Brevity: The Art of Concision

Brevity: A Journal of Concise Literary Nonfiction is a rapidly growing staple of the nonfiction world. The submissions are capped at a short 750 words.

This call for concision forces writers to hone their ability to say a lot with very little. Like poetry, this form of flash nonfiction requires a specific care for word choice that longer works of fiction cannot demand. Like poetry, this brief form of writing weighs each word and every sentence more heavily.

Brevity has been publishing the works of authors and artists since 1997 and is currently working on its 38th issue. In addition to short nonfiction, Brevity publishes essays on craft as well as book reviews. Currently, they are accepting works that fulfill their normal requirements (concise literary nonfiction), but they are also doing a separate issue, “Ceiling or Sky: Female Nonfictions after the VIDA Count.” The VIDA Count is a tally of publications based on gender, and is the inspiration of this themed issue. They will be hosting special guest editors including Susanne Antonetta, Barrie Jean Borich, and Joy Castro for this particular issue. Submissions will be accepted until May 1.

Brevity is an online literary magazine. To receive upcoming news, you can subscribe to their mailing list, which currently boasts 5,000 members. This list will keep you up to date with all their upcoming issues.

Meet the Review Crew: Stephanie De La Rosa

Each week we feature one of our many talented interns here at Superstition Review.

This is Stephanie De La Rosa’s second semester with Superstition Review, this time around as a Fiction Editor. She’s here at Superstition Review because SR has proven a great opportunity to gain experience in the field of publishing. She was new to the world of literary magazines when she began at Superstition Review, but one of the things she has been able to do since joining is discover the volume of literary magazines that are available, to both read and to submit to.

She is first generation American, born and raised in Phoenix. However, she still gets asked, “Where are you from?” In the States, she tends to be ambiguous, responding that her parents are from Guatemala. She’s finding it’s much harder to explain in Europe. Though she loves poetry and art, and has done both, she leans towards fiction more than anything because there is a tradition of oral storytelling in her family. More recently, she calls this oral tradition “gossip.”

Stephanie has noticed throughout the years how things we experienced, things we think we remember, change every time we retell them, changing the context and thereby changing the content as well. She loves the versatility of fiction. That’s not to say that any other genre doesn’t have the same quality, because she personally believes the boundaries between genres are transparent, permeable. But we still have certain constructs, certain guidelines that determine whether a piece of writing is poetry or nonfiction. And according to general consensus and constructs, she writes fiction.

Stephanie is in Switzerland at the moment, enjoying the snow and low temperatures. Her goal is to have touched ground on every continent. She finds the Old World intriguing, but to her the “New World” is so much more compelling. However, because of the undeniable European presence and influence across the American continents, she finds herself looking out a window at a city whose name can be traced back a couple thousand years, and a castle or two, here and there.

Meet the Review Crew: Daniel Redding

Each week we feature one of our many talented interns here at Superstition Review.

Finally completing a journey that began in January of 2008, Daniel Redding will be graduating this May with a B.A. in English from Arizona State University. Upon graduating, Daniel will pursue a Master’s Degree in English with an emphasis that will be determined by the location of his future graduate school.

A veteran of the United States Marine Corps, Daniel is 26 years old and has been married for over three years to his wife, Leanne. They recently welcomed their baby daughter, Emma Jane, into the world on November 9, 2011. While in the Marine Corps, Daniel served as a combat correspondent, with responsibilities ranging from journalism, photography, videography, layout and design editing, media relations, and much more. In 2006, Daniel deployed to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. He also served as head Marine layout and design editor for the Camp Pendleton Scout Newspaper on two separate occasions.

Daniel currently serves as Advertising Coordinator with Superstition Review. Working with SR has been an invaluable experience for him; combined with his military background, his understanding of how newspapers and literary magazines similarly work has grown.

Daniel is serving as an English tutor at the ASU affiliate, Metro Tech High School Writing Center, which is helping prepare him for what he will experience when he begins his career as an English professor.

A native of San Diego, California, Daniel is an avid sports fan. He stubbornly wears his San Diego Padres baseball cap regardless of what enemy territory he is in. As a diehard follower of David Sedaris, Daniel will laugh out loud when reading a good piece of satirical lampooning.

