Contributor Update, Lessa-Cross Smith

Join Superstition Review in congratulating past contributor Lessa-Cross Smith on her new book, This Close to Okay. The fiction novel depicts two strangers and the weekend they share, after, one, Tallie Clark, spots the other, Emmet, standing at the edge of a bridge. The story alternates between the two’s perspectives as they come closer to learning the truth as to what brought them together.

“Leesa Cross-Smith is a consummate storyteller who uses her formidable talents to tell the oft-overlooked stories of people living in that great swath of place between the left and right coasts.”

Roxane Gay, New York Times bestselling author

To order This Close to Okay click here. Also, be sure to check of Lessa-Cross’ website and Twitter, as well as, our interview with her from Issue 15.

An Evening With Rebecca Fish Ewan

Join the Hippocampus Magazine in their An Evening with Rebecca Fish Ewan event, “a discussion and Q&A with memoirist, poet, and cartoonist Rebecca Fish Ewan.” Here is their message about the event:

“We released Rebecca’s fun, new, interactive book, Doodling for Writers, during the height of the pandemic so — well, things got a little “drawn out!” So we’re kicking off the New Year with a bit of a belated book birthday celebration, online, Tuesday, Feb. 9 at 7 p.m. eastern time.”

This will event will include: a welcome from Alex at Midtown Scholar, a discussion with Rebecca and Donna Talarico (the publishers), an audience Q& A, as well as, optional, fun activities (bring a pencil!).

“Plus, chances to win cozy & comfy Doodle On! t-shirts and mini Doodle On! notebooks.”

Also, “Rebecca will sign a bookplate (a fun, colorful sticker to put inside your book!) —  and maybe even scribble a doodle just for you! — for everyone who purchases (or has purchased) a book. This will hit your mailbox about two weeks after the event.”

To sign up for the event and learn more, click here. To pre-order Rebecca’s book, click here. Also, make sure to follow Rebecca on both her LinkedIn Profile or website.

Contributor Update, Hannah Brown

Join Superstition Review in celebrating some exciting news for contributor Hannah Brown. An excerpt from Hannah’s book in progress, My Girl Harry, “about a young person definitely on the spectrum,” has won the 2021 Cecil Connelly Award for Literary Persistence. The Cecil Awards are “a celebration of under-the-radar talent, persistence, and positivity despite adversity. They are also a response to the “emerging,” “young” and “40 under 40” writer awards and headlines that exclude older writers.”

Congratulations on your excellent work Hannah!

To read the excerpt of My Girl Harry, click here.

Also, don’t forget to check out Hannah’s short story, “On Any Windy Day” from our Issue 15, her podcast featured previously on our blog, as well as her guest post.

Contributor Update, Emily Banks

Join Superstition Review in congratulating past contributor Emily Banks on the publication of her poetry collection, Mother Water. Emily’s poetry collection covers a wide range of topics and emotions as well as features poems from her past work with Superstition Review, including “Poem for the Juvenile Cardinals” and “On the M15 Bus” from Issue 22.

Mother Water centers on maternal inheritance in literal and figurative forms. Through its water motif, the book traces the speaker’s transformations as she absorbs, and often resists, lessons from the women who guide her. The poems explore the speaker’s sense of self through feminine genealogy and her mother’s voice, the mother figure becoming simultaneously nurturing and threatening, teaching her daughter to survive in a perilous world. Coming-of-age poems are here, too, and poems exploring gender mystique, balance, relationship, and understanding. The book’s last section considers how we are altered by loss and how that alteration challenges our notions of both individual subjectivity and bodily autonomy.

University of Washington Press

Click here to order your own copy of Mother Water. Also, be sure to check out Emily’s website and Twitter as well as her past Guest Post.

Contributor Updates, Candace Jane Opper

Join Superstition Review in congratulating past contributor Candace Jane Opper on her new book Certain and Impossible Events. The book, an investigative memoir that looks at the cultural history of suicide in America, was selected by Cheryl Strayed as the winner of the Kore Press Memoir Prize.

“Certain and Impossible Events is a stunning gutpunch of a memoir for the heart and for the head. In laser-sharp, near-cinematic prose, Candace Opper both remembers and discovers the childhood friend lost to suicide, a decades-long examination of the hierarchy of grief and the nature of personal obsession. I kept putting the book down to remind myself to breathe. I kept picking it up to find out what happened next. I’ll keep picking it up for what it shows me about this beautiful mess of a world and how I can better walk through it.”

Megan Steilstra, author of The Wrong Way to Save Your Life

Candace has also made a zine as an visual postscript for the book, so don’t forget to check that out here.

Click here to order Certain and Impossible Events. Be sure to also check out Candace’s website and Twitter, as well as, an interview with Candace, including a discussion of the process of writing this memoir in Issue 26.

Contributor Update, Matthew Gavin Frank

Join Superstition Review in congratulating past contributor Matthew Gavin Frank on his forthcoming book. Matthew will be releasing Flight of the Diamond Smugglers: A Tale of Pigeons, Obsession, and Greed Along Coastal South Africa on February 23, 2021.

