Poet, essayist, and cultural critic Hanif Abdurraqib visits Changing Hands Phoenix (300 W Camelback Rd, Phoenix, Arizona 85013) on Monday, March 26 from 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm with his acclaimed essay collection They Can’t Kill Us Until They Kill Us. The collection was named a 2017 book of the year by Buzzfeed, Esquire, NPR, Oprah Magazine, Paste, The Los Angeles Review, Pitchfork, The Chicago Tribune, and others.
About the book
In an age of confusion, fear, and loss, Hanif Abdurraqib’s is a voice that matters. Whether he’s attending a Bruce Springsteen concert the day after visiting Michael Brown’s grave, or discussing public displays of affection at a Carly Rae Jepsen show, he writes with a poignancy and magnetism that resonates profoundly.
In the wake of the nightclub attacks in Paris, he recalls how he sought refuge as a teenager in music, at shows, and wonders whether the next generation of young Muslims will not be afforded that opportunity now. While discussing the everyday threat to the lives of black Americans, Abdurraqib recounts the first time he was ordered to the ground by police officers—for attempting to enter his own car.
In essays that have been published by the New York Times, MTV, and Pitchfork, among others—along with original, previously unreleased essays—Abdurraqib uses music and culture as a lens through which to view our world, so that we might better understand ourselves, and in so doing proves himself a bellwether for our times.
About the author
Hanif Abdurraqib is a poet, essayist, and cultural critic from Columbus, Ohio. His poetry has been published in Muzzle, Vinyl, PEN American, and various other journals. His essays and music criticism have been published in The FADER, Pitchfork, The New York Times, and MTV News, where he was a columnist. His first full length poetry collection, The Crown Ain’t Worth Much, was published in 2016 by Button Poetry and is a finalist for the Hurston/Wright Award for Poetry.
Phoenix Poet and Four Chambers editor Rosemarie Dombrowski’s full-length debut of The Philosophy of Unclean Things, a Finishing Line Press publication, debuts on Saturday, April 1st, 2017 from 6 to 7 p.m. in the Rooftop Bar at the Clarendon Hotel (401 W Clarendon Ave, Phoenix, AZ 85013).
Dombrowski is the co-founder and host of the Phoenix Poetry Series, the founder and editor-in-chief of Rinky Dink Press, an editor for Four Chambers Press, and a lecturer at Arizona State University. She has also been the Editor-in-Chief of the undergraduate journal of writing on the DPC, Write On, Downtown, since its start in 2007. Her works strive to showcase the myriad cultures and artistic endeavors of the Downtown community.
Opening remarks will be made by Four Chambers and Tawny Kerr, cover artist, with readings of the book to follow.
Copies of the book will be available for purchase at the event.
Food and beverage are available at Cafe Tranquilo on the first floor of the hotel and can be brought up to the rooftop. See the Facebook Event Page for more information.
If you’re going to be in Washington, D.C. for AWP 2017, here’s something to keep in mind: Catherine Pierce, winner of the Saturnalia Books of Poetry Prize, will be participating in an offsite reading along with several other authors published by Saturnalia Books. This will take place on the 9th of February 2017.
To read her poem that was published in Issue 8 of our magazine, click here.
You can also check out some of her other poems on her website.
Award-winning poet Rigoberto González talk “A Life of Labor” takes place on Tuesday, November 8 at 1:30 p.m. in the Fulton Center room 2490. ASU Tempe Campus. His talk will focus on his writing career.
Rigoberto González is the author four books of poetry, most recently Unpeopled Eden, which won the Lambda Literary Award and the Lenore Marshall Prize from the Academy of American Poets. His ten books of prose include two bilingual children’s books, the three young adult novels in the Mariposa Club series, the novel Crossing Vines, the story collection Men Without Bliss, and three books of nonfiction, including Butterfly Boy: Memories of a Chicano Mariposa, which received the American Book Award from the Before Columbus Foundation. He also edited Camino del Sol: Fifteen Years of Latina and Latino Writing and Alurista’s new and selected volume Xicano Duende: A Select Anthology. The recipient of Guggenheim, NEA and USA Rolón fellowships, a NYFA grant in poetry, the Shelley Memorial Award from the Poetry Society of America, The Poetry Center Book Award, and the Barnes & Noble Writer for Writers Award, he is contributing editor for Poets & Writers Magazine and is professor of English at Rutgers-Newark, the State University of New Jersey. In 2015, he received The Bill Whitehead Award for Lifetime Achievement from the Publishing Triangle. As of 2016, he serves as critic-at-large with the Los Angeles Times and sits on the Board of Trustees of the Association of Writers and Writing Programs (AWP). He earned graduate degrees from the University of California, Davis, and Arizona State University in Tempe.
This event is hosted by the ASU Department of English and its Creative Writing Program, along with the Humanities Division of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. For more information, please visit the event page and/or the Facebook event.
Rochelle Hurt’s recently published second collection of poetry, In Which I Play the Runway, has won the 2015 Barrow Street Book Prize. Richard Blanco, who selected her book for the prize, describes that her “words [are] spoken with a vigor and honesty that are felt in the gut; words that remain lodged in the back of the throat.”
Have you heard? Les Kay has written his first full-length collection of poetry, At Whatever Front. The poems are “lively, moving, rhythmically tight, and often sweeping, with a kind of lyrical activism” according to John Philip Drury, author of Sea Level Rising.
Every year, ASU holds the Homecoming Writing Contest to encourage aspiring writers to continue their craft. Here at Superstition Review, we were so excited to hear that one of our trainees, Jordan Dahlen, won first place in the poetry category!
