On November 8 the Superstition Review reading series was pleased to feature Melissa Pritchard. The intimate atmosphere of the reading allowed for a personal view of her story Echorché, Flayed Man. Music from an Italian composer, the pungent scent of incense and a few words from Patricia Murphy and Reading Series Coordinator Mary Richardson provided the perfect introduction. While a large group of friends, colleagues and admirers filled the Pima Auditorium in the Memorial Union at ASU, her voice was quiet and seemed to engage us individually as she read. As Melissa stood against a backdrop lit with magenta bulbs, the audience silently absorbed each emotion-filled sentence.
After the applause from eager listeners Melissa answered several questions. She touched on working with A Public Space and the technicalities of writing a story that is both fiction, and also the true story of certain individuals from La Specula, the museum in Italy upon which the story takes place. Echorché, Flayed Man has been published in Issue 11 of A Public Space and will also appear in her latest book The Odditorium, to be released in January 2011.
With three weeks left in our publication process, the upcoming launch of Issue 6 has everyone working diligently. Superstition Review’s submissions period came to an end last week, leaving section editors busy reading and sorting submissions. In the weeks to come, our web designer will publish content to the Superstition Review webpagefor the launch in December.
Our Art Editors have confirmed dance choreographer turned artist Sara Newton for Issue 6. Her pieces Swimmer, Pink Pants and Red Boot will be featured.
The Superstition Review Reading Series is pleased to be featuring Melissa Pritchard. The reading will take place on Monday, November 8 at 7 p.m. in the Memorial Union Pima Auditorium on the Tempe campus.
SuperstitionReview staff are preparing for the launch of Issue 6. With just 4 weeks left in our publication process, Section Editors will finish reading submissions, and our web designer will publish the content on the magazine’s webpage. We are still accepting submissions at http://superstitionreview.submishmash.com/Submit until October 31.
Our Nonfiction Editors have confirmed works from Paul Lisicky, Madeleine Blais and Ira Sukrungruang. Paul Lisicky has been published in Five Points, The Seattle Review and Brevity. His pieces Lighten Up, It’s Summer and The Queen of It will be published in Issue 6. Madeleine Blais worked for the Miami Herald from 1979-1987 and was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Feature Writing. Her nonfiction essay entitled Another Martini, Another Lobster will be featured in our upcoming issue. Ira Sukrungruang is the author of Talk Thai: The Adventures of Buddhist Boy; his nonfiction essay The Wide Open Mouth will be published in Issue 6 of Superstition Review.
As a reminder, the Superstition Review Reading Series is featuring Melissa Pritchard. The reading is on Monday, November 8 at 7 p.m. in the Memorial Union Pima Auditorium on the Tempe campus.
Our Poetry Editors have added poets Philip Gross, Nick Demske, and Meghan McClure to the list of authors to appear in Issue 6. Philip Gross was awarded the 2009 T.S. Eliot Prize for The Water Table and is well known for his children’s poetry titles The All-Nite Café and Off Road To Everywhere. Nick Demske’s self-titled manuscript won the 2010 Fence Modern Poets Series Prize and will be published in November. Meghan McClure will have three poems in Issue 6 of Superstition Review including “Stars on Their Way Down,” “Potential Energy,” and “Refractions.”
In the coming weeks Superstition Review staff are looking forward to the Melissa Pritchard reading on the Arizona State University Tempe Campus on November 8th at 7 p.m. Also expect an in-depth interview with Superstition Review contributor Claire McQuerry regarding her work at The Missouri Review and her new book Lacemakers.
On November 8th the Superstition Review Reading Series will feature Melissa Pritchard at Arizona State University’s Tempe Campus. Her reading will take place at 7 p.m. in the Memorial Union’s Pima Auditorium. Pritchard has published several books such as Phoenix: A Novel, Late Bloomer and Devotedly, Virginia: The Life of Virginia Galvin Piper. She has also published her essays Finding Ashton and A Woman’s Garden, Sown in Blood in O, The Oprah Magazine, and The Collagist 4, respectively. I had the opportunity to discuss the upcoming reading and Pritchard’s latest novel The Odditorium.
Superstition Review: How is The Odditorium different from your other works?
