Join Superstition Review in congratulating past contributor John Nieves on his new poetry collection, Curio, out now. Winner of the 13th Annual Elixir Press Poetry Award, Curio, with a lens of curiosity, explores a wide range of topics, including the significance of humans and the traces we leave behind.
“Augury— ‘the bones’/ can only reveal what is asked of them,’ John A. Nieves writes in this stunning first book. Part scientist, part shaman, Nieves is unswervingly intelligent and deftly imaginative at knowing what to ask of the world. Human-scale, empathetic, and far-reaching, these poems engage the full range of the curiosity at the root of curio: the epistemological work of a mind turning/returning. From a father’s machine work to Schrodinger’s cat, archeology, bloodwork, and language, Nieves reminds us of the ‘magic / in the artifact’ and ‘in the making.”
Alexandra Teague, author of The Principles Behind Flotation
To order your copy of Curio click here. Be sure to also check out John’s website as well as his past work in Issue 9 and 15.
We are so proud of our past and present staff here at Superstition Review, and we’ve decided to celebrate the accomplishments of our past interns throughout the month of April. Each day, we will feature an intern on social media and share what they’re up to now. Then, at the end of each week, we will share a wrap-up post of all our featured interns from that week. So, without further ado, we present our last week of intern spotlights:
More details: Leah shares, “Since graduating with my BA in Creative Writing, I got an amazing job working as a content developer for a boutique design group called Monomyth Studio. I also returned to ASU as an MFA candidate in fiction (and am just now rounding out my first year). I still run Spilled Milk Magazine, an online literary magazine featuring brief prose and poetry. It’s great to continue engaging with my literary community outside of the university, and to work with friends (now across the country!) on such an ambitious project. It’s hard to say what it is I love about what I do. I obviously feel very compelled to write and to read and to talk about writing and reading, but I am still figuring out why. I probably will always be figuring it out. I think, in a way, this curiosity—this ignorance—is a necessary thing. I need the surprise of a beautiful sentence, the wonder of a unique image. I probably wouldn’t be writing, otherwise.”
2. Brianna Perkins: Social Networker, Issue 9 (Spring 2012)
More details: Bri shares, “My life has deviated quite a bit from that ‘master life plan’ that I created back in 2012, and to be honest, I’m glad it did. I found it is far more exciting to sit back and enjoy the twists and turns in the road than try to make it fit this unrealistic image my crazy 20-year-old brain had concocted. I packed my bags, said goodbye to the Arizona desert, and moved to Massachusetts. In the years since, I’ve traveled through Europe with just a pair of worn out sneakers and a backpack, bought a house, knocked down a few walls, and met some amazing people. Not long after my big move, I started at Springfield College in a position that was the college’s response to the wild growth of an unpredictable monster: technology. As we all know, technology changes faster than that banana on your kitchen counter turns brown. In this role, it is my job to stay ahead of the curve as best as I can. It is one part fortune teller, one part inventor, and one part translator. I create new ways to integrate engaging and immersive technologies in a way that not only makes sense, but is meaningful. I learned quickly how to translate from Techie to actual English. It has made me every relative’s favorite person and I’m sure I’m on the speed dial for more than a handful of grandparents (none of which are my own). I started doing outreach and communications for IT. I launched a YouTube channel for training and development. I started doing workshops for faculty, staff, and students. The role has grown exponentially. Springfield College recognized that there is this emerging need for creating technology literacy and as of May 1st, I’ll be pioneering yet another new position: Learning and Development Coordinator. This position will give me the time I need to provide development and training opportunities to staff, faculty, and students in a language that makes sense to them and in a way that makes technology seem a little less intimidating (and dare I say it fun).
“In my spare time, I do quite a bit of consulting. I’m currently on a one-year contract with Springfield Technical Community College as an Outreach and Technology Coordinator where I’m working with their Supplemental Instruction team to launch their own YouTube channel and outreach programs. I’ve designed catering menus for local restaurants, logos for new initiatives, and even jumpstarted a few marketing campaigns and social networking strategies. Even Arizona State University couldn’t get rid of me; from time to time I work as a voice actor for some of their systems. Fun fact: if you call any phone line at Arizona State with an automated phone menu, it is my voice you’re hearing. I’d tell you my future plans, but as I’ve learned, I can plan all I want, but life has its own trajectory. All I know is that the time I spent has Superstition Review has been absolutely vital in getting me where I am and I am so thankful for the opportunity I had while there. I’m so proud to see how far it has come and I can’t wait to see what is next for the SR family.”