ASU Polytechnic hosts TED2012 webcast with Lee Gutkind

ASU Polytechnic hosts TED2012 webcast
Wednesday, February 29, 2012
9:30 a.m. – 7:45 p.m.
Student Union, Cooley BallroomsASU’s Polytechnic campus will host a live webcast of TED2012 from 9:30 a.m. – 7:45 p.m., Feb 29. TEDx is hosted by Barrett, The Honors College at Polytechnic campus and will be held in the Cooley Ballrooms.Live speakers at ASU Polytechnic:

Lee Gutkind: (11:15 a.m. – 12 p.m.) Dubbed by Vanity Fair as “the Godfather behind creative nonfiction,” Gutkind is an author and founder of Creative Nonfiction, the first and largest literary magazine to publish nonfiction exclusively. His latest book, “Almost Human: Making Robots Think” was featured on the Daily Show with John Stewart. Gutkind spent six years as a fly-on-the-wall researcher at the Robotics Institute at Carnegie Melon University in Pittsburgh where scientists and students are working to design, build and test robots so advanced that will work alongside humans. “Almost Human” is a portrait of robotic subculture. Gutkind is the Distinguished Writer-in-Residence in the Consortium for Science, Policy & Outcomes at ASU and a professor in the Hugh Downs School of Human Communication.

Jennifer Gale: (1:45 – 3:15 p.m.) Gale is a local advocate for sustainability and co-founder of “Paper or Plastic? Neither One Please!” Her work addresses the volume of plastic disposables as a vital issue for the planet.

Solutions Exhibition: (5 – 6 p.m.) Sponsored by Changemaker Central and the Programming and Activities Board, the Solutions Exhibition is a forum for students to showcase new ideas and learn how to transform ideas into reality.

Attendees at TEDx may stay for the entire day’s schedule or drop by for a shorter time period throughout the day. Workstations will be set up, and attendees are welcome to work on laptops during the event. Admission is free; food will be served throughout the day.

For more information, visit http://barrettpoly.asu.edu/2012/01/tedxbhcpoly/ or call (480) 727-5399.

A list of speakers for TED event can be found here.

Is Pushcart Pushing Out Online Publications?

Graphic courtesy of Perpetual Folly

With every new year comes a new edition of the Pushcart Prize and with it, the names of publications and pieces lucky enough to grace its pages. Known for compiling submissions from small presses all over the world, Pushcart has created a high standard of quality that authors and literary magazines alike hope to achieve. Perpetual Folly has released a ranking of Fiction, Non-Fiction, and Poetry submissions published in the Pushcart by each literary publication for 2012.

While some notable names like Tin House, Poetry, and Ploughshares grace the top spots, some new faces have also joined the ranks. The rankings are a great way to discover new publications and revisit some familiar magazines. You can also see rankings from 2010, 2009, and 2008.

The Pushcart Prize, known for its prestigious spot on the small press altar, has come under recent criticism for its narrowed scope. Pushcart editor Bill Henderson wrote in his introduction: “I have long railed against the e-book and instant Internet publication as damaging to writers. Instant anything is dangerous – great writing takes time. You should long to be as good as John Milton and Reynolds Price, not just barf into the electronic void.” There’s an excellent article about this comment in Luna Park, but we’d like to add our thoughts as well..

Publishing has come a long way since the days of stone tablets. Digital media has become a rapidly evolving field that is changing the way we consume literature. While some literary magazines have already converted to online platforms, other notable publications stand by their steadfast printers and traditional paper mediums.

The Pushcart’s bias against online publishing is apparent: only one submission from an online publication was printed in the 2012 Pushcart anthology. Pushcart had long been known for incorporating the best of the best small presses, but if it continues to disregard online publications, it will no longer be representative of small press publishing.

While not all online magazines uphold the same rigorous editing procedures of their print counterparts, many maintain traditional practices of print journals, with the only change being that they are free and immediately accessible.

We can understand Henderson’s argument to some degree. Online publishing, after all, is a double-edged sword. Often, editing is sacrificed in the name of immediate publication. An author can write a sentence and hit submit without a second thought. It can lack the craft and artistic value that many unplugged authors have spent years honing. However, online publication also opens doors to high-quality work. Connecting in a digital environment increases accessibility,  eliminates physical printing constraints, and fosters collaboration and community. We have to ask ourselves, how long will Pushcart continue to ignore the growing field of online lit mags?

We're Big in Japan

Issue 8: We’re Big in Japan

Now that Issue 8 has launched, we’ve started looking at our Google Analytics to learn more about our readers. Already this has revealed some surprising facts about who visits our site and how they find it. For example, between November 6th and December 6th, 2011, 67% of our viewers visited Superstition Review for the first time. It’s great to know that we’re attracting so many newcomers.

In that same span of time, there were 4,279 unique visits to our site for a total of 13,230 page views. Our readers visited an average of 3 pages per visit, and our most popular section this month was poetry, with a total of 677 views.

41% of viewers visiting our site found us through referring websites, while only 31% found us using a search engine. This statistic shows that we are increasing our affiliations with other like-minded organizations. Not surprisingly, our traffic skyrocketed on December 1st, the day of our launch, with a total of 1,157 unique visitors to our page on that day alone.

Our most frequently viewed contributors from Issue 8 were: Ashley Caveda with 405 views, Eugenio Volpe with 185 views, Nelly Rosario with 166 views, and Steve Yarbrough with 157 views.