Sometimes, on an airplane, I wonder if the person beside me thinks I’m a pathological liar after they ask, “What do you do?” and I begin to answer. Or fumble toward answering.
Sometimes I want to lie.
Do you lie?
Sometimes I do.
By omission, if nothing else. Too many answers when they want one. I work on ships. I am run a press. I teach. I do website design. And then the real answer, which to many is strange and either provokes awkward silence or too many questions: I am a poet and a naturalist.
At the core of my being, that reply rings and resounds. Poet and naturalist are callings I heed. Passions I am grateful to follow. They are ways of moving through the world. Words for how I navigate. They are not careers.
A career is paystubs and (hopefully) promotions. It is marked progress or at least marked time. It is commerce.
Being a naturalist is not commerce. It is carefully observing the world without humans at its center. You might get paid to lead a walk or give a talk, but being a naturalist constitutes more than that calendared moment. Being a poet is the same.
Poetry is not commerce. Sometimes, a little money might come from a poem. Sometimes. A little. But not often.
And that is our freedom, as poets. The poems won’t pay the rent. Their value is reckoned differently. Even after they go out into the world, they are ours. And we can allow whim and art and passion to make them. For most poets, there is no “brand” to protect for market-driven reasons, a narrowing of expression which would hinder our making with self-consciousness. The exploration and the experimentation of each new poem is the thing that makes us poets.
Career: v. move swiftly and in an uncontrolled way in a specified direction. “The car careered across the road and went through a hedge.”
If you’re like me, you’d probably say “careened.” The car careened around a corner.
In North America, that’s become an acceptable usage of the verb. But to careen is more truly to turn (a ship) on its side for cleaning, caulking, or repair. Where I live, we see ships careened in the summer. Wooden hulks coaxed to float by annual patching.
A boat out of the water is a vulnerable and strange thing. It keens with the weight of its careening. It does more than list. It leans. And it leans hard—maybe against a piling driven into the sand to hold it upright when the water pulls away.
Meander, when I was younger, was one of my favorite words. I loved the way my mouth had to work around it. Now, it sounds a little whiny to me, mewling, and I don’t use it in poems.
I would be careened without poems, without the deliberate observation, the delighted surprise that springs from being open to what emerges, that comes from both writing and being a naturalist. I would lean and break. I would be a hulk on the shore.
I career between these selves, these lives.
Odd hybrids have always held power. Minotaur, selkie, siyokoy, Anubis, angel, jackalope.
“In the 1930s, Douglas Herrick and his brother, hunters with taxidermy skills, popularized the American jackalope by grafting deer antlers onto a jackrabbit carcass and selling the combination to a local hotel in Douglas, Wyoming.”
Praise the jackalope. Praise the strange beauty of two lives deliberately brought together. And the secrets and omissions that conjoining must necessarily entail.
Secrets are held within us, alive but invisible. Some, of course, can be horrible and dangerous. But not all. Some fuel us.
When I am speaking as a poet, talking to students about image or line, the secret of my naturalist life pulses within me. I am comforted by its warmth. My shoulders hold an echo of the weight of my binocular strap and my eyes a squint of light on water. I need the power of that other, more physical life to buoy me when I flounder in the world of words.
When I am working as a naturalist, searching for animals or coaxing people to bend down and look at feeding barnacles, poems sing in me. Lines by other poets, phrases that might become a poem of my own. I don’t share them. I joke with the crew, drive the boat, do head-counts, take data. I don’t want to talk about writing poems. I want that buzz in my pocket, that secret gathering power in its unspoken form.
Sometimes, though, shuttling between poet-self and naturalist-self leaves me disoriented. As if I’m too much in limbo, liminal, always becoming and never there.
Dedicating oneself to two worlds can mean slower progress in each. There is a benefit to laser focus, to sustained and dedicated effort in one field. But not all of us are wired for that. Some of us struggle and itch if we have to offer only one answer to the question, “What do you do?”
I want to honor the power and necessity of that non-singularity. The energy of that pendulum swing between ways of seeing, ways of engaging. Poetry and plumbing. Poetry and psychoanalysis. Poetry and parenthood.
Many writers (myself included, at least partly, for the past four years) earn a living by teaching writing. But not all writers are in the academy, and not all writers want to be in the academy. Some hold writing apart from whatever they do to make money, keep it separate from their working lives, free to range and explore unseen by supervisors or colleagues. Free to rebel and speak against as well as for.
It’s harder, sometimes, to find these writers. It’s harder for them to take time to travel and give readings; they don’t have students who go out and share their work. But their books are out there to be found. Their voices sing.
Writers who have wandered, whether it’s into teaching or doctoring or carpentry, know that I claim you as kin. We won’t have “careers” as writers, but we will career, and the energy our non-writing life—its vocabulary and systems and specific conundrums—will make the words we explore vital and strange. We will have lives as writers. As jackalopes, as secret agents of words.
Are you ready for 88 pages of poetry that, according to Larissa Szporluk (author of Traffic with Macbeth), captures the “darkest and lightest aspects of being alive”?
Well ready or not, here it comes. In the fall of 2016, Modlin’s debut book Everyone at This Party Has Two Names will be available. His work has made him the Cowles Poetry Prize Winner. His previous works of writing have been nominated for several Pushcart Prizes.
You can read Modlin’s poetry that was published in Issue 8 of Superstition Reviewby clicking here.
Here’s some exciting news for all you poetry fans out there. Robert Wrigley, SR contributor from Issue 7, has a new book called Box coming out in March 2017. This will be the tenth published collection of poems from the acclaimed, award-winning poet.
To purchase or read more information about Box, click here.
To read Robert’s poems that were published in Superstition Review, click here.