Literary Partners: El Martillo Press

Literary Partners: El Martillo Press

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.

The Founders

Matt Sedillo.jpg

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.

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Editor-in-Chief, El Martillo Press

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).

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The Titles

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

Learn more about WE STILL BE

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​

Learn more about A Crown of Flames

the daughterland By Margaret Elysia Garcia

“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

Learn More about the daughterland

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

Learn More about God of the Air Hose

Touch the Sky By Donato Martinez

“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

Learn More about Touch the Sky

Contributor Update: Timothy Reilly

We are excited to celebrate Timothy Reilly’s recent publication of his fiction chapbook, Short Story Quartet.

“If I find in myself desires which nothing in this world can satisfy, the only logical explanation is that I was made for another world.” — C.S Lewis

As the title suggests, this fiction chapbook (published by Bottlecap Press) contains just four stories. The tone is set by a flash fiction titled “Tom Corbett and the Cadets of the Academy.” The flash is something of a “junior” quest story: via a 1950s TV space adventure show, and a box top from Kraft caramels. The stories in this miniature collection are certainly diverse, but they are all stories of longing —with skirmishes and hints of reconciliation between physics and metaphysics. The collection ends with a story blending youth and old age: with an unapologetic nod to The Wizard of Oz.

This book has been well received, hailed “A beautifully nostalgic collection” by Fictive Dream literary magazine.

Timothy Reilly has contributed stories to Superstition Review in both Issues 16 and 19. He also wrote two guest posts for s[r]: “Mozartean,” (November 21, 2020) and “How a Former Tuba Player Becomes a Writer of Short Stories” (October 18, 2018).

You can purchase Short Story Quartet from Bottlecap Press here.

Timothy Reilly had been a professional tubist (including a stint with the Teatro Regio of Turin, Italy) until around 1980, when a condition called “Embouchure Dystonia” ended his music career. He gratefully retired from substitute teaching in 2014. Three-times nominated for a Pushcart Prize, he has published in Zone 3, The Main Street Rag, Fictive Dream, Superstition Review, and many other journals. His chapbook, Short Story Quartet, is published by Bottlecap Press Features. He lives in Southern California with his wife, Jo-Anne Cappeluti: a poet and scholar.

Contributor Update: Christopher Burawa

Contributor Update: Christopher Burawa

Congratulations to past contributor Christopher Burawa who recently published Where I Came Here From.

Where I Came Here From is a collection of Zen Buddhist inspired poems that occasionally wander a path to the north-to Iceland, Christopher Burawa’s birthplace. The Iceland poems reflect, as Cynthia Hogue suggests, an “Icelandic Zen,” of the Self examining itself, unearthing what remains of his connections to the past and the trauma of separation, of being caught in the illusion of the fixated, isolated self. In these poems he follows the schematics of the skandhas and dependent origination, tracing the activity of mind and as the reborn self that arises from its dwelling.

The book has received significant praise:

Very few books of poetry move me the way Christopher Burawa’s Where I Came Here From has with its celebration of the imagination. The poems are like trapdoors, giving way to a world where you are both lost and found. Here, you find your way—through wit and earnestness, the playful and the profound—until “the cosmos breaks / open to let you through.”

–Blas Falconer

The perceptions inside Christopher Burawa’s collection invite you to track and take-in, live and breathe within some profound and defamiliarized spaces. These poems exist on a continuous and steep terrain, there to observe the rock’s jagged path, as well as the traveler’s clear-eyed navigation of an obscure map—and so these poems comfort you amidst all that’s unknowable; they ask you to gaze headlong while your hands pass uncut through a cold window, because, despite what you’ve understood before holding this book, “really, a river is a door, / until it opens.”

–Melissa Cundieff

“With deepest humility, a profound commitment to love, and reverence for truth, a book like Where I Came Here From appears. This does not happen frequently, this peeking into the ordinary with a view to what is there, not really there, but there in the sense of where we live. Burawa takes us beyond the illusion of thought and the firm conviction that some things hurt beyond what we think we can bear, and other things give us immeasurable joy, or hopefulness. We all should know what it takes to write a book of poems like this one. This is Zen.”

–Afaa Michael Weaver

Read more about Christopher’s book on the Finishing Line Press website.

Christopher Burawa is a poet, translator, high school language arts teacher, and ordained Rinzai Zen Buddhist monk. He received an MFA in poetry from Arizona State University. He has received numerous awards for his work, including an NEA Translation Fellowship, Joy Harjo Poetry Prize, an American-Scandinavian Foundation Creative Writing Research Fellowship, Witter Bynner Poetry Translator Residency, among others. He lives with his wife and daughter in Red Wing, Minnesota.

View Christopher Burawa’s’ poems in issue 10 and issue 23 of Superstition Review

An Interview with E Townsend

This is the Perfect Song for a Forever 21 Store a Decade Ago

After “Men On The Moon,” Chelsea Cutler

We put men on the moon / But I still don’t know how to get to you

We lose each other in between curated bohemian, glitzy, casual rooms in Forever 21, and I know to find you far away from the plus-size section, where I currently am, comforted by the fact this is the first place in my life I can shop for clothes that fit and are kinda sorta actually cool. Lorde blares in the speakers It feels so scary getting old and I need to remember to look up this song later to share with you. I search like a serpent between racks, my attention shifting to hundreds of different clothing styles, trying hard to make a beeline to the dressing rooms. You laugh when you spot a pile of long-sleeve shirts in my arm.

“Knew it would take you a while to find me.”

I don’t know when I’m going to lose you for good.

And now all I can do / Is wait for you to come down

I am so sorry for all the times I scared you. Dropping suicidal threats before lunch in seventh grade, hiding in the science classroom to avoid you. All to get attention that I shouldn’t have fought for, everyone has a life and I need to be better at allowing breathing room. You’re very brave for putting up with this shit. We’re too young, we should be talking about boys, not my frequently imagined funeral.

