Contributor Update, Sam Sax

Congratulations to Sam Sax for his recent poem Hangover 1.1.2019 published in ZYZZYVA’s issue 117.

Sam Sax is a queer, Jewish, writer & educator. He is the author of Madness (Penguin, 2017) winner of The National Poetry Series selected by Terrance Hayes & bury it (Wesleyan University Press, 2018) winner of the James Laughlin Award from the Academy of American Poets. Sam has received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Poetry Foundation, Lambda Literary, & the MacDowell Colony.

For more on Sam Sax, visit his website here.

To read more from ZYZZYVA visit there homepage here.

Congratulations again Sam!

Guest Post, Lisa Biggar: Inviting the Muse

I am convinced that our best writing comes from outside ourselves, which is the opposite of what I used to think when I first started penning poetry and short stories. I used to think that my writing was sacred in a sense that it was a part of me, my inner being, my ego. And because of this, it was difficult to revise, to tear down anything that I had built. But over the years I have completely reversed this notion. My best writing seems to come when I let myself fall away or dissolve, and I am able to tap into a universal consciousness, the source, the muse. It is more like channeling than thinking; In fact, thinking just gets in the way. Sena Naslund claims to have channeled her entire brilliant novel, Ahab’s Wife. And when I wrote “Reenactment” all of Sir Parker’s dialogue came from this ‘other’ place. I didn’t write his voice; I heard his voice. Now, not to get too woo-woo on you—I don’t really know where this voice comes from, but I think it’s something we, as writers, need to cultivate in order to work on a higher, deeper level. Writing is not easy; we can use all the help we can get.

So here is how I go about inviting the muse into my writing studio:  I read somewhere a while ago that we should visualize our muse, personify him/her. I visualize my muse as a flamboyant red-headed lady decked out in silk scarves and bangles, stretched out on a chaise lounge in her flowing brightly-colored skirt and blouse. I make her a cup of tea and serve it in a fancy china cup with matching saucer. She has discerning taste and is used to being pampered and surrounded by the finest things in life. She is not a snob; but she expects the best from me, and is willing to help if I am open and accepting. There are days, of course, that she doesn’t show up. Perhaps she is busy helping others, or is not convinced that I am serious about writing that day. Our material presence is not enough. We must be fully present; not splitting our attention with social media, or Amazon, or Pinterest. . . Not an easy thing to do in these times that cater to the cultivation of short attention span. But if we expect to get help from the universe, the source, the muse we must give her our full attention. And, go ahead, give her a name. I call my muse Frida and have, at times, had lively conversations with her (in my head).

One such conversation:

Me:  Frida, thank you so much for being here.

Frida: Think nothing of it, darling.

Me: I’ll try my best.

Frida (waving her hand): Dream away. I’ll orchestrate today.

Me:  Then who will sing the song?

Frida: The song is already sung.

She can be maddening at times, evasive, and elusive, but patience and commitment are key. And once you have both settled in, the magic will begin. You will come to love her; and she, despite her seemingly indifference at times, will come to be fond of you. As Beethoven wrote, “Music from my fourth year began to be the first of my youthful occupations. Thus early acquainted with the gracious muse who tuned my soul to pure harmonies, I became fond of her, and, as it often seemed to me, she of me.”

Event: Desert Nights, Rising Stars Literary Fair 2020

Come and celebrate Desert Nights, Rising Stars Literary Fair with us! The event is free, but seats are first-come, first-served so be sure to get there early!

When: Saturday, February 22, 2020, 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Where: ASU Tempe Campus, Front Lawn, Old Main, 400 E Tyler Mall, Tempe, AZ 85281

More event details here.

Superstition Review is holding a panel from 2:15 to 2:45 on Getting Published in Literary Journals, come meet some of the interns behind our magazine and hear from them and author Scott Daughtridge DeMer!

RSVP for our event here. Note: You do not need to RSVP to attend this event and RSVP’s do not guarantee a seat.

Hope to see everyone there!

Contributor Update, Sarah Vap

Contributor Update, Sarah Vap

Join us in congratulating Sarah Vap on her book, Winter: Effulgences and Devotions. It is available from Noemi Press here. Recently, Cutbank has done an extensive interview with Sarah discussing Winter, talking about where the book sprung from and the process of its creation.

Winter is the product of years of work, documenting Sarah’s struggle to write a single poem while she confronts other thoughts, raises her family, and forces herself to remember to remember the world at large.

