Each Tuesday we feature audio or video of an SR Contributor reading their work. Today we’re proud to feature a podcast by Adrianne Kalfopoulou.
Adrianne Kalfopoulou has had her work appear in print and online journals including Hotel Amerika, World Literature Today, ROOM magazine, The Broome Street Review, Web Del Sol, VPR (Valparaiso Poetry Review) and Fogged Clarity. She lives and teaches in Athens Greece, and is on the faculty of the creative writing program at NYU. Adrianne written a poetry collection, Passion Maps (Red Hen Press), and her collection of essays, Ruin, Essays in Exilic Life, is forthcoming from Red Hen Press in September 2014.
Each Tuesday we feature audio or video of an SR Contributor reading their work. Today we’re proud to feature a podcast by John A. Nieves.
John A. Nieves has poems forthcoming or recently published in journals such as: Beloit Poetry Journal, Southern Review, Crazyhorse, Hayden’s Ferry Review, Ninth Letter, and Cincinnati Review. He won the 2011 Indiana Review Poetry and is a 2012 Pushcart nominee. His work has also been featured on Verse Daily twice recently. His first book, Curio, won the Elixir Press Annual Poetry Award Judge’s Prize and is due out in early 2014. He is an Assistant Professor of English at Salisbury University. He received his M.A. from USF and his Ph.D. from the University of Missouri..
H. Lee Barnes’ The Lucky is the compelling story of a young boy coming of age in one of the most interesting and wild places on earth – the Las Vegas strip. Pete is thrust into the world of gambling, mob bosses, and all the backstabbing and chaos that goes along with it.
Barnes masterfully transitions from Pete’s life on the streets of Las Vegas, to his time in the endless fields of Montana, and finally to the days he spends on the war-torn battlefield of Vietnam. Along the way the reader gets to experience Pete’s triumphs and troubles, and watch him struggle to find himself and make his own way in the crazy time that was America during the ‘60s.
This tale touches on the fact that every person on earth is doing all that they can to survive and thrive in this world. Pete is not much different than most. He has made some bad decisions, but he has also made some good, and along the way he has discovered who he is, and what he wants out of life. Pete’s tale is a love story, not with a person, but with all of the places he has seen, and everything he has done. And while it can be argued that The Lucky is a tale of disappointment and heartbreak, and while the mood should be a turn off for the reader, Barnes skillfully weaves in humor and periods of lightheartedness to create a truly engaging story, that just cannot be put down.
Each Tuesday we feature audio or video of an SR Contributor reading their work. Today we’re proud to feature a podcast by Alec Hershman.
Alec Hershman lives in St. Louis where he teaches at The Stevens Institute of Business and Arts. Other poems are forthcoming in Denver Quarterly, Colorado Review, Burnside Review, The Journal, Yemassee, Lumina, and The Sycamore Review. His chapbook length sequence Jollyboats can be viewed for free online at The White Whale Review.
Here are a couple of reviews by April Hanks, a member of s[r]’s advertising staff.
This Is Not Your City by Caitlin Horrocks
From the woman who is able to recall her past lives to the couple on a cruise that is overtaken by pirates, Caitlin Horrocks’ debut collection of short stories takes the reader around the world and into the lives of eleven unique women. In This is Not Your City, Horrocks is able to accurately and realistically present people and situations that are extremely different while still creating an engaging and cohesive collection.
Although Horrocks deals with difficult topics such as death, a ticking biological clock, and a severe disability, the stories do not feel forced or cheesy. Instead, the emotion is powerful and realistic. Most of Horrocks’ stories do not have a happy, satisfying conclusion. But like life, they are left open ended. She explores both the lives of people who have been victimized and those who have been the victimizers. Because of this, it is difficult to read at times; several of the stories, such as “Steal Small”, will make you feel uncomfortable, but in the best way possible.
The last two stories, “This is Not Your City” and “In the Gulf of Aden, Past the Cape of Guardafui”, particularly stood out. However, the two stories are vastly different. The first of these, about a Russian mail-order bride, explores what it means to find identity in an environment you are not used to. The story is engaging but still manages to convey complex emotions. The second of these stories, “In the Gulf of Aden, Past the Cape of Guardafui”, is the story of a couple who go on a cruise as a vacation away from their severely disabled son. However, the cruise ship is overtaken by pirates. During the wait for a settlement with the pirates, the reader learns about the intricacy of the couple’s life. Despite their differences, both stories use plot to reveal deeper complexities.
Overall, Horrocks has crafted a beautiful collection that accurately reflects life and the emotions that stem from it. The powerful and descriptive writing highlights her abilities as a writer. She is able to draw you into the stories and make you care about the characters in them. This is Not Your City is not collection you will soon forget.
You can read the s[r] interview with Caitlin Horrocks in Issue 9, where we talk with her about This Is Not Your City.
Anything Goes by Madison Smartt Bell
Madison Smartt Bell’s thirteenth novel, Anything Goes, follows a year in the life of protagonist Jesse Melungeon. Jesse is the bass player for a cover band called Anything Goes. While the novel deals with the struggles of the band to stay afloat it also reveals Jesse’s complicated family history. Throughout its plot, the novel deals with complex issues such as race, abuse, and addiction.
Bell ingeniously develops Jesse’s character throughout the novel. Over time, Jesse becomes a more dynamic and round character. Although you learn Jesse’s history fairly early, his feelings about it are revealed slowly throughout the book. Not only does his characterization develop, but so do his relationships. Those that seem relatively simple at first are shown to be much more complex. Both the characters and relationships in the novel are complicated and realistic, greatly adding to its overall impact.