Years later I do it again to someone else, I hurt them as hard as I hurt you, and I can only see your face in place of theirs, disapproving and reddened, oceans splitting into two. I am always above you when I should’ve been below.

Our friends don’t understand the delicacy of this buoyancy. How I bounce between girls to fill a savior-complex void, knowing I would go back to you, knowing they couldn’t save me well enough to feel like it is enough. Nothing is enough.

We built weapons of war / But I’m out of bullets to fire

It takes three years of college to move on, write a mean essay self-victimizing my depression and our friendship. It takes another three years to write a new essay and realize you were the victim from my suffocation. Bitterness burrows deep when I read that old piece—I was not fearless enough to allow you to read it; I blocked you from the publication link when I posted about it online. But I know you must’ve found it, one of our friends probably forwarded with concern, or you searched for my work, as I always hoped you would. Before we split, you supported my writing, regardless of how aggrieved it tended to be.

“Certainly you remember the guilt, the anger I instilled in our friendship, our stupid, wonderful friendship. I’m thankful for my life, but you carved a scar while trying to save me. You’ve ruined all future devotions to people, because I have to keep them at a distance to not get scorched again. Thanks a fucking lot. I will never feel happy in a new attachment because I have to keep my expectations wrangled in a cage, snarling to get out. Godamnnit. All I did during our broken time was hate you, miss you, forget about you, remember everything about you.”

And now I hate that I had to learn a lesson when I could’ve avoided it and have been a better person. You don’t deserve to live with my resentment. That chapter now feels like an epilogue and we’ve been shelved in a thrift store, left behind and discounted.

My temper is short / But I’m here, givin’ up my ground

I never give you a chance to breathe, and when we move out of town for college, I still won’t let up. Communication is so dramatic sometimes. I mail my side of a closure letter a month before moving to Nacogdoches for college. Before we ended I imagined us at the bottom of a sloped driveway, cinematically saying goodbye—we always knew we would move on, but not on these terms. It burned to not get the image after all. In the fall I receive yours, and there is so much relief. I look for your face everywhere still, despite knowing we’ve truly ended.

After a few months I had to train myself to stop looking at your social media, searching for clues that you were still thinking about me. Only once did I catch something—you sharpied my initials on your wrist for World Mental Health Day. That picture has since been deleted.

It’s only war if there’s a winner / It’s only hell if there’s a sinner

Christianity is something I can’t get with—but you are devoted. I go to church and endure sappy bullshit. You secretly want me to align with your faith but give up when it’s clear I can’t be saved. “If you just let Jesus in, you’d have a better life.” There is not enough energy in the world for me to fight back.

The summer between high school and college, you went on a mission trip to my home state. You posted the mailing address online and I could barely restrain from sending you letters, like the old days, to let you know I missed you and was happy to see you’re in my favorite place. But I knew you would put some religious spin back onto me, and I knew silence would be better than hearing your judgement.

And I’d do all the things we didn’t / ‘Cause I choose you / Yeah, I choose you

Imagine all the pictures we’d have today. The Starbucks selfies, the graduation snaps, the mini road trips, shrieking about first kisses and unrequited crushes, walking our dogs, crying when our dogs died.

I’m forgetting to notice the memories we’ve had and could’ve had in the corners of our haunts. When I land in Texas for the holidays I don’t expect you to show up at restaurants, though I did run into your mom once at Target—I couldn’t recall her name, but remembered all the afternoons she welcomed me over, shouted at us from downstairs for being too loud. As I order coffee I don’t think about your usual latte. You disappeared into the past collection of people whose faces are now strangers. If I heard your voice in the crowd, I would keep walking.

We put men on the moon / But I can’t figure out what is missing

As I make new friends in college, I fall further away. Instead of blaming you for friendship troubles, I force myself to take responsibility. Once I compared you to a friend who lived 800 miles away, and she called me out for being unfair. The manipulative poison hadn’t fully flooded out of my system, but I was trying. After that incident I finally found gratitude for those who could be around me, who remarkably enjoyed my presence.

And in every room / You’re right in front of me

At some point in my life I will burn your closure letter, but perhaps I’ll leave it to my afterlife to deal with. Only in September do I pull it out of a shoebox from the closet, buried beneath letters from other friends and personal documents, the things I can’t bear to misplace. Some years I forget to read it again. A great sign, I suppose, that time does heal.

We find pictures in stars / But they’re thousands of miles away

Our backs ached after we spent an hour sticking glow-in-the-dark stars on my ceiling, trying not to trip over each other on the twin-sized bed. None of it trailed into a cohesive constellation. You lied on the floor, stretched while I looked down at you. This is how we always sat.

Stargazer obsessed with pictures of bluebonnets in vintage film, some twin lost in the timeline, you used to connect your asterism with me. And once we started to feel miles away, when I started avoiding the lunch table to punish you, we’d grown so far apart we couldn’t see each other anymore. There was too much cosmic dust.

Sometimes I think we were a film that I made up in my mind.

And I’ll give you my all / But you take and you take and you take

This is when all my guilt swallows me whole, a sun pitcher plant opening to the sky, to release and return. I can’t imagine the pain I put you through, how triggered you were each time you crossed my laser beams of boundaries, how my suicidal texts abused your heart. And all I did was feel like I was giving, I was giving you a reason to live, to make me feel alive, when I only took so much, I took your life in a way, made you drop your friends, explain to your dad that I was bad again, no one but you could understand. I took so much from you.

I’m not the same as I was before / I’ll go through the walls and kick down doors

Now, after twelve years of getting over you, I imagine myself making an unnecessary counseling appointment in Texas, even though I am five states northwest. I know you’re a mental health counselor because of me. Or at least, partly. I’ve left too many scars as a guidebook for you to teach others how to heal.

