AWP 2021 Conference


Join Superstition Review in attending the Association of Writers and Writer Programs’ 2021 Conference, March 3rd-7th. “The AWP Conference & Bookfair is the annual destination for writers, teachers, students, editors, and publishers of contemporary creative writing. It includes thousands of attendees, hundreds of events & bookfair exhibitors, and five days of essential literary conversation and celebration.”

This March the conference will be held virtually with some events being prerecorded and premiered at specified dates and times and others being held live (with text-based Q&As). Additionally, AWP has now made it possible for registered attendees to create their own plan for the conference, as they will “receive access to a separate virtual conference platform” where they can “browse all events, read presenter bios, and create [their] own personal event schedule.”

We look forward to seeing you there!

To learn more as well as to register to attend the 2021 AWP Conference click here.

Contributor Update, Sherrie Flick: Thank Your Lucky Stars

We are happy to announce the news of past contributor Sherrie Flick! Her latest collection, Thank Your Lucky Stars,was published last September in 2018. Sherrie will be attending the AWP conference from March 27-30 to appear on panels and offer readings and signings. Thank your Lucky Stars is a collection of fifty stories ranging across all subjects and emotions. Each story attacks the human experience and details love and loss in poetic images and quick wit.

More information about the collection and Sherrie’s upcoming events can be found here, and her nonfiction piece for Issue 10 can be found here.

Congratulations, Sherrie!

Superstition Review at AWP

AWP 2018 MapIf you haven’t heard already, Superstition Review will be attending the 2018 AWP Conference in Tampa, Florida next week. You can visit us at booth T1213 where we will also be representing Iron City Magazine.

We are excited as day one is approaching quickly, the conference is less then a week away.

Want to keep up with Superstition Review during AWP? Visit our Pinterest! AWP 2018 Florida will keep you current while AWP 2017 DC and earlier AWP boards will share experiences from our past attendances.

Speaking of the past, Samantha Allen shared, “10 Survival Tips for AWP Newbies” on the blog. While these tips come from 2012, tip number one, wearing comfortable shoes, is timeless.

We look forward to seeing you there!

Contributor Update: Sarah Vap

Past contributor Sarah Vap was recently featured on the literary podcast, Commonplace: Conversations with Poets (and Other People). Sarah Vap bio pictureRachel Zucker interviews Sarah about upcoming manuscripts, her writing as craft, and her panel at this year’s AWP. You can listen to the conversation here.

Sarah was also featured on the Speedway and Swan podcast with guest host Susan Briante. You can listen to that conversation here, where they discuss the many forms that poetry can take.

Sarah’s interview with Superstition Review can be found in issue 13 here.

Contributor Update: Patrick Madden Is A Machine (With A Heart Of Gold)

Top of the afternoon, dearest readers! We here at Superstition Review  are rife with news from the Occident after a barn-burner of a conference at this year’s AWP, held in the belly of the beast in Washington, D.C. Past contributor Patrick Madden is co-editing the 21st Century Essays series with none other than David Lazar! 21st Century Essays is put out through Ohio State University Press, and they themselves have some great news: The 2017 Gournay Prize is taking submissions from now until March 15. If anyone out there has a book-length collection of essays, or knows someone who might, tell them to check out this link here. There’s a publication deal with a cash prize of $1,000 in it for ’em if they win!

"Oh yeah. We happy."
“What we imagine it might be like to win a book deal and get $1,000.”

And the proliferation doesn’t stop there: Madden also has provided us with the announcement for not one but TWO collections of essays, titled (respectively) “After Montaigne” (which was also co-edited with David Lazar), out from University of Georgia Press, and “Sublime Physick” (for which Patrick Madden is the sole progenitor), put out through University of Nebraska Press.

Buy these books!
Covers for both “After Montaigne” and “Sublime Physick.”

Suffice it to say, Patrick Madden keeps the hits comin’, and we here at Superstition Review are only too happy to share these with you, dear readers. Congratulations to Patrick Madden, and David Lazar, for all their hard work!

