Randon Billings Noble has compiled a diverse array of writers for a remarkable collection of lyric essays published by the University of Nebraska Press in October 2021. A Harp in the Stars: An Anthology of Lyric Essays “show lyric essays rely more on intuition than exposition, use image more than narration, and question more than answer.” Although no one summary can begin to capture the essence of these essays, one can expect revelation through flash, segmented, braided, and hermit crab forms, plus a section of craft essays. This collection also features a number of past SR contributors including Dinty W. Moore, Lia Purpura, Sarah Einstein, Elissa Washuta, Julie Marie Wade, Eric Tran, Heidi Czerwiec, and Michael Dowdy.
Randon Billings Noble was featured in Issue 11. If you would like to see even more of Noble’s work, it is featured on her website and she can also be found on Twitter.
I’ve been searching for a book like this for over twenty years. Its remarkable dazzle–a sharp, eclectic anthology combined with whip-smart craft essays–carves out a fascinating look into the bright heart of what the lyric essay can be.
Aimee Nezhukumatahil, author of World of Wonders
A Harp in the Stars is available via the publisher, Amazon, or anywhere books are sold.
Congratulations to Laurie Blauner for releasing a new novel and a book of short stories. Her latest novel is titled Out of WhichCame Nothing. Enter a parallel universe with Aaron, a boy wholly dependent on religious cult caretakers in this stunningly lyrical and descriptive world. This novel was published in September 2021 by Spuyten Duyvil and is available now on their website and Amazon.
The sense is almost one of a world somewhere between a fairy tale and a fever dream; a nightmare with ill-defined limits that is both all-encompassing and self-contained. This is not a contradiction by any means. It is a state of being that is as specific as a recurring nightmare we can’t let go of, a nightmare that takes over our being and drags us deeply into a well of consciousness where voices in the darkness are threatening to follow us into an uncertain darkness. And we go. Because we have no choice not to.
Laurie Blauner’s newest release, I Was One of My Memories, is an essay collection published by PANK magazine since winning its 2020 Nonfiction Book Award. In this book, you will find more of her lyrical prose as she covers topics such as obsession, lies, aging, and what it really means to be human. You can order this book from PANK.
I Was One of My Memories does one of the things that I love most about the thing we call creative nonfiction: it shows us its thinking, its flawed and idiosyncratic and completely delightful thinking. It is a thinking shaped by experience, pleasure, grief, and disappointment, while the diverse forms, the small essays, little animals of the mind, might be read as recursive attempts toward sense making.
J’Lynn Chapman, Contest Judge and author of To Limn / Lying In
You can find Laurie’s contribution to Superstition Review in Issue 21, which features one of the essays in I Was One of My Memories under the same title, and Issue 8, which features her poetry. You can also check out these books and more on her website.
“Reading to relate is like looking in a mirror; I want to walk through a door.”
In this insightful Authors Talk, Patricia Ann McNair delves into the idea — and issue — of readers and writers only finding value in work they can relate to.
Many times she has heard the phrase, “I can’t relate,” from students and peers in regards to stories. As readers, it can be easy for us to become uncomfortable when confronted with stories that we cannot relate to and we cannot understand, but Patricia argues that it is exactly these stories we need to be reading.
When we read only stories we can understand, we are simply looking in a mirror; but, when we read stories that do not resemble our own, we are shown through an open door into a world we never would have encountered before.
“Write what you don’t know….”
Listen to her full Authors Talk below.
Check out Patricia’s newest work, Responsible Adults, coming out in December of 2020 (Cornerstone Press).
In this week’s Contributor Update, we are highlighting past contributor Kristina Moriconi and her recently published lyric narrative, In The Cloakroom of Proper Musings. It tells the story “of one woman’s joy juxtaposed alongside her need to survive.”
We previously featured Kristina’s essay “To Make It Make Sense” in Issue 17 of Superstition Review and are very excited for this book debut. In addition to In The Cloakroom of Proper Musings, Kristina has also published a poetry collection, No Such Place, and has been featured in the nonfiction anthology Flash Nonfiction Food.
Join us in congratulating past SR nonfiction contributor Julie Marie Wade on the upcoming publication of her newest book, Just An Ordinary Woman Breathing. It will be available from The Ohio State University Press in February of 2020.