I dream about your face when you read my name in your calendar. The surprise when I burst through the door, all silent and chaotic at once. How it must feel after a decade without hearing our cries beyond hauntings. In the dream I can’t get past the initial shock, I have no idea how we proceed from there. A cliffhanger with no ground to land on.

But I know I want to apologize a thousand suns for all the pain I put you through. I’m not a better person, but I’m better. The strings you cut from my palm haven’t been reattached to anyone else.

No, I’m not the same as I was before / And I wouldn’t hurt you anymore

When I got in my first relationship four years ago, you were not the first person I told like we’d always imagined—but I wished I did. I was so afraid to get in an argument and lose him like I lost you. I warned him, “If I ever become manipulative, let me know. I did that to someone and I can’t do that again.” Shame loves to feed on long-fermented fears.

We used to share a pint of ice cream on Friday nights, lied back on a parent’s driveway. The smell of neighboring sprinklers rusted our plastic spoons. At the time it all felt like a memory, and I was slowly falling out of sleep.

“You already know this, but you’ll be my maid of honor someday,” you said with half a bite of Neapolitan in your mouth. The chocolate side of the pint was carved in deeper.

“Of course.” I sat up and twisted to the left, scooping around the strawberries. “And if I ever find somebody, you’ll be the same.” My parents’ divorce spurned me from marriage and you saw the warpaths I had to wade through every day, being tossed into the middle all the time.

You got married five years later, and I don’t know who ended up being the maid of honor.

(I’m not the same as I was before; ooh) / It’s only war if there’s a winner

I’m engaged and I feel weird envisioning you in the audience. We promised to be at each other’s weddings and look where we’re at. But there are some parts of your life that followed mine.

You already love that I live in the Pacific Northwest, moved as soon as I graduated college; you visit Washington every year with your Texan husband—reason unknown, but it is suspiciously too coincidental when I’m the one who came from here and lamented daily how much I needed to be back permanently. Each time you post a photo album on Facebook I have to think you’re doing it for me, that you’re sharing what we could’ve done. That is awfully narcissistic and not. The more years that go by, the more removed I am from the pain. I can finally feel happy to share this place with you, even though we’re not together.

If you ever go to my hometown, I never know. I don’t think you want me to know that. But the smell of evergreens and Issaquah Creek, the fresh mulch teeming with wildflowers, the standoffish nature of strangers and drinking coffee in solitude, I hope you think about me. That despite all the ugliness I put you through, I still showed you something beautiful.

(I’ll go through the walls and kick down doors; ooh) / It’s only hell if there’s a sinner

The last time you acknowledged me was in 2017 about a grad school acceptance. We kept our intwining moments on Facebook to a minimum; I hid your name from the feed and blocked you on certain posts. I still wanted you to see and be proud of me. Taking a train through America, visiting my hometown in Washington to restore my sanity, publishing silly little essays and poems, finding that life did get better out of high school. Maturity, in some ways, that I wasn’t going to do the same horrible things to someone else.

I think I liked your wedding photos a year later, but nothing else past that. Our perpendicular lines extended too far to see the other line. I stopped dedicating songs to you, us, in such a naively platonic way. There has never been a chance to run into each other’s path. And if something major happens, we’ll keep looking the other way.

(No, I’m not the same as I was before; ooh) / And I’d do all the things we didn’t

Once, often, many, many, many times, I created scenarios in real life and you popped up perfectly to the script. On bad nights I imagined you driving three hours from Dallas to Nacogdoches, knocking on my dorm door and silently hugging me, the way you used to when we were kids, when I was terrified I wouldn’t still be alive in the morning. During holiday breaks I was antsy about serendipitously turning a corner past you in the mall, on my way into Forever 21, looking for a coat to swap with my friend. I heard this song and I thought, This would be an absolute bop ten years ago, and of fucking course it would play in a Forever 21. We are adults now and I can’t fit into a cheap factory’s version of plus-size clothing; I have to go to more size-inclusive stores like Old Navy (which isn’t any better environmentally, but engineeringly). I can barely remember you scoffing at a horrid floral top or rushing to avoid mean classmates in the party section. The mall was our safe spot, where we knew we could just be friends and my mental health wouldn’t be a third wheel. Something about being in a 1.5 million square foot space of options to change characters and clothes and sit in the silence of a movie theater and try to keep up with each other’s pace in the stores and arguing about remembering where we parked and laughing while swerving around traffic back home because we’re 16, we’re on the fringe of losing it, a story no one but us will tell.

I know now when I lost you, and it’s finally okay.

(And I wouldn’t hurt you anymore; ooh) ‘Cause I choose you / Yeah, I choose you / I do

Of all the people I can forget, at any point in my life, the wavy curls to after Sunday School hang outs, the long walks to the yogurt store that’s no longer there, I want to say I choose to forget you. Favorite color, ranting about your sister, playing video games in the dusky dark after a sleepover, thumb gently pressing A. You let me win at Mario Kart and tuck your blanket up. The dawning sky peeks through the shades, an orange glow sweeping our eyelids closed.

Our history is no longer ours, unequipped from fireworks that spring off when a memory arrives. Your name remains as a scar that won’t make me flinch.

E Townsend’s works have appeared in cream city review, Superstition Review, Prime Number Magazine, carte blanche, Orion, and others. Managing editor at Four Palaces Publishing, she’s also the managing nonfiction editor at Chaotic Merge Magazine and a reader for The Masters Review. A previous nominee for a Pushcart Prize, Best American Essays, and Best of the Net, she is currently tinkering with essays and poems in the Pacific Northwest.

Bryan Lurito: When reading your piece, “This is the Perfect Song for a Forever21 Store a Decade Ago,” what really drew me in was the exploration of teenage relationships and the transformation that comes with adulthood. What about this topic inspired you to recount and share your experiences?
E Townsend: I’ve written about teenage relationships a couple times and it’s a theme still strong in my life. The big sister essay of this was about my manipulation, using my mental health to control my best friend, just generally pathetic woe-is-me shit. I recently reread it and cringed. I didn’t realize how intense I was to her, and to anyone really, until I grew out of it. I didn’t intend to make this a redemption piece, but I needed some cathartic way to apologize to her, and to show myself that I have finally somewhat chilled out. The friendship ended well over ten years ago and her presence doesn’t weigh on me anymore. I’m so far removed from my teen years that it was like we never existed. 