That about does it for us today, gang. Thanks for reading, and always, let us know what you think in the comments section below.

AWP Giveaway!

Superstition Review table at the AWP writers' conferenceThis weekend Superstition Review has a table at the AWP Writers’ conference in Washington DC. We have some really cool swag, including mugs, t-shirts, and notebooks we are raffling to convention-goers. If you’re at AWP this weekend and want to win, follow us on twitter @Superstitionrev and send us a tweet saying “Hello @superstitionrev from AWP.” Winners will be announced on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday at 4PM. Swing by the Superstition Review booth (501-T) to claim your prizes.

You can find out more about AWP here:


Contributor Update: “I Think You’re Totally Wrong” Is Totally Brilliant

Hey there, campers! Have you found yourself wandering the dark recesses of your streaming video service of choice, looking for something to watch and coming up short every time? All caught up on Breaking Thrones and Boardwalks & Recreation? Perfect, then we’ve got something you’re going to want to watch; Superstition Review contributors David Shields and Caleb Powell co-wrote a book called “I Think You’re Totally Wrong: A Quarrel,” which has been turned in to a feature-length film, directed by none other than the proverbial Renaissance Man himself, James Franco. Here’s the trailer:

“I Think You’re Totally Wrong” is currently available in select cities across the U.S.A., but we here Superstition Review got our hands on an advance copy of the film, so we can tell you with some authority: it’s good. The film combines the simmering tension and wit of two writers at the height of their argumentative powers, with the all the introspection and sincerity that one finds in conversations with their closest friends. Shields and Powell muse on the what it means to be engaged with a life well-lived and how that relates to craft and creation, the responsibilities of an artist with respect to honesty and vulnerability, and whether or not it’s possible, or even advisable, to stay out of trouble while being an artist. Raw, funny, and tender as all-get-out, this one is a “must-watch” for anyone who has ever found themselves wondering about the importance of art as it relates to the life of an artist, and conversely, what is the importance of the life of an artist as it relates to an artist’s life.

Read this book! See this movie!
Cover for the print version of “I Think You’re Totally Wrong: A Quarrel”

Covered by everybody from Elle Magazine to the Boston Globe, “I Think You’re Totally Wrong” is by any metric, a burgeoning critical hit. Do yourself the immense kindness of finding a screening near you (details can be found here), and as always, drop us a line in the comments section below.

Editorial Preferences in Nonfiction: Sophie Graham

When I read I want to be surprised- I want to see something new in the story that I have never seen before. I find myself drawn to more modern writing styles, the riskier and the more artful the better. How the author uses words to describe places, things, people, ideas or feelings is critical. Without art and skill in how a writer describes the concepts of the story, the writing falls flat as I am unable to really imagine what the writer is trying to describe and I can’t engage in the text. The writer should use words in a style unlike what I normally see, so the piece is entirely unique. The idea behind the words should be just as creative and original as the words themselves- I want to be lead to reflect on the piece long after I have finished reading. Presenting some new question, idea, or experience for me to read about always gets my attention.

In nonfiction, the author reigns supreme. You’re the main character of your own story in nonfiction, and it revolves around you. When I read a nonfiction piece, I want as much information and detail about the author as possible from every sense. The more detail and description the author gives in a story the more able I am to fully reflect on the story they just told me. The descriptions should not only be affective and creative- but artful, almost poetic. The more beautiful a piece is to read, and the longer I find myself thinking about it after I finish it, the better I judge the piece to be.


Headshot for Sophie Graham
Sophie Graham, Nonfiction Editor for Superstition Review

Sophie Graham is a junior at Arizona State University double majoring in English Literature and Sociology, and minoring in Geography. She is currently the Nonfiction Editor for Superstition Review. She is also a Writing Tutor at the ASU Tutoring Center. Upon Graduation, she plans to pursue her interests in social work and education.