The collection of essays deals with her own coming of age as she delves into the idea of history and the body in the contemporary world. This will be her eleventh book.
To learn more about Julie and her work you can visit her website. You can also read her creative essay featured in Issue 18 of Superstition Review.
Join us in congratulating past SR contributor, Laurie Stone, on the publication of her new book Everything is Personal, Notes on Now.
The memoir is an amalgamation of essays and diary entries about her life experience as she contemplates the world. The introduction writer of the book Chris Kraus called it “engaging, sharp, [and] funny.”
Her book will be released on January 15, 2020 and is now available for pre-order here. To learn more about Laurie and her work, visit her website. You can also read her essays featured in Issue 1 and Issue 10 of Superstition Review.
Today we are pleased to feature Catharina Coenen as our Authors Talk series contributor. In this podcast, she invites her nephew, Christopher Van der Meyden, to discuss her nonfiction essay, “Stain,” published in SR’s Issue 23.
“Stain” explores Catharina’s need to clean up the shattered eggs someone had thrown at the garage and driveway of her neighbor who was recently arrested by the FBI. As she reflects on this event through her writing, she notices the strong connections between her actions and the history of her family and country.
Catharina explains that she had a difficult time understanding her physical and emotional reactions to seeing the arrest: shaky knees and hands, circular thoughts, and a feeling of anger and fear despite not having any immediate threats. She says, “I started writing as a way to help myself understand why I was experiencing these physical reactions and mental confusion.”
Christopher and Catharina also take a closer look at the way the essay uses family stories organically throughout the piece as “a way to ground [Catharina] in the present—to come back from a traumatic past that explained the inner turmoil to the present tense where there was no physical danger to [Catharina] or anyone else in that moment.”
As a biologist, Catharina also makes connections between the structure of her essay and recent developments in our understanding of the biology of trauma. Although “physical responses to trauma can be encoded across generations,” Catharina explains, “storytelling and an anchoring of the person in the present” can undo this transgenerational trauma. Catharina notices her essay mimics this necessary healing process, allowing her to understand and process her reactions.
Join us in congratulating SR interview contributor Elissa Washuta. She recently worked with fellow editor Theresa Warburton to publish Shapes of Native Nonfiction: Collected Essays By Contemporary Writers this summer.
The collection features both established and emerging Native writers including Stephen Graham Jones, Deborah Miranda, Terese Marie Mailhot, Billy-Ray Belcourt, Eden Robinson, and Kim TallBear. Taken together, the essays examine materiality, orality, spatiality, and temporality in Native literary traditions.
This upcoming Monday, July 22, both Elissa and Theresa will discuss their work on this project from 7 to 8:15 p.m. at the Seattle Public Library, 1000 4th Avenue. The discussion will be recorded for a podcast.
To read more about Elissa’s workshop, click here. You can find her interview from Issue 17 here.
Today we are pleased to feature Heidi Czerwiec as our Authors Talk series contributor. In this podcast, she takes the time to discuss her nonfiction piece, “The Perfumer’s Organ,” published in SR’s Issue 23. The essay is part of a larger work-in-progress that examines “perfume as a physical and cultural object.”
“The Perfumer’s Organ,” which contains five short sections that each explore a different association with the piece’s title, was “born during a self-organized retreat at [her] in-law’s lake cabin” where she was armed with research and notes about perfumery.
Research is an important part of Heidi’s creative process, which you can see reflected in the essay’s footnotes. For this particular nonfiction piece, she looked to her research for recurring language. She explains, “For instance, ‘perfumer’s organ’ is a musical metaphor which let me tie in how perfume is composed of notes that create an accord.”
Heidi first learned the term “Perfumer’s Organ,” which describes a perfumer’s shelving system, from Perfumer Mandy Aftel, but she originally misinterpreted the phrase to mean “the nose.” As Heidi continued her research and writing, the term began to take on new meaning and she fell in love with the “rich suggestiveness of the term” that gave her a way to “organiz[e] so much of what [she] had been researching about perfume.”
Heidi calls her aesthetic a “weird mix of strict structures and loose associativeness,” which this nonfiction piece encapsulates beautifully. Because the essay captures her aesthetic so well and the title phrase helped her see the various connections she wanted to make, the work has become “one of [her] darlings” that she “love[s] irrationally” and is happy to share with all of our SR readers.