When the sister piece was workshopped years ago, some students made the comment that it’s rare to read about friendships that hurt worse than a romantic breakup. You never feel like you’ll get over it. But then you age, and you see where you went wrong, and the longing only feels like a dull ache. I had been trying to reconcile this for a while and finally had the vessel and emotional clarity to do so without making it a melodramatic diary entry. 

BL: I found your sense of rhythm and voice to be particularly strong. How did you go about developing narrative flow when writing your piece?
ET: When writing I always need music, and it’s typically either the exact same song on repeat or the same playlist. The music then influences the narrative flow based on the pitches in the song, the tempo, the lyrical and vocal rhythm. And when I edit, it’s still based on the music that’s on. The song just feels like the perfect backtrack for broken teenage friendship, and I hope the reader will give it a listen while reading. Any song I write to/reference is meant to serve as an extra layer to the piece.

BL: I was particularly intrigued by your integration of a song into your piece. Was this song the inspiration for the piece, or something which built upon a pre-existing story idea? How did this affect your integration of the song into the narrative?
ET: I found the song through someone’s 15 second Instagram story, then listened to the whole thing on loop for three hours. I kept seeing a music video of our friendship, chasing each other through different sized clothing racks, and when it got to the really intense bridge, I imagined a heavy insane sequence of all our fights and pining and missing each other and it only makes sense to us but we’re no longer on the same wavelength so one of us could’ve wiped away the memories. It originally was going to be a love letter to Forever 21, exploring my other teen friendships while shopping in that store and mall, but the song took me elsewhere.

BL: I noticed you also have a history in poetry on top of nonfiction. How do you feel your experience in this second discipline has affected your voice as an essayist?
ET: My poetry professor often told me my poems were essayistic. When I started writing I wanted to be a dedicated poet, but then I discovered nonfiction and fell in love with telling the truth through that particular genre. It excites me to read a line with genuine surprise, a clever smirk at the writer for taking my breath away, so I try to do the same. I’m always looking at every sentence and thinking, if this was a standalone quote, how can I make it stand out? Poetry is full of quick quips and one-liners that transport you to another universe, so it’s fun to challenge myself to write as poetically as I can in a prose form.

BL: I enjoyed how you added several moments throughout your piece which are small on their own, but together aid in fleshing out the main ideas and narrative of the piece. How did you decide which moments to include within your piece, and what was the process of translating them to the page like? Was anything gained, changed, or lost in the process?
ET: When writing the glow in the dark stars scene, I didn’t mention that we also taped lyrics cut from magazine pages on the ceiling—Snow Patrol’s “Chasing Cars.” That was our song before we ended, focusing on the lines “If I lay here, would you lie with me and just forget the world.” The three lines before those, “I don’t know where / Confused about how as well / Just know that these things will never change for us at all,” kept us together for as long as we could believe in us. We had so many Friday nights lying on a driveway where everything that was going on with us disappeared. We had other things to talk about. I can’t really remember our friendship, which might seem sad, because at one point it was the only thing I would constantly think about. But we’ve grown up, moved on, and I don’t dedicate songs to her anymore (except this one). 

BL: You have been published in quite a few magazines, and also serve as a nonfiction editor yourself. As someone who’s been on both sides of the process, what advice do you have for prospective authors looking to get their own works printed?
ET: Reading other people’s works has definitely influenced and inspired my own. I see the cleverness and the narrative mistakes, the one-liners that blow my mind and the sentences that need to be cut for concision. It has always been my dream to be an editor instead of a writer, but wearing both hats at once gives a really great perspective. Submit your work often, edit every single line, find friends willing to look at your pieces, and keep some sort of notebook (mine is the notes app on my phone) to store your ideas in. Your work will get published eventually—there is always a reader for every and any subject imagined.

An Interview with Leonardo Chung

Ode to ChatGPT

i think a glass of sparkling, simulated empathy would

be great; now let me swell my admiration before someone

shrieks into my ear—we’ve opened a Pandora’s box!—

but you’re actually just a glorified Google 

and some 100101011001 that might string

some words together 

and call it an essay—but that AI writing detector is catching on!

i can’t say too much, of course. i sure admire

how you can’t conjugate Spanish correctly,

how you can’t solve any—i mean any—math equation,

how all your essays are three paragraphs:

introduction, evidence, conclusion;

but i’m proud of you. i am. and in return

i want you to write an ode to ChatGPT.

         don’t give me your classic four stanzas of four lines 

with AABB rhyme scheme—

                i apologize, but i’m not able to 

                fulfill that request. can i assist you in anything


         actually, no, you can’t.

Leonardo Chung is an avid writer from Phillips Exeter Academy who has been previously published by Hyacinth Review, Across the Margin, Sweet Literary, Sheila-Na-Gig, Clackamas Literary Review, and many others. He was awarded first place in a Poetry Society of Virginia competition and a finalist for the Rash Award in Poetry sponsored by the Broad River Review. He takes inspiration from distinguished poets such as Langston Hughes, Naomi Shihab Nye, and Louise Glück.

Daniel Gernant: Do you have a specific place where you do most of your brainstorming? What does that place look like and why is it so conducive for thought?
Leonardo Chung: My preferred time for writing poetry is late at night, in the quiet solitude of my bedroom. My room, a small space with light blue walls and a single window, becomes a sanctuary after dark. I work at a wooden desk, which holds just my laptop, a notepad, and a few scattered pens. The room is illuminated by a small lamp, casting a warm, golden light. Outside, the world is silent, and inside, the only sound is the soft tapping of keys as I write. This nightly ambiance, in the solitude of my room with the lamp’s gentle glow, offers a peaceful place where my creativity flows most naturally. My thoughts and words find their rhythm, enabling me to craft poems that are deeply personal and reflective.