As Jesse says in Anything Goes, “there would always be people who actually were drawn to your wounds more than to you.” The characters in the novel are wounded in different ways. They deal with complicated family drama, brushes with the law, conflicts of interest, and various other problems. Although these issues are nothing new to literature, they do not seem cliché in the book. Bell is able to write wounded characters and explain them in a way that is meaningful.
One of the most interesting aspects of the book is the music theory that is incorporated throughout. The musical aspects of Anything Goes only add to the novel. Whether or not you know music theory, it feels like you can almost hear the songs playing in your head.
Bell displays extensive research in this novel. Overall, Anything Goes is a well-written and engaging novel that uses plot to explore emotion. The characters and relationships are realistic and interesting. You won’t want to put this book down.
s[r] interviewed Madison Smartt Bell in Issue 8, you can read that interview here.
Each Tuesday we feature audio or video of an SR Contributor reading their work. Today we’re proud to feature a podcast by Elizabeth Frankie Rollins.
Elizabeth Frankie Rollins’ debut collection of fiction, The Sin Eater & Other Stories, was published by Queen’s Ferry Press in February 2013. Rollins has received a New Jersey Prose Fellowship and a Pushcart Prize Special Mention. She authored the chapbook, The Sin Eater, the novels, Origin, and Doctor Porchiat’s Dream, and has published work nationally in Conjunctions, Drunken Boat, Green Mountains Review,and The New England Review,among others. She lives and teaches writing in Tucson. She brings the sin eater and other redemptive possibilities for modern maladies wherever she goes.
Each Tuesday we feature audio or video of an SR Contributor reading their work. Today we’re proud to feature a podcast by Connor Syrewicz.
Connor Syrewicz is an editor of Litter Magazine. His work has appeared in Reed Magazine as well as a number of print and internet publications located in the greater Binghamton and Hudson Valley areas. He was raised on Long Island and is currently working as freelance writer and editor.
Each Tuesday we feature audio or video of an SR Contributor reading their work. Today we’re proud to feature a podcast by Suzanne Marie Hopcroft.
Suzanne Marie Hopcroft’s poetry is forthcoming or has appeared in Hayden’s Ferry Review, Drunken Boat, The Carolina Quarterly, The Southern Humanities Review, and Valparaiso Poetry Review. Suzanne is a PhD candidate in Comparative Literature at Yale University and will begin her MFA in poetry at The University of California, Irvine in the fall.
To learn more about Suzanne, you can visit her website.
You can read along with her poetry in Issue 9 of Superstition Review.
Sarah Murray, Issue 9 Fiction Editor, shares where she found her inspiration after Superstition Review and her future plans.
My initial plan after I graduated from ASU was to take some time off. I was going to move back to Los Angeles (which I did), recover for a couple months, and then start looking into Grad school. Study for the GRE. Take the time to actually write and get published. Possibly learn guitar. Possibly start looking into getting my EMT certification. And, of course, probably get a job.
What I didn’t bank on was getting a job with some of the most determined, open-minded people in all of Los Angeles. One day I’m at home, minding my own business on Facebook, when I see a post from AIDS Walk Los Angeles advertising a job opening. I applied and was hired in about a week.
I consider myself an activist. In college, I was involved with a variety of organizations that were dedicated to eliminating social stigma in one way or another, mostly in terms of queer activism. My senior year I was predominantly involved with a nonprofit called HEAL International, which was dedicated to HIV/AIDS awareness and education. When I graduated, I was hesitant to apply to just any position. I wanted to pick a job with a mission statement that I agreed with, something greater than myself that I could have a hand in progressing. AIDS Walk Los Angeles allowed me to do that. I was a Team Coordinator/Fundraising Specialist, which means that I worked on an individual basis with hundreds of people who formed their own teams for AIDS Walk. Teams range from corporate teams to teams made of friends and family members. I specifically was in charge of school and university teams.
AIDS Walk Los Angeles was held in West Hollywood on October 14, 2012. Now that it’s over, I am going to keep with my original plan of continuing my education and other assorted aspirations, and in the meantime I am going to look into volunteering at 826LA. I am also in the process of getting a thesis of mine published (final edited draft for Queer Landscapes: Mapping Queer Space(s) of Praxis and Pedagogy due March 1st; keep your fingers crossed!). But, let me tell you why, when I was working for AIDS Walk, I was the most inspired person you could hope to talk to. First off, I worked with students. Students are my absolute favorite people. I was a student leader myself for many years. At AIDS Walk, I talked to them on the phone all day long. I sent them emails. I visited their schools and answered their questions. I was a resource for them to take advantage of, a point of contact between themselves and the event. The kicker, though, is that I was in charge of empowering all these students (if they weren’t already empowered, which, to be honest, half of them were).
Now that AIDS Walk is over, I’ve mostly been reading and writing. But there’s that damnable itch that’s starting again. Sometime soon, I’m going to end up working for another nonprofit. Maybe even AIDS Walk again. Change is a comin’. I can feel it.
Each Tuesday we feature audio or video of an SR Contributor reading their work. Today we’re proud to feature a podcast by Katherine Soniat.
Katherine Soniat’s sixth collection of poetry—A Raft, A Boat, A Bridge—is recently out from Dream Horse Press. The Swing Girl, published by Louisiana State University Press, was selected as Best Collection of 2011 by the Poetry Council of North Carolina. A Shared Life won the Iowa Poetry Prize. Her work has appeared recently in Women’s Review of Books, Hotel Amerika and Crazyhorse, among others. She teaches in the Great Smokies Writers Program at UNC-Asheville.