance, a documentary screening, and a curated book display at ASU library.

The event is in-person is free and open to the public and will also be livestreamed. The in-person event will be held at the Downtown Phoenix campus at 555 N. Central Ave., Phoenix, AZ, 85004. Parking is available for a $12 fee for three hours at the University Center Garage.

Register to attend.

Virginia G. Piper Center for Creative Writing: Distinguished Visiting Writers Series (DNRS) | November 9th

The Virginia G. Piper Center for Creative Writing holds a series of free events open to the public to ensure all individuals have the ability to participate in the literary arts. Visiting authors host small workshops in partnership with the Piper Writers Studio, engage in intimate craft talks with students, visit ASU classes, and participate in other meaningful activities.

This month, the Piper Center welcomes Douglas Kearney and Octavio Quintanilla. The in-person event is a festival of words and pictures discussing prominent questions such as: How can poetic forms be reimagined and remade? What kind of poetry speaks most to us here and now?

About the authors:

Douglas Kearney

Douglas Kearney is the author of eight books, including the poetry collections Optic Subwoof (Wave Books, 2022); Sho (Wave Books, 2021), a 2022 PEN/Voelcker Award, National Book Award, and Minnesota Book Award finalist; and Buck Studies (Fence Books, 2016), a Roethke Memorial Poetry Prize winner, a Community of Literary Magazines and Presses (CLMP) Firecracker awardee, and California Book Award silver medalist. Kearney is also the author of Someone Took They Tongues (Subito Press, 2016), and Mess and Mess and (Noemi Press, 2015), which Publisher’s Weekly called “an extraordinary book.” He teaches at the University of Minnesota.

Octavio Quintanilla

Octavio Quintanilla is the author of the poetry collection, If I Go Missing (Slough Press, 2014). His poetry, fiction, translations, and photography have appeared in Salamander, RHINO, Alaska Quarterly Review, Pilgrimage, Green Mountains Review, Southwestern American Literature, The Texas Observer, Existere: A Journal of Art & Literature, and elsewhere. Reviews of his work can be found at CutBank Literary Journal, Concho River Review, San Antonio Express-News, American Microreviews & Interviews, Southwestern American Literature, Pleiades, and others. He holds a Ph.D. from the University of North Texas and is the regional editor for Texas Books in Review. He teaches Literature and Creative Writing in the M.A./M.F.A. program at Our Lady of the Lake University in San Antonio, Texas.

Hear from these talented writers on Thursday, November 9, 2023 at 7 p.m. in 101 Armstrong Hall. RSVP to save your spot for this exciting literary event. Learn more.

AZCALL 2023 | November 11th

AZCALL is an annual conference that brings together computer-assisted language learning (CALL) enthusiasts from around the state and region to share ideas, network and receive valuable feedback on scholarly research, academic papers and major conference presentations which are in progress or preparation. This year’s AZCALL theme is the effect of Artificial Intelligence in language learning and pedagogy. Featured speakers are Randall W. Sadler from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and Jesse Egbert from Northern Arizona University.

Register to attend.

ASU Book Group: ‘Solving Modern Problems with a Stone-Age Brain’ | November 16th

The ASU Book Group’s November 2023 reading selection is Solving Modern Problems with a Stone-Age Brain: Human Evolution and the Seven Fundamental Motives by Douglas Kenrick and David Lundberg-Kenrick. In-person attendees are invited to join the author for lunch after at the University Club. Feel free to join even if you haven’t read the book! The book group is open to all in the ASU community and meets monthly from noon-1 p.m. either in-person at the Piper Writers House or virtually on Zoom.

The focus of the book is “how many of the problems we face in our daily lives stem from the fact that our brains evolved to deal with problems our ancestors faced but that are no longer major factors in our lives,” says Kenrick. “Self-driving cars, homes with air conditioning and plush mattresses, and supermarkets stocked with fresh fruit, pre-made meals and some chocolate ice cream for dessert. The hunter-gatherers would probably be shocked to learn that people living amid all of these luxuries are often miserably depressed, anxious and lonely.”

Register if you would like to attend virtually on Zoom.

Stellar Alumni Reading Series | November 15-16, 2023

On November 15th, the event will take place after the MFA Talk. Time and Location TBD.

On November 16, the Stellar Alumni Reading will feature Aimee Baker & Leah Myers at 7:00 p.m. Location TBD.

MFA Student Reading Series | November 17th

Presented by ASU’s Creative Writing Program, the event brings notable alumni authors to the ASU community for readings and discussions about their writing and literary works.