DG: I thought that your poem Ode to ChatGPT was fascinating. Can you expand on what led you to write this poem?
LC: I wrote “Ode to ChatGPT” at a time when the emerging AI tool was causing widespread attention for its seemingly human-like writing abilities. Amidst the growing excitement, my poem intended to sarcastically discredit the idea that ChatGPT could rival human creativity in poetry and prose. I aimed to highlight the creativity inherent to the human mind—a quality that AI, at least for now, struggles to replicate authentically. Yes, it’s true: ChatGPT can’t generate any poems that aren’t in stanzas of ABAB rhyme scheme. “Ode to ChatGPT” was my playful nod to the limitations of AI in capturing the full spectrum of human poetic expression.

DG: In your bio you mention that you take inspiration from poets like Langston Hughes, Naomi Shihab Nye, and Louise Glück. How have these poets inspired you?
LC: Hughes’ ability to capture social issues in simple yet powerful language taught me the importance of accessibility in poetry. Nye’s work, which often turns mundane moments into interesting narratives, inspired me to observe and find poetry in everyday life. Lastly, Glück’s raw and honest exploration of personal themes encouraged me to delve deeply into my own experiences. Their influence is evident in my thematic choices, the narrative style of my poems, and the way I strive to blend personal introspection with broader themes.

DG: How have your experiences with getting published changed the way that you write?
LC: Having my work published has significantly boosted my confidence as a poet. Initially, I often questioned the value and appeal of my work, but seeing my poetry in print validated my creative endeavors. This acknowledgment from the literary world encouraged me to take bolder risks in my writing. With each publication, I’ve grown more assured in my voice and style, feeling inspired to explore more in-depth themes and experiment with various poetic forms. The positive feedback and constructive criticism from editors and readers have been vital to this growth, helping me to see my work from different perspectives. This journey of being published has transformed me from a hesitant writer to a confident poet, proud of my work and eager to share it with a wider audience.

DG: The way that a poem is structured is a very important part of how it is made. Will you elaborate on how you decide on the structure of your poetry?
LC: The structure of each poem I write is directly influenced by its theme and emotional tone. For example, when writing about loss, I might choose a sparse, free-verse structure to reflect the sense of emptiness and disarray. Conversely, for a poem about a joyful, rhythmic experience, I might use a more structured, repetitive form with rhythm to capture the movement. The decision is always a balance between what best serves the poem’s message and how it resonates emotionally.

DG: What were some challenges that you faced getting into the writing community? Can you shed light on how to navigate these challenges for other potential writers?
LC: Navigating the writing community initially felt daunting due to its competitive nature and the challenge of finding my unique voice. I started by attending online workshops, which helped me build confidence and a network of fellow writers. Submitting poems regularly to journals and magazines, despite facing rejections, taught me the importance of persistence. I also attended several summer writing camps, which helped me work with others to peer review my work. My advice to new writers is to actively engage in writing communities, seek constructive feedback, and remain persistent in honing and sharing their work. Building a presence in the literary world takes time, but consistent effort and a willingness to learn from both successes and setbacks are important.

An Interview with Lino Azevedo

Lobotomy Instagram
The Truth is Out There

Lino Azevedo was born to Portuguese immigrants near San Francisco. Like most small children, he enjoyed creating from the soul with simple tools like pencil and crayon. Being a painter herself, his mother saw the potential and let him try his hand with her oils and brushes. These formative years set him up for a life-long career in the arts. He currently is a Foundations Professor at Savannah College of Art and Design. Lino is an award-winning artist whose work has been exhibited internationally and published in multiple journals and magazines.

John John O’Connor: You mentioned that your parents are from Sāo Jorge then moved to Portugal, how big of an influence were they for you as an artist? Especially since your mother was an oil painter as you were growing up.
Lino Azevedo: My father was always doing something around the house and was very handy (and still is!) He even freelanced and built cabinets between jobs for a while. My brother and I would help him in the wood shop from time to time and he even built an attachment to the garage and a small bar-b-que house in the backyard. Besides carpentry, he knew the basics of laying down concrete and put in our entire driveway when we moved into the house that he still resides in. This “hands on” approach to learning really influenced me when I finally started to take drawing and painting seriously.
As a way to save money, but also as a creative outlet, my mother made her own clothes. She knew how to sew very well and had a room in the basement with an antique sewing machine. That is also the room that she would do her oil painting. My parents usually worked opposite shifts at their jobs when we were young. For a while, my Dad worked nights so my Mom would keep us busy after dinner by having us paint on cheap canvas boards. I remember being confused by how hard it was to control the medium but also intrigued by the creative possibilities.
Like many immigrants, both parents believed in hard work and making opportunities, not waiting for things to happen.

JO: You have received a bachelor’s degree from San Jose State University and a master’s degree from Winthrop University for art. Can you tell me how your studies progressed your development as an artist. Would you say university is a necessary step for an amateur artist? 
LA: Ah, yes! The big question of whether artists should, or should not go to art school…
It really depends on the person. For me, the answer is “yes”. I enjoy the classroom setting and I learn better in that environment. I feel that the assignment deadlines and the friendly competition with classmates really helped with my development as a creative. As a matter of fact, I feel I’ve learned just as much, if not more, from classmates than the professor. In turn, I tell my own students that they are in the classroom to learn from each other as well as from me. My undergrad studies at SJSU really helped me acquire the technical skills I needed and then my graduate education at Winthrop was more about self-expression and experimentation.

