Each Tuesday we feature audio or video of an SR Contributor reading their work. Today we’re proud to feature a podcast by Dinah Cox.
Dinah Cox’s first book of stories, Remarkable, won the fourth annual BOA Short Fiction Prize and is forthcoming from BOA Editions in 2016. Her stories appear or are forthcoming in StoryQuarterly, Prairie Schooner, Calyx, Cream City Review, Salt Hill, South Dakota Review, J Journal, and elsewhere. She is a Visiting Assistant Professor in the English Department at Oklahoma State University where she also is an Associate Editor at Cimarron Review.
Each Tuesday we feature audio or video of an SR Contributor reading their work. Today we’re proud to feature a podcast by poet Colleen Abel.
Colleen Abel is the author of Housewifery, a chapbook (dancing girl press, 2013). A former Diane Middlebrook Poetry Fellow, her work has appeared in numerous venues including The Southern Review, Mid-American Review, West Branch, The Journal, Cimarron Review, Verse Daily, Cincinnati Review, Ploughshares’ blog, and elsewhere. She holds a PhD from UW-Milwaukee and is currently the Joan Beebe Teaching Fellow at Warren Wilson College.
Each Tuesday we feature audio or video of an SR Contributor reading their work. Today we’re proud to feature a podcast by poet Ruben Quesada.
Ruben Quesada is the author of Next ExtinctMammal (2011) andLuis Cernuda: Exiled from the Throne of Night (2008). His writing appears in The AmericanPoetry Review, Cimarron Review, The California Journal of Poetry & Poetics, and elsewhere. He teaches at Eastern Illinois University.
For many years I resisted submitting my work to online journals. I suppose I was afraid they didn’t have the reputation of paper journals, and that my university wouldn’t consider them legitimate venues for a creative writing professor’s work. Or maybe there was something off-putting about reading something on the same plastic device I composed it on. Reading my work in published form already makes me squirm; too often I want to declunkify numerous sentences. At least if the story or essay is already in a book or journal there’s not much you can do about it. It’s there with all its blemishes permanently intact.
Words on a computer screen, on the other hand, seem so ephemeral. All writers want their work to survive the ages. A book might become thick with dust, but you can still store, and then later find it on a shelf. With one click on a computer you can replace your work in an on-line journal with Miley Cyrus’s latest twerking pic.
But two years ago my attitude towards online journals changed completely. At AWP one year, novelist Leslie Pietrzyk asked me to submit something to Redux, a new on-line journal devoted to “reprinting” stories, poems and essays that had once appeared in journals now “languishing on dusty library shelves.” No one had ever solicited work from me before. I was thrilled, even it was “only” for an on-line journal. Some months later I sent Leslie “Tourist Season at Auschwitz,” which originally appeared in The Gettysburg Review. (I found out later that the issue containing my essay sold out.) It appeared in Redux a month or two later. The journal is a simple affair. Each weekly issue contains just one story, essay or poem, followed by an account of its composition. Leslie uses a simple WordPress blogging program with few bells and whistles. This being a labor of love, Redux can’t pay its contributors.
At about the same time Traveler’s Tales published A Small Key Opens Big Doors, one of four anthologies celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Peace Corps. It contains my essay “Caroline,” which first appeared some years ago in Cimarron Review. (Like “Tourist Season at Auschwitz,” “Caroline” sprang from the same frantic pile of material I wrote after my three visits to Auschwitz in the early 90’s.) It’s a beautiful volume—thick, creamy paper, an eye catching, dark red cover. It looks like an appropriate Christmas gift, or something you’d give to someone going into the Peace Corps. My remuneration? Contributor’s copies.
I pushed both the anthology and the online journal, using all the social networking I could stomach: My blog, Twitter, Facebook, etc. Because the essays are drawn from a common material I was able to broadcast both on any number of Facebook pages, including ones devoted to Peace Corps Poland, Polish American Writers, and stories of World War II. I included links to the journal, and links to the appropriate Amazon page.
I soon realized what I’m sure is obvious to others: more people read “Tourist Season at Auschwitz” than “Caroline.” You can track hits on Redux, same as you can track sales on Amazon. People responded to “Tourist Season” on all the Facebook pages. Most of them even said nice things about it. It got around. People shared it on other pages. Some still do, in fact. “Caroline?” Not so much. Maybe it’s a weaker essay. I don’t know. More likely, the anthology is simply harder to share. Asking someone one to click on a link and read is far easier than asking someone to click on a link, pony up $20, and then wait a week for the book to show up.
And Amazon makes it easy with books. What about those beautiful literary journals? Numerous times on my travels around the world people have asked me if they could find stuff I published. “Sure,” I might say, “just send a check to this university. Make sure it’s not during the summer. No one’s going to be there. Oh, and I really don’t know the volume number containing my story, so just tell them it came out in 1998. But, given all the delays journals are prone to, the appropriate issue, even though it appeared in 1998, is really, officially, a 1996 issue. You could just give them my name, but interns come and go; whoever gets your check might not recognize my name. Just go by the cover art. Tell them you want the issue with the dog on the cover. I’m pretty sure there’s only one dog cover.”
I don’t have to do that as often anymore. Now, I can just say, “Superstition Review. My name is in the index.” Not even that, actually. If they have a smart phone, I can find my work for them immediately.