To learn more about Sarah and her work you can visit her website. You can also read our interview with her, “Writing Out of My Own Life!—Sort of” featured in Issue 13 of Superstition Review.

Congratulations Sarah!

Intern Update: Dominique Brigham

Intern Update: Dominique Brigham

Today’s Intern Update features Dominique Brigham, the art editor from Issue 11 of Superstition Review.

With a BA in English Literature, Dominique began working as a Copywriter for Siilo last year, which provides a secure messaging app for medical teams.

She has also worked as a Proofreader for WordFire Press, working on both fiction and nonfiction manuscripts.

We are so proud of you Dominique!

If you’d like, you can learn more by visiting Dominique’s LinkedIn here.

Contributor Update, Teague von Bohlen

Contributor Update, Teague von Bohlen

Join us in congratulating past SR fiction contributor Teague von Bohlen on the publication of his newest book, Flatland. It’s available on amazon and from Bronze Man Books. Heavy Feather Review recently posted an interview with Teague on Flatland where they discussed Flatland‘s inspiration and Teague’s delve into flash fiction.

Flatland is filled with stories and photos of Midwest small-town life. Documenting this ever changing, yet always familiar landscape in short fiction pieces.

To learn more about Teague and his work you can visit his website. You can also read his three flash fiction pieces featured in Issue 10 of Superstition Review.

Congratulations Teague!

Kirsten Voris

Contributor Update, Kirsten Voris

Kirsten Voris

Kirsten Voris is a featured essayist in the recently released anthology Expat Sofra (Alfa). Available in Turkish and English editions, this follow up to Tales from the Expat Harem (2006) features 33 essays by foreign women residing in Turkey who write about food: eating it, being healed by it, and learning to appreciate Turkish food culture. Each essay is accompanied by a recipe.

She has also written for the Expat Sofra blog.

Blog: What Ömür’s Aşure Taught Me about Sharing, by Kirsten Voris

Link to past SR work (Issue 18): “The Walk Through”

Guest Post, Emily Banks: Writing the Chaos: A Portrait of the Poet as a Total Mess

Guest Post, Emily Banks: Writing the Chaos: A Portrait of the Poet as a Total Mess

When the cold water soaks through my hair to ice my scalp I think this is your punishment. I neglected to pay my gas bill last month, for no reason beyond carelessness. I thought I’d set it to auto-pay like I had the rest of my bills. Now that I’ve put everything I can on a subscription service—tampons, razor blades, toothbrush head refills—I feel indignant when anyone expects me to remember to pay for something by a specific date. The maintenance guy from my apartment complex looked slightly sheepish, slightly amused when he explained why my hot water was off. There are books strewn all over my floor, some piled atop the long cardboard boxes containing Ikea bookshelves I have yet to assemble. I get it. I’m a mess. And when I tell this story to my friends I’ll make a joke of it, but as I lower my head into the cold stream I ask myself, as I so often have, why are you unable to function in the world?

Incompetent. It’s what my ex called me, shouting through the morning’s peace on a Charleston beach when he didn’t like how I was walking the dog. Swimming away from him, salt water stinging my tear-raw cheeks, I knew I had to do it, finally—leave the solid comforts of the life he’d built around me for the vast unknown which beckoned, beautifully, as the mist cleared and the sun began to reassert itself. All summer I’d be caught between the sad task of nursing a doomed long term relationship into periods of stability and falling in love with a friend who made me feel like I was in college again. I’d been going out dancing every weekend, taking pickleback shots and writing like I hadn’t since senior year, when I felt fancy drinking bottles of Barefoot Moscato, when the dresser I’d put together incorrectly was falling apart and my clothes were strewn across the floor, when I was sleeping with athletes and fretting over nerdy boys who didn’t want to commit and starting fights about feminism at bars with my poet friends with whom I’d roll into class the next morning sporting neon wristbands and last night’s eye makeup. That year, the poems just flowed. Something about the messiness of life, the highs and lows, the devastation giving way to excitement giving way to floods of drunken tears—