JO: You have traveled all around – growing up in California, backpacking across Europe, moving to New York, Charlotte, etc. How much have your surroundings and the places you’ve lived influenced your art?
LA: The places I’ve been have very, very much effected my work.
Traveling through Europe really opened my eyes to the history of art. It’s one thing to see the work in an art history book, but a totally different experience to see Michaelangelo’s Sistine Chapel by looking up at it and realizing it was finished centuries before the United States was even a thing.
Of course, moving to NYC was a tradition for many creatives. Actually, it was more of a necessity. The city was really the art capital of the world for decades. It had the best galleries and museums in the world as well as all the major publishing companies. Another aspect of the city is how difficult it is just to survive there. You know what they say, “if you can make it in New York…”
I think that living for lengthy periods of time in both “blue states” and “red states” has really helped me acquire a more open minded perception of people’s views. Understanding is knowledge, and knowledge is power!

JO: A lot of your art involves pieces having to do with social commentary. As for your messages in these works, are they messages that you think about for a while as you build up an idea? Or are they something you see and feel a need to respond?
LA: I would say both.
I’m very affected psychologically by many of the injustices and atrocities going on in the world. Sitting down and sketching out ideas is almost automatic after reading about or viewing these stories on the news. These events definitely have an immediate impact on much of my work.
Often, however, there will be something that develops slowly and may take months to actually evolve into anything finished. As a matter of fact, it may even change meaning or have a very “vague” meaning. Often, the “feeling” of the image is more what I’m after than an obvious statement. This is my favorite way to start a conversation.

JO: One of the largest and most complete works you have done was your series on lobotomies. How did the idea for this come to fruition and what was the original message you were trying to send? Also what do you think the importance is of using unsettling imagery in art?
LA: In this case, lobotomy, or lobotomized, is about society either being manipulated by the certain entities or choosing to be ignorant of these possibilities.
Actually, the idea for the Lobotomy series was only a concept for one painting. I had an idea for a half dead old guy with a stitched up circle on his head from the removal of part of his brain. I loved how it started to come out while working on it and then sketched out other “foreheads”. Some of these symbols included known logos from big companies. I kept going with these different portraits, eventually creating a series.
Using “unsettling imagery” is sometimes necessary. Like the John Doe character from the Seven movie stated, “It’s not enough to just tap people on the shoulder anymore…you have to hit them over the head with a shovel.”

JO: You now teach art and work as a Foundations Professor at Savannah College of Art and Design in Savannah, Georgia. Can you tell me how being a teacher and working with students has changed your approach to art? Or if it has changed your style at all?
LA: Teaching Foundations classes, like the very first drawing classes that first year freshmen take, is something I take seriously. Many of the professors I had in college were taught by the Abstract Expressionists of the generation before. These professors lacked the skills or interest to teach the fundamentals of drawing, design, color theory, etc. I remember one guy would even sit in the corner and try to teach himself guitar while we worked on some unfocused assignment. Don’t get me wrong, self expression and “art for arts sake” is very important, but I want my students to be noticeably better at the basics of drawing when they leave my class versus when they started.
One of the best things about teaching a generation younger than me is the link to artists and styles that are currently in fashion instead of always going back to my old favorites. I feel like these students have opened doors for me and I have all these new toys to play with as far as influence and directions.

An Interview with Jeff Fearnside

Jeff Fearnside is the author of two full-length books and two chapbooks. His poems have appeared in numerous literary journals and anthologies, including The Paris Review, Los Angeles Review, Valparaiso Poetry Review, and Forest Under Story: Creative Inquiry in an Old-Growth Forest (University of Washington Press). Honors for his work include writing residencies at the Bernheim Arboretum and Research Forest and the H. J. Andrews Experimental Forest, the Peace Corps Writers Poetry Award, and an Oregon Arts Commission Individual Artist Fellowship. He has taught writing and literature in Kazakhstan and at various institutions in the U.S., currently Oregon State University. Read his most recent book.

Ashley Goodwin: What inspired you to write “The Way of the Seeded Earth?”
Jeff Fearnside: Oregon’s Coast Range mountains are just minutes from my home, and my wife and I have spent countless days exploring them. One of the beautiful and ubiquitous creatures living in this range is the salamander, in particular, the rough-skinned newt. I’ve had a chance to closely observe them on numerous occasions in all seasons, and the poem came out of those observations. Its title comes from the title of a book by Joseph Campbell, and while the poem isn’t directly related to that book in any way, the title suggests what I wanted to convey, what salamanders so strongly embody: This is how the world seeds itself. This is how life moves through life.

AG: Your most recent book, Ships in the Desert, recently won the Foreword Indies book of the year award and the Eric Hoffer Book Award. Could you describe the book for people who are just hearing about it?
JF: I’m happy to say it also just won an Independent Author Network Book of the Year Award! It’s a collection of linked essays about my four years of living in Kazakhstan, so it’s very much a personal story. It’s also about the environmental challenges we face today, particularly in regards to water, as explored through a trip to the dying Aral Sea in Central Asia. Finally, it’s about culture, the differences between East and West, and how we might better understand each other. So anyone with an interest in the environment or other parts of the world should find something of value in it. It was definitely a passion project for me.

AG: What is your process for composing?
JF: It depends entirely on the piece. I believe process is dictated by the particular qualities of each piece, and that my job as a writer is to discover what those particulars are. So writing for me is a process of exploration. Sometimes, right from the beginning, I’ll have a very clear idea of what the piece is or seems to be, while sometimes I’ll begin with nothing but a single phrase or idea in mind. It doesn’t matter. Once I start writing, I let the words lead me. I work very intuitively while drafting. I bring my knowledge of craft into the process during editing, though the goal is still the same: discover what the piece wants to be and help it become its best.

AG: What made you want to become a writer?
JF: Reading. I loved reading as a kid, and I wanted to do what the authors I loved were doing: to make the kind of magic I felt when I read their books. It really was that simple. Of course, I grew older, discovered all kinds of different writing from all over the world, critiqued it, came to understand the technical aspects of it. All of that was good. But I still feel my writing is best when I don’t overthink the technical aspects of it and simply approach my work with a child’s sense of wonder. That’s what as an adult keeps me writing.