More details: Katie shares, “When I finally realized that I could be my own boss and do story editing (not even copy editing!) all day long, I knew that nothing else would be as fulfilling. I opened KM Editorial, LLC in 2012 with not a client to my name. But since then I’ve grown my business to be a stopping ground for many authors in need of all levels of editing. I have a whole team behind me now. I love what I do. It’s funny sometimes when I consider the fact that I dole out criticism for a living. But it’s so rewarding. I get to work with authors all day long and help them create fabulous stories. I see them grow as writers. It’s amazing to see my collection of clients’ books fill my bookshelf. But honestly, even better than that is when I get that email from an author saying, ‘I’m so excited to dive into revisions!'”
More details: Cassie is a creative entrepreneur who owns Pomegranate Cafe (vegan/vegetarian, organic, locally sourced, crafted with love) in Phoenix, AZ. She shares, “There are so many opportunities to express myself and share ideas through writing as a business owner. I am currently creating an Indie Gogo campaign to help fund our expansion, and being able to write with authenticity and heart is essential to sharing our mission and creating community. I also use freestyle writing/journaling as a daily practice to connect with my dreams and the quiet world around me. I see words like imaginary seeds we plant that can grow off the page into wild and beautiful gardens with a life of their own. Being part of the Superstition Review when it first began was an exciting, new experience for me. I feel really fortunate to have been a small part of the beginning of a dream that has now taken shape and enriched the lives of so many people!”
More details: Caitlin shares, “After graduating from ASU, I applied to every publication company I could find in the Phoenix area. I was lucky to be hired by Target Market Media Publications, a national publisher of trade magazines. As the editor, I work with our clients, writers and proofreaders to get each of our magazines ready for publication. I learned a lot in college, but it does not compare to the experience of working in the field. I feel blessed to have found a career in writing and editing. While it’s partly luck and good timing, I also think you need to have a certain drive to make it actually work.”
6. Dominique Brigham: Art Editor, Issue 11 (Spring 2013)
More details: Dominique is a graduate student at the University of Amsterdam in the Cultural Analysis research MA program. She shares, “As the student Art Editor of Superstition Review, I had the wonderful opportunity of putting all my time spent learning about art in Florence to good use! While I did my BA in English literature, I loved being able to branch out into a different discipline, and Superstition Review gave me that opportunity. Currently, I am writing my thesis for my Master’s in Cultural Analysis at the Universiteit van Amsterdam in the Netherlands, where I’ve enjoyed a fantastic and interdisciplinary program with fellow international students. My research deals with adaptation and translation theory, centered around the Pokémon franchise and Pokémon: The First Movie in particular, and I hope to pursue a PhD on how transmedia storytelling has impacted the way popular franchises are built now and for the future. In time not spent on academic work, however, I am a volunteer proofreader for WordFire Inc. and a freelance copyeditor, though I would like to turn this into a more permanent career. I am also co-authoring a four book fantasy series, which will hopefully see its first query letters being sent to various publishing companies in the near future!”
Thank you so much to these interns for their service with us; you are all doing such amazing things, and we’re so proud!
Sometimes on the subway my husband and I play a game. We choose a person and silently take in the details, from the obvious physical characteristics to the more subtle indicators of who this person is and what type of life he or she might lead (Is that a wedding ring? What’s the title of the book he’s reading, and is he really reading it? Why does she keep checking her watch? Look how she’s noticing her reflection in the window). We assemble narratives, which we share with each other later on, using the observed details to explain and defend until we combine our efforts into one story of a stranger we will most likely never see again. Some might call us nosy, but I prefer to think of us as curious. Either way, my husband and I are shameless. At restaurants we eavesdrop. One of us will catch a juicy tidbit at the next table and widen our eyes, and whatever conversation we were having will stop as we both lean forward and listen.