The other day I was talking to my friend and colleague, Matthew Brennan. He’s a very well published poet. I asked him if he ever submitted to online journals. He shrugged and said, “Nah, I like how the journals look on my book shelf.”
And they do. I can’t deny it. I like the feel of them. I even like how some of the issues containing my work have begun to yellow and grow brittle. It was a big deal to me when my first story made it into print. It took a lot of years for it to happen. When I see that issue of Red Cedar Review on my shelf it’s like looking at the trophy I won for little league baseball. When the journal first came out I didn’t give much thought to readers. First and foremost I wanted to see my name in print.
Now I think more about an audience. I have enough paper journals on my shelf; I want to be read. For good or bad it’s simply easier to reach an audience with an online journal than with a paper one. Besides, if someone likes my work, say in Superstition Review, they can click on the appropriate link, pony up $20, and in a week my book will be in their mail box. Sure, journals containing your work look nice when you get them. You know what else looks good? Royalty checks.
Each Tuesday we feature audio or video of an SR Contributor reading their work. Today we’re proud to feature a podcast by Audrey Walls.
Audrey Walls’ poetry has appeared in or is forthcoming from Booth, Cimarron Review, Cream City Review, Handsome, The Pinch, storySouth, Unsplendid and elsewhere. She lives in Richmond, Virginia, where she is poetry editor of the online literary journal failbetter and an MFA candidate at Virginia Commonwealth University.
To learn more about Audrey, you can visit her website.
I am happy to bring you an exciting post this week that has been in the works for a while– an interview with Superstition Review interns from previous semesters. Here’s what they had to say about what they’re up to now, how SR helped them get there, and what they wish they had known when they were interns. Enjoy!
Superstition Review: What have you been doing since your internship with Superstition Review?
Sara Scoville: After graduating from ASU in May ’09, I have continued to conduct research for a collection of essays I’ve been working on since my last semester. The topic focuses on interaction and the relationships that form in the online gaming community amongst alpha males. I also work full time as a supervisor at a direct marketing company.
Melissa Silva: I’m now applying to work as an intern for Nordstrom. As a Capital Scholar, I’m applying to work for NPR and other media outlets in DC this summer.
Riki Meier: I’ve been working full-time at ASU during the day, and also taking a few independent study courses. Late last fall, I completed several graduate school applications, and I’m excited to say I was just accepted into the English PhD program at Tufts University! They are offering me full funding for five years. I’m absolutely thrilled as I know Tufts has an excellent program and I also love the Boston area!
Carter Nacke: Since working at Superstition Review, I have turned my focus to graduating. I’m pleased to say that I’ll be graduating in May with a degree in Print Journalism from the Cronkite School.
Alex Linden: Since my internship with Superstition Review, I finished my last year at Arizona State and applied to MFA programs for Poetry. I now attend Oklahoma State University and this semester will finish the first year of my MFA.
SR: Do you think your experience with Superstition Review has helped with what you’re doing now? How?
SS: I believe it most certainly has. I’ve worked for the same company for 12 years, so it was definitely nice to do something different. Trish is an amazing person and I absolutely loved learning from her! One thing that I appreciated most about her is the amount of trust and faith she had in me. It’s because of her belief in my abilities that I have a stronger sense of confidence in both my writing and professional life.
MS: Experience with publishing and Excel I think has helped reassure companies that I’m qualified to work for them.
RM: I do think that my work at Superstition Review helped my admission chances at Tufts, as Tufts has a reputation for wanting well-rounded (and diversified) applicants. Although I am going for a research degree, I think the fact I worked as an editor at a national literary magazine demonstrated that I don’t have only an analytical mind; I have a strong creative inclination as well.
CN: I think my experience did help. While I was in charge of financing and fundraising (which I’d never done before), SR helped me learn to balance work and school. I also saw first-hand how magazines are produced, which is extremely helpful for my magazine writing class.
AL: My experience with SR has definitely helped with what I do now. I believe my chances of getting into MFA programs would have been much less had I not done the internship. More importantly, I was exposed to the literary world and inspired to pursue similar work in the future. I now read for the Cimarron Review.
SR: Is there any advice you’d like to give current Superstition Review interns?
SS: Have respect for everyone involved throughout the entire process. Ask for help if you need it, and be willing to help if someone needs you. The success of the issue is dependent upon every single intern, so open lines of communication are of the utmost importance. Also, be proud of and enjoy what you’re contributing to the literary community.
MS: Work hard and try to learn as much as you can. I learned a lot about communicating professionally online and using Excel.
RM: For the current editors soliciting work from writers, I would say that one should approach soliciting writers like they should approach applying to graduate schools. One should have a number of “long-shots” writers on the list that one dreams of publishing, but the chances of publishing that person may be slim. Soliciting someone like Toni Morrison or Salman Rushdie may be analogous to applying to graduate school at Princeton or Harvard. If you diversify your solicitation list, you have far greater chances of getting lots of great literary pieces for review!
CN: Current interns: Get your stuff done early. Take it from someone who knows, assignments and work can pile up on you before you know what’s going on!
AL: Take advantage of every opportunity your internship provides. Research other literary journals, contact the writers you admire, and don’t read all of the submissions at once. 🙂