AG: What advice would you give to young writers?
JF: Read, read, read, and write, write, write. Nurture your imagination. Find inspiration everywhere, not just in your favorite books but also in the ones you think you don’t like. Devour it all. And don’t forget to live. Allow yourself to fully feel your experiences, both positive and unpleasant, as well as everything in-between. Come to know yourself through your life and writing. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. Be human.

AG: What are your favorite books to read?
JF: I love just about everything, from realism to magical realism, from the dead serious to the surrealist, the satirical, the humorous, even so-called genre writing like the mysteries and science fiction that first inspired me when I was a boy. I love fiction, poetry, nonfiction, drama. I’m one of those strange people who reads Shakespeare for pleasure! I’m an omnivorous bibliophile. A bibliovore. But like most people nowadays, I’m busy, and I’m a slow, careful reader—the more I like a book, the slower I read. So simply as a practical matter, I most often gravitate to story and poem collections, books I can savor in parts even if I don’t have a lot of time to read. I really don’t understand why short stories are supposedly such a hard sell. Given how crazy busy everyone is today, I would think that short stories would be more popular than ever! And what can one say about poetry? Good poetry is like water or blood. It’s necessary to life.

More info:

Jebel Irhoud

This is where we came from.
This is where we lived,
in a Moroccan cave
315,000 years
before Morocco,
before language and time
as we know it.

We had come far already
from the east,
spreading across a continent
with stone tools,
curiosity and cunning.

The songs in those bones
still play in ours,
whistling through marrow.
The dances they danced
still coil in our muscles,
sprung free
whenever we move
from our centers.

Pick up a piece of flint.
Do you remember
the scraping of tendons,
the scuff of hide?
Something calls you
to test the keen edges,
turn the stone over and over
in your palm.

Build a wood fire.
Contemplate the stars.
Paint with your fingers,
pull weeds,
feel the rasp of grass seed
against flesh.
Seek shelter from a storm
in any natural place.
Turn your face upward,
lick the drops rolling
off your lips.
It’s the same water
of the first rains
and rivers and lakes.
That prick of blood
where you got snagged in the wood
tangs of the same salt
of the first oceans.

The Way of the Seeded Earth

We humans think we have it rough.
Try mating underwater
with two—or four or six—
would-be suitors cutting in
on your amplexus.
But for those
ultra-sticky nuptial pads,
you’d be pulled apart.
It can take hours. The mass
of bodies rolls and clutches
in a shallow pool, tails like
streamers or spiral arms
of galaxies in the cosmic amnion,
like a ball of baby snakes.

On land they move
separately, somnolently,
each step a lesson
in what it means to stake a claim
to one’s terrestrial heritage.

Yet two salamanders
left unharried in wedded embrace
swim, turn and dive to bottom
as a single body,
a single current
in all that surrounds them.

Speaking with the Dead

The dead don’t speak
only to the dead,
though they prefer it.
To walk in nature
is to initiate a séance.
Spirits knock on wood,
rattle vines,
raise the forest floor
and speak in whispers
along creekbeds
and in drainages
that channel warm drafts up
and cold drafts down.
The coldest lie stagnant
in hollows.
You will hear
most clearly there.
To speak with the dead,
go to the low places.
Let them approach
and then ask your questions.
Only know this: the answers
may come from anywhere.

Elk Hotel

We didn’t see them, but we knew they were
somewhere near, hiding from the day and us
in the darkest part of the woods. Their trails
run through this place: to shelter, to water.
Hoof prints lie stamped in mud, while black droppings
like breadcrumbs occasionally offer
paths our muskier selves long to follow.

We’ve seen them before, gathering to feed
at dusk at the edge of a nearby field
redolent with the succulent flowers
they savor while bathing in the dying
light, the cool air, the comfort of safety.

In our refuge from coronavirus
we often come here to walk out all that
we do not wish to talk or think about.
We’ve forgotten what it means to be free.
Each time, we’re amazed that the woods doesn’t
have to wear a mask, that the sky can breathe
so heavily upon us without guilt.

We know the herd has visited because
just behind the thick hedge of blackberries
in the lowest point of the depression
stands the grand Elk Hotel. The matted grass
details reservations for two dozen.
It’s all about location—privacy
assured, amenities accessible
within the stretch of a sinewed foreleg.

I can imagine them in swimming trunks,
lolling at the edge of the slough, talking
of the news of the day, shaking their large
antlered heads while sipping wild blackberry
cocktails and wondering just what is so
especial about those animals with
their shrill protestations and smoking guns.


On a log in the creek
a hollowed-out knot
where a limb once reached
to the sky. In the knot
pebbles, pale and smooth,
like a clutch of hummingbird eggs
on a bed of creek sand.

Tiny sprouts of green
grow between the pebbles.
Cottonwood seeds like down feathers
rest comfortably, protected
in the log-walled hollow,
the entire space the size
of a large chicken’s egg,

or the polished jade oval
we saw in the gem shop
while searching for garden rocks.
Your hand was a gemstone
or an egg
in my hand
even after all these years.

An Interview with Colomba Klenner

Pixie Cup

Colomba Klenner is a Boston-based painter and illustrator, pursuing a Painting Bachelors of Fine Arts at Massachusetts College of Art and Design. She was born in Santiago, Chile but spent a large amount of time in Singapore before settling in Boston to pursue her career. Living in such contrasting places has allowed her art to be influenced by a variety of cultures and physical environments. Colomba’s art explores natural elements such as animals, plants, fungi and even microfauna. In October 2023, her first solo exhibition, “Microscopic” was exhibited at the Banana Gallery in Boston, Massachusetts.