Melissa Pritchard: The Odditorium is a collection of seven stories and a novella. Most are based on unusual or enigmatic historical figures, all look at the ways architecture exerts subtle or unsubtle pressures on human consciousness. So they are different in those ways from most of my previous stories. More than half of them do not approach narrative in a traditional or conventional way. I experiment in one story, “Watanya Cicilia,” with a pastiche of historical documents, songs, research and fiction, contrasting the Wild West Show and the real, genocidal story of the West. “The Hauser Variations,” based on the life of Kaspar Hauser, a German boy kept in an underground dungeon throughout his childhood and then mysteriously released into a second tragic fate, is based, in terms of narrative strategy, on Bach’s Goldberg Variations. In another story, “Patricide,” two sisters meet in a haunted hotel in Richmond, Virginia, its courtyard said to be a place where Edgar Allen Poe once played as a child. In this hotel, one of the sisters goes mad. So I was less interested in the traditional structure of plot and expected emotional release than in ethics, history, architecture and the effects of these upon both historically based and purely imagined characters.
SR: What has in been like working with Bellevue Literary Press?
MP: We are in the earliest phases; I accepted their offer to publish The Odditorium in January, 2012, and had a lengthy phone conversation with the publisher, Erika Goldman. I was so impressed with her aesthetic understanding of the collection, her excitement over the departures I had taken in terms of subject and form, I became convinced this was the proper home for these pieces. The BLP website is terrific, too, as is their history with Bellevue Hospital and New York University’s Medical Center. They publish elegant books at the nexus of art, science and medicine, and only publish two fiction titles a year. One of this year’s fiction titles, Tinkers, by Paul Harding, won the 2010 Pulitzer Prize, resulting in a flurry of attention for the press, with articles and interviews in The New York Times, NPR, The Wall Street Journal, and other media venues. It’s a tiny press operating out of Bellevue Hospital, and they do terrific work. I come from a family of surgeons, doctors and nurses, and have always been fascinated by science, medicine and the history of medicine, so this could not be a better place for this book, as a number of the stories deal with medical histories, issues and questions.
SR: How has your time at ASU influenced your writing?
MP: Because my time to write is limited, I have to be disciplined. Sometimes I find it quite difficult, having time and energy to both write and teach. A fragile balance at best. On the other hand, teaching keeps me awake to current trends in literature, to remaining relevant to students year after year, and I am blessed to work with some incredibly gifted students, both graduates and undergraduates. I always say my students teach me in equal proportion to what I teach them. At least I feel that. Also, ASU has always been tremendously supportive of my outside work–traveling for research, traveling to conferences, traveling for reportage or for humanitarian work, which I also do. I am extremely grateful for the university’s support.
SR: What are you most looking forward to as the Superstition Review reading draws near?
MP: I have a background in theater, in acting, so I always love reading my work aloud in a public setting…for me, it is as close to performance as I come these days. I love an audience and I love hearing the piece I’ve chosen come alive in the room, seeing the reactions of the listeners, answering questions afterwards. It is truly a wonderful exchange. This past summer at The Glen, a writing workshop in Santa Fe, New Mexico, part of Seattle Pacific University’s MFA Program, I read my collection’s title story, “The Odditorium,” to a full house. It is a comic piece about Robert Ripley of Believe It or Not fame, and other audiences have responded with laughter and lively commentary afterwards. This audience was dead silent. The room was dark, I couldn’t see anyone. I kept reading, on and on, by the little glow from the podium light. Afterwards, no one even asked questions! I was horrified, sure I had failed, sure the story had been a failure…I wanted to crawl under a carpet had there been one. What I found out later, was that the story had gone over so well, people couldn’t react, they went silent–stunned. I won’t repeat the praises I later heard, but then I became overwhelmed the other direction–was my story really that good? So one never knows, and one always doubts. Also, I’m always a little nervous before a reading, hoping it goes well, that I don’t disappoint people who made the time and effort to come to my reading when there are dozens of other things for them to do….I am also always scared no one will show up, and thrilled to pieces when they do. Finally, I’m looking forward to meeting all the staff and interns at Superstition Review. They’ve even managed to arrange to have copies of A Public Space #11 mailed from New York to be available for sale on the night of the reading. (I’ll be reading a story, “Ecorche, The Flayed Man,” from that issue.)
SR: What are you currently working on creatively?