Contributor Update: Get in the Flow with the 10th Anniversary Issue of “diode”

Greetings, true believers! We here at Superstition Review have an extra-special announcement: Our dear friends over at diode have released their 10th Anniversary Issue, replete with the profoundly excellent poetic stylings of more than a few past contributors to Superstition Review, including (but not limited to);

  • John Gallaher
  • Rae Gouirand
  • Carolyn Guinzio
  • Kathleen Hellen
  • Bob Hicok
  • Susan Rich
  • Lee Ann Roripaugh
  • Patricia Colleen Murphy

Do yourself the immense kindness of taking a lil’ poetry break with the 10th Anniversary issue of diode, and to the goodly gaggle over at diode, Superstition Review says congratulations! Here’s to a hundred more years of poetry.

Cheers to diode!
The logo for diode, currently celebrating 10 excellent years of existence.

Guest Post, Matthew Lippman: Sacrifice of Love

Sacrifice of Love: The Poetry of Daniel DeLeon


Daniel DeLeon
Daniel DeLeon

This is what I know. I know a young man—an old student of mine. He loved his poetry. He went off to college and continued to love his poetry. Spoken Word was his thing. The performance of singing a poem, of spitting a poem, spoke to him as both prayer and survival. He graduated college and came back to the school where I am still employed. He is now my colleague. We work in the same department teaching poetry and literature to young people. His name is Daniel DeLeon and he is a force. He told me a few months back that he wants to be the mayor of Boston. A Spoken Word artist as the mayor of Boston. I said, “You should be the president of the world.” God knows we need one now more than ever and why not a poet.

When I said this, he laughed. We were sitting in the classroom as colleagues. 7  years earlier we were in the same classroom. He was writing poems as a 17 year old, writing and reading with such focus and purpose that he blew away anything and everything in his path. Till this day I remember a poem he wrote about the toilet in his grandmother’s house in Guatemala. “You have to move a stone slab in order to take a leak,” he told the class. Danny did not care about the scatological nature of his piece. He was proud of his story. A proud young man is hard not to notice. Daniel, on his quest into the adult world, has not lost his pride. It has gotten brighter. It shines even when he is in pain. I thought about that when we were sitting together in our classroom talking about his poetry and his political aspirations. “It’s just about community,” he told me, “and giving back.” I wondered, “Which?” “Both,” he informed me, “both.”

I have thought a lot about the existence of poetry in the world, in the history of the world, as a glue, or, the potential it has to bring folks together. It used to serve this purpose, think Homer, folks in communal joy under the night sky, the hungry flames shooting up into the dance of Cassiopeia and Andromeda. In the pubs and social halls of Limerick. Story-time at the local library. But, the poetry of America if not, for the most part, performed as Performance Poetry, does not bring people together. Poetry is not about community. Ben Lerner knows this. Jorie Graham knows this. If you go to any AWP, AWP knows this. At any one of these conferences there are 2 very divergent waves coming at each other from different parts of the big ballroom where the book fair hails. There is the wave of ‘we are all in this together’ and then there is the other wave of ‘what nut can I get today?’ It’s sad and scary because it obliterates community. More specifically, it obliterates the community that does not come to AWP–the community of the neighborhood, of the schoolyard, of the rest of the world in its turmoil and beauty. Daniel DeLeon, though in his own BMW of desire, has intentions to allow poetry to be a foundation for bringing people together. At Boston College he created a Spoken Word club that grew from 10 to 200 and gave hours and hours of pleasure and joy to hundreds more. I have seen Mr. DeLeon perform his work. It’s intoxicating both as performance and on the page. It’s a poetry that lives in the present, ruminates on his experience growing up in difficult circumstances, and yet, at the same time, resonates with a population of people in this country who have tasted privilege. It is a poetry, which speaks to everyone because it is a prayer for the living, for all people-kind.

Sacrificial Poet


I remember my first prayer,

I kept my eyes open and carefully watched every syllable fall off my mother’s lips

until it was my turn to talk to God

I was old enough to know that Santa was my uncle dressed in a red suit

with a white beard,

but too young to understand why God, doesn’t talk back.