Charlise Bar-Shai: What made you want to become an artist?
Colomba Klenner: It took me a long time to realize that being an artist was possible. I have been drawing, painting, and making my whole life. Yet being a professional artist seemed like a pipe dream. I instead chose the “less risky” path of becoming a makeup artist instead, while living in Singapore. I got certified as an MUA but my career was short-lived. I found MassArt in 2019 and visiting Boston was incredibly inspiring to me. There is art in every corner of this city and it showed me that a career in visual arts was absolutely possible and even encouraged.

CB: I saw on your website that you’ve lived in Chile, Singapore, and the United States. Your body of work is very diverse and shows that you have a lot of influences. How has living in each location shaped your art?
CK: I am very drawn to organic subjects. As such my biggest influences from all the countries I’ve lived in present themselves in plants, flowers and fruits. For example, Singapore has incredible fruits and flowers I had never seen or heard of before because I had never been in the tropics. Because of Singapore, I am fascinated by orchids. They now present themselves in my work either literally or within my color palettes and shapes. It’s like that for all the countries I’ve lived in. I keep pictures of things that inspire me in folders and there are a vast amount of pictures of the South of Chile, Singapore and the Acadia National Park in Maine. Whenever I need inspiration I look at these little mood boards I’ve created for myself and pick elements and colors that I can adapt into my own practice.

CB: I want to say that I love your usage of contrasting colors, like in your pieces “Pixie Cup” and “Astrana.” How do you decide what colors you want to select for your pieces? Do you have a particular mood or tone you like to use color to achieve?
CK: Thank you, color theory is one of the most useful things I learned in art school. Most of the decisions that I make, including my color palettes, are carefully thought through. I do color studies for more complex pieces where I test out how using certain colors will impact the composition of my paintings. Mood is a big part of it too when I do color studies. Sometimes I may think “I want to make this in red, because it’s passionate” but it turns out when I do the color study it looks angry, so I know to change it to a pink. I think about what I want to covey and test it out. While all that is true and part of my process, there are certain color palettes I’m just naturally drawn to. I love green, as you can see in both “Pixie Cup” and “Astrana”, I love analogues cool color palettes (such as blue, purple, pink), and I love limited color palettes.

CB: I’d like to talk a bit about your “Microscopic” series. I’m really in love with your approach and how unique the subject matter is. Can you describe what your process was for creating these pieces?
CK: I really appreciate that. I’ve been working on “Microscopic” for about a year. When I started this collection it was just me playing around because I had seen a kiwi under a microscope and thought it was fascinating. I had a strong desire to paint it and was very intrigued. I later got interest from someone who wanted to buy that first painting and that’s when I figured out that if I enjoy doing it and people are interested, these pieces could become a collection or a larger project. That’s when I went out and bought a microscope and the real fun started. My process for the pieces is as follows: I go out into the world and find something I love. A mushroom, a flower, anything that intrigues me. I take a thin sample of whatever material I found on a microscope slide and I examine it thoroughly under my microscope. I record that process and go back later to find references of interesting colors, compositions and textures. I then start preparing to paint. I get a wood panel and cover it with mulberry paper first, this is an important step to create texture and a more visually interesting painting. Finally, I’m ready to start the actual painting.

CB: Speaking of “Microscopic” series. I saw that was your first solo exhibition last month. First, I want to say congratulations. Secondly, what was it like having a solo exhibition for the first time? Was it scary? Exciting?
CK: Thank you so much! Having my first solo exhibition was so exciting! And also scary, and also a little difficult. I had been in group shows before but a solo show proved to be very different. First, I had to handle all the curating and reception details by myself. I created the poster for the show, made some flyers and put the word out myself. I’m confident in my work and created work that I can say I truly love and I am truly proud, but that’s why it was scary. What if no one came? What if people didn’t like it? Am I completely delusional? Ultimately it was a success and some pieces sold. I had a lot of fun listening to people tell me which were their favorites and why. I look forward to putting “Microscopic” with additional pieces in another gallery someday and to plan the exhibit for my (still unreleased) new body of work sometime next year.

CB: What has been the biggest challenge you’ve faced as an artist so far?
CK: My biggest challenge would probably be finding that balance between the financial aspects of being an artist with the creative process and creative vision. As someone doing this full-time now I have to worry about things like taxes and the business side of being a practicing artist which is often not taught. There is also the other side which is that you have to make a living and get your work out there, the creative vision might get compromised because it’s up to someone else if it gets shown. My first solo exhibition proposal was “Sea Life” and it focused on an environmental criticism of the fishing industry. That didn’t take off perhaps because it was too controversial. I’m sure I will find the right gallery to show that work in due time. In the meantime I had “Microscopic” which wasn’t trying to criticize or educate but rather show observations that I found fascinating and thought the public would too. It is something to think about when doing creative work.

Meet the Interns Continued, Pt. 4

This semester, Superstition Review is highlighting the Editors producing Issue 32. On Dec. 1st, readers will be able to view content that these interns have worked to compile over the course of the semester.

Meet John-John O’Connor, issue 32 art editor

SR: What are your plans for after graduation?
After graduation I am looking to apply to law school.

SR: What are you currently reading?
The Stand by Stephen King.

SR: What is one place you’d like to travel to?
JO: Oaxaca, Mexico

Meet Jonathan Gillespie, issue 32 advertising coordinator

SR: What are your plans for after graduation?
To either enter education or business administration.

SR: What are you currently reading?
Blood Meridian.

SR: What is one place you’d like to travel to?
JG: The Netherlands.

Meet Hope Kan, issue 32 social media manager

SR: What are your plans for after graduation?
HK: I plan to go into publishing and editing and pursue a Masters program.

SR: What are you currently reading?
I am currently reading The Great Shark Hunt by Hunter S Thompson

SR: Describe your perfect Saturday morning.
HK: Go on a hike, have a yummy breakfast, and enjoy a productive couple hours before seeing friends!

Be sure to read Issue 32 of Superstition Review launching December 1.