We got the most visits from the United States. In the last month, the top 10 cities to view SR were: Phoenix, Tempe, New York, Columbus, Chandler, Scottsdale, Chicago, Ithaca, Indianapolis, and Gilbert.

Google Analytics shows that we are growing internationally as well. Our visitors came from 75 different countries, with the second highest number of hits coming from Japan. Superstition Review was viewed in 34 languages, with the three most popular being American English, British English, and Japanese.

We had a few visitors from some unexpected places. Google Analytics shows that between November 6th and December 6th, we had visitors from Pakistan, Iran, Sudan, Latvia, Lithuania, Haiti, Laos, Kuwait, Thailand, and Iceland.

These statistics help us get a sense of who is reading Superstition Review, what sections of our site are most popular, and how our readers find their way to our magazine. It really is exciting to see the data behind our growth as a publication. Thanks to all of our readers for visiting.

 

Intern Highlight: Marie Lazaro

Interview Editor Marie Lazaro is a senior at Arizona State University. She will be graduating in December from the School of Letters and Sciences with a degree in Literature: Writing and Film. Upon graduating, she plans on broadening her horizons with hopes of writing for TV and movies as well as continuing to find work within the industry of magazines. Originally from New Jersey, she plans on heading back east to New York City to experience the lifestyle and find possible job opportunities before ultimately returning back to Arizona. This is her first semester with Superstition Review.

In the link below, Marie shares some of her experience with online literary magazines.

Marie Lazaro


Note from the Editor

Founding Editor Trish Murphy and Poetry Editor Emily Beckley  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As most of you know, I started Superstition Review because I wanted my writing students to gain practical experience with a literary magazine before going off into the working world or on to graduate school. I wanted to teach students to correspond with authors, meet deadlines, make editorial decisions, design websites, organize events, and advertise through email, Facebook, Twitter and blogs.

This week marks the launch of Issue 7 of Superstition Review, which gives me occasion to look back on those goals I had when I first started the magazine. In seven semesters I have mentored 95 students, many of whom have gone on to jobs in publishing, or spots in grad school, or teaching careers.

Recently I had the opportunity to do one of my favorite things: act as a reference for a former intern. “Oh I’m going to make your job easy,” I said to the hiring manager. “Throw away all the other applications because you need to hire my student.” I backed that recommendation up with a story about a task the student accomplished despite my complete inability to tell her how to do it. My interns work hard. They earn their 3 credit hours. And they earn their glowing recommendations from me as well.

I have now had seven semesters of managing students as we put together each issue in only 14 weeks, and it occurs to me that while I was training my students to run a magazine I was getting a crash course in mentoring. Trust me when I say for certain that putting together Issue 7 was 95% easier than putting together Issue 1. We’ve passed a learning curve. And I think you’ll agree that it shows in what we do.

I hope you enjoy the new work of 48 artists and authors in our Issue 7. And please don’t hesitate to contact me if you have a job waiting for one of my student interns.

Meet the Interns: Terrah Hancock

Nonfiction Editor Terrah Hancock is an English Literature major at Arizona State University. One of her nonfiction essays, Snobbery Tower is being published in the upcoming edition of Lux Literary Magazine. She has also finished a working draft of her memoir entitled Singing Myself To Sleep and is in the editorial phase of publication. She aspires to attend graduate school at Vermont College of Fine Arts where her Creative Writing Thesis Project will be the tangled biography of a 26º Freemason’s son.

1.  What is your position with Superstition Review and what are your responsibilities?
This is my first semester with Superstition Review. As the Nonfiction Editor my responsibilities are to review submissions from authors. I correspond with the authors and then submit my vote on which submissions I think should be featured.

2.  Why did you decide to get involved with Superstition Review?
I am usually on the submitting end of the publication process. I was curious to experience the other side, so I applied. I want to gain exposure to things like: the always dreaded and nerve wracking Query Letter and to witness how fellow writers develop and sustain relationships with literary magazines.

3.  Besides interning for Superstition Review, how do you spend your time?
I have a set of detailed and lofty academic and professional goals, so a great deal of my time is spent studying or writing in the basement of Hayden Library. Beyond striving to achieve my childhood dream of being a writer, I am the happy and playful mother of two beautiful sons.  We spend much of our time riding bikes, playing football or taking our three dogs to the dog park.

4.  What other position(s) for Superstition Review would you like to try out?
I could see myself trying the Superstition Review Blog Editor only if it doesn’t exclude me from being able to read all the incoming submissions!

5.  Describe one of your favorite literary works.
I get asked this all the time and I contend that one favorite is impossible! I have a strong three way tie for my favorite work: Of Human Bondage by W. Somerset Maugham, The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck and Great Expectations by Charles Dickens. Each of these books left me feeling immensely connected to humanity and with a deep compassion for all the things I’ll never know about other people’s lives.

