Meet the Review Crew: Interview Editor Erin Caldwell

Each week we will be featuring one of our many talented interns here at Superstition Review.

Erin Caldwell is the Interview Editor at Superstition Review, an undergraduate English major, a nanny, and a barista. After her graduation form ASU in May, she plans to go on an extended whirlwind national tour playing bass guitar with her band Dogbreth. During her tour of the US, Erin hopes to complete a collection of poems and short stories that are expected to be printed by local Phoenix press, Lawn Gnome Publishing. Right now, Erin’s main career goal is to create extracurricular writing workshops and literary magazine programs for children and teens in rural and urban areas.

Living through a nomadic childhood, Erin found a sense of stability in her book collection. A lifelong fan of fiction and poetry, her favorite books as a child were The Phantom Tollbooth and Where the Sidewalk Ends. Her tastes have grown to include works by Truman Capote, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, JD Salinger, and Joyce Carol Oates. If she had to choose one book to read for the rest of her life, it would probably be To Kill a Mockingbird or Nine Stories. Drawing upon these influences, Erin writes essays, stories, and poems based on her own experiences.

Her favorite aspect of the small-press literary world is being able to read work from famous authors and emerging writers side-by-side. Ploughshares, Tin House, and The Believer are her top magazine picks. Through her time with Superstition Review, she will get to interview new and established authors printed in such publications. These conversations will give insight into the literary world by the people living in it.

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?

Reading: Patrick Michael Finn

On Friday, November 4, Phoenix College is presenting a free reading and book signing by award-winning author Patrick Michael Finn.

The reading and book signing will begin at 7:30 p.m. at Phoenix College, 1202 Thomas Rd, in room H102.

Patrick Michael Finn is the author of the novella A Martyr for Suzy Kashasovich, which won the 2006 Ruthanne Wiley Memorial Novella Competition. His collection of short stories, The Darkness Under Our Feet, is the 2009 Hudson Prize winner.

Patrick’s short stories have appeared in Ploughshares, TriQuarterly, Third Coast, Quarterly West, The Clackamas Literary Review, and Houghton Mifflin’s The Best American Mystery Stories 2004. Awards for his fiction include the Third Coast Fiction Prize 2004, AWP Intro Award, citations in the 2005 Pushcart Prize, and The Best American Short Stories 2008.

Patrick has taught at the University of Arizona, Western Nebraska Community College, and the University of North Carolina, Asheville, and founded the Chandler-Gilbert Community College writing program in 2007, which he currently directs. He lives in Arizona with his wife and son.

For more information about the reading, contact Lisa Miller at 602-285-7348 or lisa.miller.@pcmail.maricopa.edu.