Web Designer Jason Wright is an ASU senior majoring in Creative Writing. He is also a self-taught web developer and currently helps maintain multiple websites originating around his hometown in Phoenix, Arizona. While finding balance between intricate expression through poetry and hard-coded website and computer manipulation, he flourishes when given the opportunity to utilize both. This is his second semester as an intern with Superstition Review.
1. What is your position with Superstition Review and what are your responsibilities?
As the Web Designer for Superstition Review, some of my responsibilities include maintaining the website, creating the basis for new issues, managing data, and editing/formatting contributions for publishing on the web.
2. Why did you decide to get involved with Superstition Review ?
I was the Poetry Editor last semester and thoroughly enjoyed it. The Web Design position seemed like a great fit for me, as well, because it gives me the opportunity to integrate my knowledge of web development with my love for literature.
3. How do you like to spend your free time?
I typically spend my free time teaching myself various computing languages, building computers/websites, gaming, or reading poetry by the fire with a glass of scotch (I’m missing the robe and cigar, I know).
4. What other position(s) for Superstition Review would you like to try out?
The Fiction or Non-Fiction Editor positions would be fun. Being able to read so many authors was a great perk of the Poetry Editor position and I feel it did great things to my experience as a poet.
5. Describe one of your favorite literary works.
Despite how long it’s taken me to get through it, Ovid’s Metamorphoses has been an enticing trip through Greek Mythology.
6. What are you currently reading?
I am currently reading a compilation of poems by E.E. Cummings.
7. Creatively, what are you currently working on?
Using Cummings’ playful relationship with syntax and punctuation as a basis for study, I’ve been working on incorporating thick punctuation as a means to articulate meaning in alternative ways within my poems.
8. What inspires you?
I’ve found that the most inspiring people in my life are those with passions so intense that they become consumed often with one singular hobby or idea.
9. What are you most proud of?
I am most proud of myself after I accomplish something I’ve invested an immense amount of time in.
10. Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
All I hope for is that, in 10 years, I’ll be working a solid job, making decent money, and doing what I love.
Mariah Beckman is an English Literature Senior at Arizona State University and is pursuing a Technical Writing Certificate.
Superstition Review: What do you do for SR?
Mariah Beckman: I review current solicitation list and update contacts, and maintain this list so that the following issues have a solicitations list to build off of. I also work with Editors to add names to list and constantly update the Solicitation List with author responses. My job consists largely of helping to garner submissions and organize the responses to those submissions to provide clear and updated list of works to be featured in Superstition Review.
SR: How did you hear about or get involved with Superstition Review?
MB: I was fortunate enough to take a class taught by one of the managing editors/founders, and was thusly recruited.
SR: What is your favorite section of SR? Why?
MB: I think that poetry is going to be my favorite section of SR. When I was in high school I dated this boy, and his brother was featured in Hayden’s Ferry Review, another Arizona State University literary magazine, and I remember thinking how awesome it was that he was valued enough to be represented. His submission was poetry. I really love to read poetry–no matter how busy I am, I can pick up a copy of my Cummings or Hughes or Frost collection and browse through a finished project, and that is what I love about poetry. If literature is the Christmas Tree, poetry are the Ornaments that make it dazzle even without the lights. I’m so excited to read the submissions and have an opportunity to read some up-and-comers and professionals, side-by-side, and compare the changing face of poetry today.
SR: Who is your dream contributor to the journal? Talk about him/her.
MB: I think that I would love to feature Mark Danielewski (author of House of Leaves) or Chuck Palahniuk (author of the novels Fight Club, Snuff, Choke, etc). While each of these authors feature often mature content, their wit and eloquence are excellent artistic representations of Americans ever-changing and subversive culture. These authors publish challenging and exciting, often funny and always memorable works that have stuck with me and that I can relate to, and it would be amazing to feature one of their interviews or short stories to see what insights they could offer about writing in the 21st century.
SR: What job, other than your own, would you like to try out in the journal?
MB: I would like to work with contributors whose works are chosen to fine-tune and polish their work for submission. I would love to be the person who not only delivers the great news that an individual’s work is publication-worthy, but also work with them to craft their writing and to make them the best vehicles for their art form, because written word is truly a timeless and powerful art.
SR: What are you most excited for in the upcoming issue?
MB: The finished product and readings are the milestones that I most look forward to for this upcoming issue. To see all of our efforts come to fruition will be amazing, and I just can’t wait.
SR: What was the first book you remember falling in love with and what made it so special?
MB: As a reader, there are so many books that I really appreciated and grew up with. The first book, however, that I can remember finishing and then reading all over again was Joseph Heller’s Catch-22. The characters in this novel were so vibrant–who doesn’t know and love a Captain Yossarian, tragic and clever anti-hero of life’s red tape? Or a Milo Minderbinder, enterprising get-rich-quick businessman with great demeanor and no conscience? Major Major, the Chaplain, Hungry Joe–there was a piece of all of America in every character, even the most despicable.
SR: What artist have you really connected with, either in subject matter, work, or motto?
MB: “Anyone who lives within their means suffers from a lack of imagination.”–Oscar Wilde
Oscar Wilde in his The Picture of Dorian Gray is one of the most prosaic and devilish books I’ve ever read. I’ve always considered myself a fan of Sylvia Plath, but never of her methods–her poetry is divine, but her short works and her life fell short of what I thought her work expressed her capable of. Oscar Wilde, however, was as much a modern philosopher as he ever was a writer. Everything he said or wrote is quotable–I don’t think the man ever had a mundane thought.