6.  What are you currently reading?
After semesters full of close, analytic readings I yearn for a story that I don’t have to dissect and appraise. My very favorite story to get lost in is Stephen King’s Dark Tower series. Like the gunslinger’s repeated journey, I read this entire series once a year. I love that I don’t study the sentence structure or even acknowledge that structure exists. Right now I’m reading The Art of Time in Memoir by Sven Birkerts.

7.  Creatively, what are you currently working on?
I am working on polishing the working draft of my first book right now. I completed my first draft over a year ago and have been following a detailed plan to achieve my eventual goal.  My manuscript is with my editor now and when we are finished with this lengthy editorial process, I’ll move along to the stage of acquiring publication and literary prestige!

8.  What inspires you?
I am inspired by the people who never gave up on their dreams. In 1888, Mona Caird wrote “Every good thing that we enjoy today was once the dream of a ‘crazy enthusiast’ mad enough to believe in the power of ideas and in the power of man to have things as he wills.” Also — one of my goals is to someday be an answer to one of The Writer’s Chronicle crossword puzzle questions!

9.  What are you most proud of?
I make sure to cherish every accomplishment in my life. Every semester, every essay, every test, every publication. I’m proud of my life collectively. Most recently, I’m very proud of my first publication. A short story of mine entitled, Snobbery Tower, was published just this month in a local literary journal.

10.  Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
I wrote my first book at age six, entitled The Heart and The Ant. Ten years from now, I will still be on the path that began with that book. I will still be writing and possibly in school; hopefully on the other side of the podium by then. I’ll still be happy and proud. I’ll know that I never gave up on my dreams — maybe got distracted a few times, but I never quit.

Meet the Interns: Sarah Ladman

Nonfiction Editor Sarah Ladman is a senior at Arizona State University. She will be graduating in May 2011 with a degree in Literature, Writing, and Film, and a minor in Human and Family Studies. After graduation, she would like to break into the world of children’s literature, and hopes to begin writing her first book very soon. Her passion for children’s books and youth literacy has been nurtured by the years she has spent working with children as a preschool teacher. This is Sarah’s first semester with Superstition Review.

1. What is your position with Superstition Review and what are your responsibilities?

My position with Superstition Review is Nonfiction Editor. Some of my responsibilities include reviewing submissions, working with the other interns to vote on submissions, and get the word out about our spring issue launch.

2. Why did you decide to get involved with Superstition Review?

I’m interested in possibly pursuing a career in the publishing field, so I felt it would be an excellent experience to intern with the Superstition Review. Previously, I took a course in writing pieces to submit to literary magazines, and now I have the chance to see the other side of the equation.

3. How do you like to spend your free time?

In my free time, I enjoy reading, spending time with my boyfriend, family, and friends, and traveling.

4. What other position(s) for Superstition Review would you like to try out?

Many of the positions for Superstition Review sound very interesting, and I think they all offer valuable experiences. It would be interesting to try out the position of Fiction Editor, Open Submissions Content Coordinator, or even Advertising. Each of these positions differs from my current job, and I wouldn’t mind gaining experience in those areas as well.

5. Describe one of your favorite literary works.

It’s difficult to select a single favorite literary work, since there is such a massive collection of books I have loved over the years. Currently, my interest in children’s literature has led me to develop a love for the Series of Unfortunate Events collection of books, written by Lemony Snicket. Although these chapter books are intended for children from 9-13 years of age, the author takes a novel approach in his writing: he refuses to dumb down words or content. The plot follows a trio of siblings through their adventures as they try to uncover the mystery of their parents’ deaths, attempts to find a home, and discovering family secrets. The 12 book series is definitely a shining example of the type of children’s literature I would like to write in the future.

6. What are you currently reading?

Currently, I am just wrapping up Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters. It is a humorous re-writing of the Jane Austen classic, with plenty of adventure weaved in, and has been a very enjoyable read.

7. Creatively, what are you currently working on?

I’m in the beginnings of writing what I hope to be the first of many children’s books. At the moment, I am only in the very early brainstorming stages, and have a lot of work ahead of me. I’m hoping to have a work in progress within the next several months.

8. What inspires you?

I’m inspired by literature that seeks to be different, eclectic stories for both children and adults, and everyday events.

9. What are you most proud of?

At the moment, my proudest accomplishment would have to be so close to receiving my degree in Literature, Writing, and Film. It was a busy four years for me, especially since I both worked and attended school full time. I’m proud that I was able to pull it all off, and learn a lot from my variety of courses.

10. Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

In 10 years, I hope to be writing children’s books full-time, with a bit of freelance writing sprinkled in. It would be wonderful to be able to do my writing from home, so I can spend time with the family I imagine having by that time. Predicting specifics is tough, but I can only hope that I’ll still be busy reading, writing, and learning about life!