Equal parts memoir and investigative reporting, the latest from Frank … is a page-turning tale of suspense…With novelistic writing, Frank masterfully weaves a fast-paced history of South Africa’s Diamond Coast, and the impact of De Beers controlling both the land and the government. His thorough reporting on mineworkers, their pigeons, and towns that have struggled in the wake of mine closures makes for compelling reading. The author excels in allowing people to speak for themselves, adding personal touches to a history of greed and trauma. VERDICT Frank writes a fascinating story of grief and history that will draw readers in from the first page. Must-read narrative nonfiction.

Stephanie Sendaula, Library Journal

We previously featured Matthew’s poetry in both Issue 1,”For Cameron Hope” and “Vesper”, and Issue 7, “The Sticking-Place, Stripped Screws”. He has additionally been featured on our blog numerous times with his Guest Post, Memories of Arizona as Filtered Through Some Theories on the Sonoran Hot Dog, and with his interviews in both 2010 and 2012.

Click here to preorder Flight of the Diamond Smugglers: A Tale of Pigeons, Obsession, and Greed Along Coastal South Africa. Be sure to also check out Matthew’s website and Twitter.

The Line, Literary Review

Join Columbia University in the launching of their new literary review, The Line, a non-profit journal exclusive to veteran writing. Tomorrow, January 27th at 7:00pm EST, The Line launches with work by Matt Gallagher, Lindsay Swoboda, Bob Hanson, and J.H. Crain. The Line will also feature readings by writers from Words After War, Women Veterans Empowered and Thriving, Voices From War, Warrior Writers, United States Veterans’ Artist Alliance (USVAA), and the Writer’s Guild’s Veterans Writing Project.

The Line is committed to a new generation of creative veterans, spotlighting those driven to produce contemplative, compelling, and cathartic content. Our primary focus is to publish veteran literature, art, social commentary, and reviews; we will consider any material created to bridge the gap between veterans and contemporary audiences.

To register for a free ticket click here and to read more about The Line click here

NEA Big Read Phoenix

Celebrating Indigenous Literary Arts & Culture Across The Valley

Join the Virginia G. Piper Center for Creative Writing in their NEA Big Read: Phoenix. Here is their message about the event:

“Working with over 40 authors, speakers, and community organizations, the Virginia G. Piper Center for Creative Writing at Arizona State University is proud to announce the NEA Big Read: Phoenix, a celebration of Indigenous literary arts and culture across the Valley in February and March 2021.”

“Inspired by The Round House, an award-winning novel from Anishinaabe author Louise Erdrich, the NEA Big Read: Phoenix features over 25 talks, workshops, performances, art exhibitions, book clubs, and other virtual events centered around creative writing, community archiving, storytelling, and family history…”

“The majority of events are open to the public and free. For events with limited capacity or paid registration, members of Indigenous communities receive discounts and priority seating.”

To learn more or to view the full schedule, visit their website here.

Desert Nights, Rising Stars Virtual Writers Conference

Early registration extended through to February!

Join the Virginia G. Piper Center for Creative Writing in their annual Desert Nights, Rising Stars Writing Conference! Here is their message about the event:

“The past year has been difficult, to say the least. As a center, we want to make it as easy and accessible as possible for you to be creative while continuing to stay healthy and safe. And thanks to the generosity of the Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust, it’s our pleasure to announce that we’re extending the early registration rate for this year’s Desert Nights, Rising Stars Virtual Writers Conference through February.”

” The Desert Nights, Rising Stars Virtual Writers Conference is February 18 – 20, 2021 on Zoom. Advance your craft, meet other writers, and produce new work with your choice of over 60 sessions in fiction, creative nonfiction, poetry, memoir, fantasy, romance, science fiction, screenwriting, publishing, and more. Writers of all experience levels and backgrounds are welcome. Advanced workshops and pitch sessions with agents and editors are available, too. This year’s keynotes are Linda Hogan and Beverly Jenkins. Other faculty include Mahogany L. Browne, Matt Bell, Alan Dean Foster, Marcelo Hernandez Castillo, Cynthia Pelayo, Evan Winter, and Erika T. Wurth. Early registration is only $225. Meet our faculty, view the schedule, and learn more today here.

If the conference still feels like it’s beyond your reach or you just don’t feel like it’s the right time for you, we’ve got additional discounts for senior citizens, students, veterans, ASU affiliates, and anyone experiencing a financial hardship, plus free keynotes, public workshops, single-day passes, and other ways to engage outside of the full registration (not to mention smaller classes and workshops with the Piper Writers Studio). There are always plenty of free talks and readings, too.”

To learn more about the Virgina G. Piper Center for Creative Writing, click here.

Poetry Blog: Jaclyn Youhana Garver

Following is an interview conducted by Superstition Review‘s Poetry Editor, Erin Peters.

Jaclyn Youhana Garver is a freelance writer in Fort Wayne, Indiana. She writes fiction and poetry, and she has been featured in Narrow Road, Poets Reading the News, and Prometheus Dreaming (forthcoming). Her work has also been chosen by the Wick Poetry Center as a Traveling Stanza selection.  