“Arguments are to be avoided; they are always vulgar and often convincing.”–Wilde
SR: What are some of your favorite websites to waste time on or distract you from homework?
MB: I am loathe to say Facebook, but there it is. I think that I blow more of my time on Facebook then I do checking my email. I Can Has Cheeseburger.com used to be high on the list, not because I’m a freak but because I have a lot of pets and every one of them seems to be represented in adorable photo form. don’t judge me. T-Shirt Hell.com–it’s awful and wrong, but I love it. I only wish I could buy up the site. If you’ve never been, you should check it out–it’s the most offensive and off-color t-shirts you would ever not want to see.
SR: What would be your dream class to take at ASU? What would the title be and what would it cover?
MB: YOU: A Montage
I would like to take a class that allows a person to gather together their most favorite and expressive mediums of expression–photos, written work, audio, video, links and things and ideas and beliefs–and turn it into something tangible…like a collage that one would be graded on. The final project would be in explanation and defense of not only the project, but the personality and individual it represents. My final would be a life-size mannequin, decked out to look like me but in clothing made of my favorite works, eyes that you could look into and press my nose to see a slideshow, a button on my mouth to hear me recite something of my choosing, and spaces cut out of my arms, legs, back, whatever, to put (assuming money isn’t the issue) clips of movies like “Vanilla Sky” or “Harold and Maude” and other favorites to show viewers, in a snapshot, me. This would be like the ultimate self-exploration, and it would involve a lot of actual project work, which isn’t something that I’ve really done since high school.
Intern Sarah Dillard, interviews Haley Larson about her experience as a poetry editor for Superstition Review.
Haley Larson is one of the two poetry editors that is interning with Superstition Review this semester. Her background is unique, as she received her Bachelor Degree in Psychology and with a minor in Music from the University of Nebraska. She is currently working on her second bachelor degree in English with a Creative Writing emphasis. Next fall, Haley will be headed to Graduate School to work on her Master’s in Poetry.
With the launch of Issue 3 right around the corner, interns have been busy finishing up tasks and projects. Haley was gracious enough to take time out of her busy schedule to share what her experience has been like with Superstition Review thus far.
Sarah Dillard: What led you to pursue a position with Superstition Review?
Haley Larson: I had ENG 411 with Trish, and she encouraged me to consider it. Having never done anything like this before, I wasn’t originally planning to apply–I didn’t think I’d have the time or experience necessary. It has turned out to be a highlight of my undergrad work. The hands-on experience is invaluable.
SD: What are some of your favorite poets and how do they impact you?
HL: A few poets who I obsessed over at the beginning of my poetry interests include Neruda, e.e. cummings, and Sylvia Plath. Since then, I have had some phenomenal instructors who introduced me to an endless world of great poets: Larry Levis, Mary Oliver, Paul Guest, Kay Ryan, Arthur Sze, Bob Hicok. I think most of these poets impact me by challenging me. Their work urges me to reevaluate what I think poetry is and consider the infinite possibilities of what it can be. Whether they create a form, transform an intangible idea into an image, or turn written language to a musical serenade, they all make me jealous enough to try a little harder.
SD: How would you describe your experience so far with Superstition Review?
HL: This has been an absolute whirlwind! However, I can’t think of a better learning experience for a young writer. Not only do I get to see the up-close and inner workings of the publishing world and its processes, I get to be a part of them. There is an unmatchable sense of accomplishment in having my input considered and progressing toward the launch of what is sure to be a stellar third issue. I have improvised through a few moments, but that’s the unique feature of this applied learning environment–it’s encouraged that we “do” rather than “be told.” I’ve learned to take initiative and scramble when necessary. And I will admit, I’m still the poetry equivalent of star-struck when I get to email back and forth with poets I admire.
SD: What are your responsibilities as one of the Poetry Editors of Superstition Review?
HL: My responsibilities include communicating with our solicited poets, reading and considering submissions that come in, sending acceptance and rejection emails, and a variety of other tasks that present themselves. More generally, I must meet deadlines, keep some sense of organization, and be flexible. I’m looking forward to interviewing Barbara Hamby and David Baker in the coming week. Researching their work and letting my curiosity run a bit is a great opportunity disguised as responsibility.
SD: What do you look for when deciding which poetry submissions to publish? Do you try to stay open minded throughout the process or do your own personal preferences play a role?
HL: Some key things I look for are attention to rhythm and musicality, sentient imagery, and fresh interpretations of language. The capacity to elicit emotion is an obvious element, I think. I look for the ability to experience the poem without having it forced upon me. I definitely try to stay open-minded, but I’m sure that I carry a bit of my own aesthetic into the role. In fact, I hope that my aesthetic continues to evolve throughout this internship. One of the most important things I’ve learned in this position–being part of a publication–is that it’s important to keep our readers in mind.
SD: What are your plans after this semester?
HL: I plan to attend an MFA program in poetry.
SD: What is the most useful piece of advice you would give to future Superstition Review interns?
HL: Jump in and get your hands dirty! Ask questions (I have asked a few hundred since January) but also trust yourself a little. It can be nerve-wracking jumping into a world that you’ve only read about, but everyone is so helpful and supportive.
SD: What do you hope to take away from your experience with Superstition Review?
HL: I hope to take away valuable skills suited to publishing, a more evolved aesthetic, and a sense of confidence and accomplishment. I can’t think of a better way to prepare myself for my professional pursuits in the poetry world.