I don’t mean to romanticize it. I’ve been working in the Plath archives at Emory, and the letters from the months before her death, when she was caring for her children by day and writing Ariel by night, read as a warning. As Patric Dickinson wrote in a letter to Harriet Rosenstein about his friendship with Plath, “you can’t go without sleep.” You can’t forget to pay your bills, to take out your trash, to stop at CVS for toilet paper, to fill your gas tank. But for me, like many creative spirits, those mundane tasks take on a crushing weight. Though I didn’t realize it at the time, graduating from college terrified me. While I welcomed the bright horizon of starting an MFA program in a new city, I struggled to imagine myself living like a real adult. Doing my taxes, changing my license, paying for car insurance, and making dental appointments all felt like remote possibilities I would never be mature enough to master. I entered a relationship I knew I shouldn’t, with a guy who worked in finance and knew how to fix things. He didn’t read, his friends used racial slurs as jokes, and he told me he wanted a woman to have dinner waiting for him when he got home, but I stubbornly ignored these signs in my quest for stability. Over the next seven years, I floated numbly through adult decisions I couldn’t muster real excitement for, feeling like a supporting character in my own life. I sat beside him struggling to focus at the realtor’s office as he deliberated over mortgage options. I scrolled through my phone in Target as he calculated the most cost-effective choice of paper towels. I cooked beautiful dinners and cried when he’d complain about the mess they left. I wrote poems, but they never came easily. My mind was cluttered with too many rules and lists. I channeled my frustrated creativity into tasks like gardening and making jam with muscadines from the farmers market, but these quickly turned compulsive, feeling more like chores than leisure as I clung to my vision of domestic happiness.

And then one day I left. Freed from the monotonous routine of my former life, I felt my thoughts becoming poetic again. Chaotic, unwieldly, but charged with an insatiable energy. A poem can’t be overdetermined, we know, but neither can a poet. The unstable period that followed coincided with the feminist poetry section of the “Poetry and Politics” course I was teaching. Talking through “Daddy” with an eager roomful of students in my state of sleepless delirium, I was my most animated teacher-self, feeling so intensely the poem’s urgency. Seven years, if you want to know. I thought about Plath up writing Ariel all night, wild with the sting of betrayal, intoxicated by the righteousness of her anger. In the archives, what chills me most is her handwriting, the bubbly script of an ambitious, happy girl. I’m her age now and she isn’t the ethereal madwoman I once took her for. Like so many women poets, I find myself constantly orbiting a fearful desire for and resistance of identification with her. Can you write Ariel and survive? I locked my keys in my car last Friday. It’s happened so many times I immediately felt the nauseous pit swell in my gut—the door’s cheerful beep unaccompanied by the reassuring clank of metal between my fingers. Chaos is hardly glamorous, most days. Having grown up with two artist parents, some part of me has always craved the order of a freshly-made bed, a planned week of dinners, a sorted cabinet. But the unruliness inside me pulling towards disorder is, I have to accept, what lets me write. I don’t have the answers. Even as I’ve acquired some basic life skills, I’ll always be absentminded, always get myself into fixes. I have a partner and friends and family willing to help me out of every mess, and all I can offer in return is the promise of some dedicated poems, maybe. I know I can’t survive forever on charm and art alone, but, equally, I can’t survive without writing, and I can’t write when my inner voice is drowned out by tedious litanies. And every time I fail in some extravagant way, it brings me back to the page; if nothing else, I know I’d better produce something powerful enough to justify my shortcomings.

Intern Update: David Klose

Today’s Intern Update features David Klose, the student editor-in-chief of Issue 16 of Superstition Review. He was also a blogger for Issue 13, the nonfiction editor for Issue 14, and the content coordinator for Issue 15.

With a BA in English Language and Literature/Letters, David began working as a Freelance Writer for Codeless within the past month.

He has also worked as a Content Manager and Corporate Trainer for Amerisleep, where he produced original content, edited content, managed a team of content writers (in-house and freelance) published content on WordPress and worked to improve on-page SEO through various industry best practices.

We are so proud of you David!

If you’d like to learn more, you can visit David’s LinkedIn here.

Contributor Update, Shannon Ward

Congratulations to Shannon Ward for her new article featured in Truthout, I’ve Seen Firsthand the Hearbreak of ICE Detention. This Must End. Read and share her amazing account of her visit to Stewart Detention Center in Georgia and her efforts to help those in need.

Link: I’ve Seen Firsthand the Heartbreak of ICE Detention. This Must End.

Shannon was a previous contributor to Superstition Review. View her past SR contribution from Issue 8: Two Poems by Shannon Ward