I couldn’t understand why we were rich in spirit, but couldn’t afford milk for my morning bowl of cereal.

I prayed anyway,

told God to buy mommy a house with an ATM machine in the living room so that she would never have to scrounge up change to buy a loaf a bread, ever again.


I told him, if that’s too much,

then maybe he could help me behave

so that daddy would stop putting his hands on me.

15 years later I finally understand that there is no man in the clouds

just picture frames of a pale-skinned Jesus

and that I was a poor naïve boy worshiping a white man’s image of God.


Have  you ever seen a peasant bow before a king?

Have you ever seen a slave kneel unto his master?

I haven’t, but I’ve see loyal servants bend into submission

at the altar; praising their almighty God.

Palms pressed against the sky begging to receive answers to their prayers and petitions.

Placing unrequited hopes in a being they can’t see, let alone begin to understand

yet they stand, firmly in beliefs


Waiting and waiting, for something I know nothing of,

something they call salvation,

but I’ve been waiting years for someone to save me from myself

and I’m still waiting to be rescued

I’m still waiting to find refuge in a the shadows of a merciful king

whom I was told cold wash away my sin

but I’m done waiting.


I searched and couldn’t find you.

I called you by name and you wouldn’t respond;

I started crying and you weren’t there to wipe my tears;

I had nothing but a pillow to hug and an emptiness inside me,

a void I wanted to fill,

hunger I wanted to satisfy,

until I heard a poem that said,

“Poet, don’t try to fill that void.

Be hungry, it wont kill you.”


And for I second I thought I heard God in poetry,

only to realize God is poetry because poetry is an enormous love for humanity.


Haven’t you heard of the sacrificial poet?

The ultimate sacrifice, forfeiting fear, and subjecting themselves to scrutiny, yet still

forgiving those who don’t understand this love.

This brave soul crucifies their craft to this stage

puts their expression on display

only to facilitate the salvation and validation of others


For these saviors you don’t have to wait 3 days

just 3 minutes and 3 scorecards that’ll show you everything

you need to know.

See sometimes, when I spit my poems

I close my eyes and picture myself on a pulpit

and imagine that this is my prayer for you.


And even though I no longer praise my mother’s God

I’ve watched myself become a loyal servant, too.

A slave to this pen

pushing it across pages,

a painstaking process

to remind me that just because God doesn’t answer prayers

it doesn’t mean we should lose hope in poetry.



If rapture is the essential driving force behind poetry, some way to use language in form, shape, color, tone and texture to get to a daily ecstatic harmonic temperament, then DeLeon’s poetry is working toward that, not only in content but in exercise. It’s prayer for him, an ongoing conversation between himself and that other thing beyond. If rapture is the thing we lose when we move out of our youthful playfulness and endearment, then rapture is the thing we try and regain, move closer to, with our poetry. Danny writes, “See sometimes, when I spit my poems/I close my eyes and picture myself on a pulpit/And imagine that this is my prayer for you.” Preacher. Teacher. Mayor. President. Poet. His work comes out of a direct service of illuminating some kind of divine community that is, at the core, this human reverence which is love. His poetry is not only word but it is also act. It strives to be body, to take place in the body, to meet the bodies it meets, as body. Part of this comes from the performance element to his verse. It is written to be listened to, to be heard and seen. His writing is both astonishing and astonishment. It is the other side of ‘being cheap.’ His poetry is generosity and gift, for everyone. DeLeon is not interested in contempt, he is interested in the soul to soul, the face to face, the love to love, that comes from spitting a poem in the hottest night, in the greasiest garage, under the fullest moon. What DeLeon knows is that poetry is love. And, if it is love, it has to be God. Any good poem, in the realm of the unsayable, to be said, is doing that divine work to be love. To be act. And you can’t mess with that no matter the landscape of this country, the landscape of the heart and its big boom into the world.