MP: I’m in between three pieces right now…a non-fiction piece about my miniature dachshund, Simon, a speech about Sr. Airman Ashton Goodman and the Afghan Women’s Writing Project that I will be giving at the Air Force Institute of Technology in December, and a novella set in 19th century Florence, Italy.
SR: What advice would you give to an aspiring author?
MP: Read voraciously. Read the best work you can find. Read what interests you. Be observant. Practice empathy and compassion. Know that what you write ultimately reflects who you are. Write every day, even if only for an hour and be humble in your practice while aspiring to greatness. Be gentle with yourself, and always reward yourself in some small way after a writing session. Leave the writing at a place where you are eager to return the next day.
Our Section Editors continue to read open submissions. If you would like to submit work for Superstition Review Issue 6, visit http://superstitionreview.submishmash.com/Submit for more information about our guidelines. The deadline for Submissions is October 31st.
Our Content Coordinator confirmed poets Mary Carroll-Hackett and Molly Brodak for Issue 6. Carroll-Hackett’s book The Real Politics of Lipstick won the 2010 Slipstream Press poetry competition and was published in August. Brodak’s poetry has been published in KenyonReviewOnline, NinthLetter, and Field, and she was awarded the 2009 Iowa Poetry Prize for her first book, A Little Middle of the Night.
Superstition Review staff will be busy putting the finishing touches on Issue 6 for the launch in December. Stay tuned for updates on our plans for a reading by Melissa Pritchard on November 8th at 7 p.m. in the Memorial Union Pima Auditorium on Tempe Campus.
With just over three weeks left in our submissions period, SuperstitionReview staff are reaching a critical point in Issue 6. Submissions are pouring in and our section editors are reading and sorting them daily.
Our photoshopper has been busy formatting the head shots of confirmed authors as well as staff. We’re also looking to our Advertising Coordinator to develop new ways to expand our readership. Interview Editors are continuing their research by listening to National Public Radio broadcasts and reading previous interviews from our selected authors. This is allowing them to form more refined interview questions.
Content Coordinator Carrie Grant has confirmed poets James Hoggard and Amanda Auchter for this semester’s issue. Hoggard’s work has been published in MississippiReview, HarvardReview and others. His most recent work, out of the 19 books he’s published, is Triangles of Light: The Edward Hopper Poems.
Author of The Glass Crib, Amanda Auchter‘s writing has appeared in numerous reviews and magazines and she has received accolades from Crab Orchard Review and BellevueLiteraryReview, among others. We look forward to their work with SuperstitionReview.
In addition to providing these weekly updates on our progress, I strive to provide information on Superstition Review authors, and upcoming literary events in the community. Stay tuned in the next few weeks for features on Matthew Gavin Frank and Melissa Pritchard.
The Superstition Review staff continues to gain momentum while working on Issue 6. Section editors are voting on submissions via our website, Submishmash, which has allowed advisors and editors to work quickly, reading submissions then assigning them to additional readers. As a reminder, the SuperstitionReview submission period concludes on October 31st and submissions can be made to http://superstitionreview.submishmash.com/submit.
Our Interview Editors have confirmed several interviewees for Issue 6 including Beverly Donofrio, Elizabeth Kadetsky, Alberto Ríos, Rishma Dunlop, and Erick Setiawan. Interview Editor Kimberly Singleton was delighted by positive feedback from Erick Setiawan about the SuperstitionReview website. He stated, “great website, by the way, and very much needed.” These interviews will take place in the next few weeks and will appear in Issue 6 of Superstition Review.
Additionally, Reading Series Coordinator Mary Richardson is pleased to announce that the Melissa Pritchard reading has been scheduled for November 18th. Pritchard is the recipient of numerous awards, including fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Howard Foundation at Brown University, the Illinois Arts Council. More details about the reading will be announced soon.
While awaiting responses from solicited writers of fiction, poetry, and nonfiction, SuperstitionReview Section Editors are dedicating their time this week to reading and organizing incoming submissions via Submishmash. Go to http://superstitionreview.submishmash.com/submit for our submission guidelines and to see our new submissions manager. Our Art Editors have visited exhibits locally and elsewhere, and are now communicating with hopeful incoming artists.
Also this week, SuperstitionReview Reading Series Editor Mary Richardson has confirmed that we will feature Melissa Pritchard at our Superstition Review reading this semester. Date and venue will be announced soon.
Check back regularly for updates on our highly anticipated reading, and other Superstition Review updates.