Jaclyn’s Poem:

A COLLEGE GIRL MAKES WARDROBE DECISIONS BASED ON THE POSSIBILITY OF A RANDOM TSA SCREENING

    1964

White kid gloves / cinched waist / her perched hat the 
precise plum match to her two-piece suit / a corsage

    (seriously, a goddamned corsage)

/ a Cherries in the Snow pout / a blushing visage 
coral or rose / a fur, perhaps, in beaver or lamb.

    2004

Pajama pants, peppered in cartoons / flip flops 
with jewels that stud the thongs / pigtails 

    (seriously, goddamn pigtails)

/ a gray T-shirt that boasts, 
“Journalists do it daily.”

Don’t look at me, Terry, standing in line. I know 
you’ve a quota to meet, so many at random

searches to complete to assure you don’t permit on 
the plane any drugs, bombs or hydrogen dioxide. 

    (Water, Terry, I’m talking about water.)

It doesn’t matter, though. You’ll search me nonetheless, 
just like that agent last time and the agent who’ll be next.

And anyways, I’ll stick with PJs and pigtails, my sandwich 
board to shout I’m threatening like sidewalk chalk, an eagle 

scout, freckles, and winks, but apparently, the extra melanin 
in my skin, a gift from my father, means you must pull me

from the line, away from my friends—none of whom you
also select at random, I see, goddamn it, Terry—so you 

run the backs of your Caucasian hands along my Persian arms, 
my cartooned inseam, my Assyrian torso. Then you make me move 

my Iranian pigtails from my Middle Eastern shoulders. 
You look so bored, Terry, and I wonder if you notice: 

We’re quite the chatty portrait of our country tis of thee.

Interview With Jaclyn:

The setting of your poem is very specific and relatable for people who have travelled in American airports. What inspired you to write about the experience of a TSA screening?

This summer, I found a photo of myself at an airport in 2004, with two college friends, on the way to a Society of Professional Journalists conference in NYC. For the three or so years after 9/11, I began to be “randomly” searched on every flight I boarded. Seriously. Every flight. I thought it would help if I dressed in an unintimidating way. I remember I did this each time I flew, but it was wild to see photographic proof, especially compared to two other young adults who were dressed in, you know, normal airplane-appropriate clothing. Finding the photo, seeing how 21-year-old me felt like she had to dress, seriously pissed me off.

You’ve spent an impressive amount of time working for daily newspapers during your professional career. How do you feel this writing experience impacted you creatively? 

I can’t even imagine writing creatively without my journalism experience. Writing for a daily newspaper made me completely deadline-focused. If a journalist doesn’t finish her story on time, there could an actual hole in the newspaper. Plus, the piece needs to be done well and accurately, often in hours or less—journalists don’t have days and days to perfect a piece of writing. 

I adore the saying Done is better than perfect. Writers, especially creative writers, can get stuck in this I can’t show this to anyone because it’s not perfect hole. Then nothing ever gets finished. Writing for a daily newspaper was a wonderful way to keep from being too precious about my words. What I write matters, and it’s important to me, but once I turn in a story, it’s on to the next thing.

Writing for daily publication also gave me tough skin. I adore editor feedback and love seeing how subsequent drafts improve. Similarly, I also trust my gut. Writing is a wonderful mixture of both subjectivity and objectivity, even in poetry. My newspaper experience gave me an almost scientific approach to being creative.

What audience do you hope to reach through your poetry? Why is this audience meaningful to you?

As a reader, the best feeling is “Oh my goodness, you too? I thought I was the only one.” As a writer, then, that’s who I want to reach—anyone who has felt like me, to help them feel less alone. Strangely, the opposite is true, too: It’s such a rush to be told “I never thought of it in that way before.” 

Those audiences are meaningful to me because it means we have a shared experience. Especially in 2020, feeling a connection—to anyone, even some writer you’ve never met—is vital. 

How has the global pandemic impacted your creative process?

The pandemic hasn’t impacted my creative process so much as it’s impacted my creative output. I’ve written poetry since I was about 12 and I had a writing minor in college, so writing creatively has always been a part of my life. However, the pandemic made me itch to do more. I answered that by enrolling in a poetry class. The instructor helped me figure out what was missing from my poetry unlike any writing teacher I’ve had before. After the class, I asked where she was teaching next, and I signed up for that class, too. She helped me see where and how my work could be improved, which simultaneously showed me how to edit my own work.

This year has been hard, and there are a few things I can point to and say “That, specifically, made things a little easier.” Writing poetry is one of those things.

What is the most important piece of advice you have received as a writer?

In college, a journalism professor taught us to let the other person have the last say. When someone reaches out to a reporter to complain about something they wrote, the caller or emailer doesn’t actually care what the writer has to say about it. They just want to be heard (and maybe to be nasty). That knowledge, that someone who has something mean to say isn’t looking for a response, is incredibly freeing.

What are your upcoming projects?

I have a number of manuscripts in the works, but two are currently taking up the most of my time—a poetry book and a women’s fiction novel, which I will be pitching to agents early next year. I also write horror short stories. I love bouncing between genres and working on projects of varying lengths.