The event will take place at the Ellis-Shackelford House, 1242 N. Central Ave. Phoenix, AZ 85004 from 5:30-7:00 p.m

Spring Fever by Thomas Legendre

Spring Fever by Thomas Legendre

Thomas Legendre recently published Spring Fever, a quantum romantic techno-thriller novel with a literary sensibility.

The book is set in London and Nottingham and follows Amanda Nigh, an employee of HocusLocus who recrafts digital content with viral potential while beta-testing radical new software and enjoying London nightlife. But, she discovers a strange story involving American ice hockey player Craig Merleau, who talks like a European philosopher, inexplicably propelling his team to victory with his cerebral pronouncements. All the while, the world is threatened by a subatomic virus that affects computers and humans in bizarre ways. While global networks run awry and everyone struggles with quantum superposition and gravity quakes, Amanda and Craig remain blissfully untouched and attempt to avert technological and biological Armageddon.

“Strangely enough, I started writing Spring Fever before COVID-19, mainly as a way of addressing the rift or gap between our everyday experience and the imperceptible world described by quantum physics, which in some ways corresponds to the gap between appearance and reality that underlies so much of social media. This really was a vexation of mine. I’m not normal. But then of course the pandemic had a huge effect. Suddenly my research on viruses and related issues was in the mainstream and I could draw from the daily news instead of articles on JSTOR. And social media went absolutely bonkers with everyone trapped at home. It was eerie in many ways, a bit like writing about a naval disaster a few months before the Titanic,” Legendre told Jamie McGarry of Valley Press.

Thomas Legendre is a fiction writer, with published works including Keeping Time, The Burning (longlisted for the Warwick Prize for Writing) and Double Jeopardy. He has also written Half Life, a play performed as part of NVA’s art installation in conjunction with the National Theatre of Scotland, and a radio drama entitled Dream Repair for BBC4. He is an Assistant Professor in Creative Writing at the University of Nottingham.

Spring Fever is available from Valley Press. Visit Legendre’s YouTube channel to hear readings of different excerpt from Spring Fever. Read more about Thomas Legendre here.

Desert Nights, Rising Stars Conference Returning to ASU in October

Desert Nights, Rising Stars Conference Returning to ASU in October

The Desert Nights, Rising Stars Writers Conference is returning to ASU’s Tempe campus on October 12-14 after several seasons away.

The “literary event of the year,” hosted by Virginia G. Piper Center for Creative Writing, will feature 70 craft talks, workshops, panels, and readings from some of the industry’s most influential voices, including Superstition Review’s founding editor Patricia Murphy.

The conference spans a variety of genres and forms: fiction, creative nonfiction, poetry, memoir, screenwriting, young adult, and picture books.

Sessions will discuss editing, publishing, the business of writing and the writing life. Discussion topics include travel writing, climate change, graphic novels, translation, disability studies, hybrid forms, social justice, and more

“I’ve been to lots of writing conferences in my time, and I’ve always learned something really vital about the art of writing, the practice of writing by being at conferences. It isn’t only the presentations and workshops and readings but also the chance meetings and conversations you have along the way,” says Sheila Black.

This year’s lineup includes more than 60 presenters, such as keynote speaker Joy Harjo who served three times as the U.S. poet laureate and Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Natalie Diaz. Attendees will have an opportunity to intimately engage with these voices in group readings.

“We went big this year and sent out invitations to all of the major writers we wanted, and not one person turned us down,” says Sheila Black, assistant director of the Piper Center. “The depth of talent at this year’s conference is amazing and will cover multiple genres.”

Black continues, “I think what makes a writing conference particularly valuable is the opportunity to get up close and personal with a number of different writers (including fellow attendees) and learning through hearing about their lives: how they made the books they made, what tricks and tips (often hard-won) they picked up along the way.”

View the schedule and the list of conference faculty. Find more information here.

Desert Nights, Rising Stars Writers Conference for 2023 is sold out, but please check out the faculty and schedule and think about joining next October for the 2024 conference. 

This is an example of the first part of Superstition Review's newsletter. It has the Superstition Review heading at the top. The text reads: "2.05.23 Superstition Review's Monthly Newsletter." Then, in the next heading, it says "Pride Community Interviews." Beneath that is a picture of EJ Levy.

Superstition Review’s Monthly Newsletter: Issue 31 Sneak Peaks, Reading Challenges, and More

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!

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.