I have been a people-watcher all my life, and my home, New York City, is the perfect place to indulge. People are endlessly fascinating with their complexities and contradictions, their histories and quirks. But what really pulls me in is the raw humanness we all share—that mash-up of love, uncertainty, fear, and want swirling around just below the surface. We are more alike than we are different, yet these common vulnerabilities are the ones we guard most carefully, ashamed and afraid of the judgment of others, or even ourselves. When we let those vulnerabilities slip through—that is a moment of beauty.
If asked why I write, I could give many answers: compulsion; the joy of words; the freedom in creation; a desire to leave a mark, however small, on the world. But, really, I write for the same reason I read, and the same reason I people-watch: to learn about others and try to get at that common, messy human core. My novel, Spark, addresses subjects that have interested me for a long time; I’ve written elsewhere about my initial inspiration and the research involved. But the actual act of putting pen to paper began with one character, the narrator, Andrea. Her name came to me on a walk one afternoon and with it a feeling of anguish; I understood that she was a woman fighting to gain control and losing badly, although I didn’t know why yet. I wrote her name down in my notebook and began listing everything about her. From there, the relationships then the themes of the book revealed themselves to me.
Almost all my fiction begins this way, with one character coming up to me out of the ether. As I write, I feel that character pulling me along, as if the story is already there, the character impatient for me to uncover it. I’m sure my people-watching has helped, the details filed away in my subconscious for later use.
In my writing I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to bring out that messy human core as completely, or with as much clarity, as I would like, but it gives me something to strive for. And in the process, I find myself feeling more connected to those beautiful strangers on the subway.
The Third Law of Motion, by Meg Files, Anaphora Literary Press, 2011 (reviewed by Mary Sojourner)
Newton’s third law states that for every action (force) in nature there is an equal and opposite reaction.
It is one thing to open a book and find yourself deep in a movie of the story; it is quite another to open a book and realize that you have become the character. Meg Files brings us into the mind, heart, body, longings and profound confusion of Dulcie White, a ’60s teenage girl too quickly becoming a woman.
You may have been Dulcie. I certainly was. She is a smart, curious, sensual young woman caught in a time when it was perilous to be both curious and sensual. She meets track star Lonnie Saxbe at a dancing class her friend has persuaded her to attend. The trajectory of their connection, or more accurately dis-connection, is predictable. Any woman who has gone into an abusive relationship or marriage knows the arc. Rather than describe Dulcie’s careening out of her own life, her own self, a discussion of Files’ craft in shaping Dulcie and Lonnie is more germane.
So often, the young are cursed by what they believe are their informed decisions. They are meteors propelled by desire and the longing to be desired. Files gives us in her perfect pitch renditions of conversations – both outer and inner – an exploration of the deep, intelligent and connected love between Dulcie and her college room-mate; and the hot and dissonant passion between Dulcie and Lonnie. By shifting point of view from Dulcie to Lonnie throughout the book, we are forced to know the young man’s inchoate violence and tangled driven mind.
Files brings us into intimate knowledge of two young people who most resemble the chaos of smoke. It is often easy for women to blame other women for entering and being unable to leave abusive relationships. Any of us who have found ourselves trapped in our own terror of being abandoned – “What if there is no other lover? What if I destroy my lover by leaving? I don’t want to grow old alone.” – whether we are gay or straight may know the sensation of being mired. We may know the equally energizing and terrifying rush of fresh air when we pull ourselves free. We may certainly know the descent that follows the liberation – and how old and new voices from our childhood and the society around us begin to natter in our minds, telling us to return to the mire.
To read The Third Law of Motion is to understand more than why a woman might find herself trapped by her past and present. As Dulcie and Lonnie tell their stories, the reader comes into contact with greater notions of cause and effect. We understand the degree that Second Wave Feminism – Files never preaches ideology – provides light for a dark and potentially deadly path. I imagine some of Files’ younger students reading the book and wondering why Dulcie didn’t go to a women’s shelter, to Planned Parenthood, to an empathetic woman OBGYN. Those of us who lived through the ’50s and ’60s can answer that question. There was nowhere to go. We were alone with what we believed were our choices. We didn’t yet know that there were few choices – and that all of them were part of the swamp that held us fast.
I found myself wanting The Third Law of Motion to be required reading in all academic women’s and gender programs. Meg Files has given the gift – subtle and sorrowful – of a woman’s truth.