We are excited to share that past contributor Brooke Sahni has a book coming out this November! Before I Had the Word is a poetry collection that explores the confluences of religion and culture in the world. In the poems, Brooke draws on her backgrounds in Sikhism and Judaism to challenge our notions of the self and the divine. Nature, sexuality, and the body, plus the secular and mundane worlds, are thoughtfully questioned.
Before I Had the Word invites us to consider what is essential and what is sacred: language, the body, pleasure, faith. It invites us to consider who we are, how we inhabit ourselves, how words – “words that give and words that take away” – shape our experience. There are poems in this book that are etched in me now. Poems I’ll return to again and again. Poems I’ll teach. Poems I’ll share with my own daughter. This book is a gift.
Maggie Smith, Author of Keep Moving
Before I Had the Word is the 2020 winner of the X. J. Kennedy Poetry Prize and is available for pre-order from Texas A&M University Press. Brooke contributed to our Issue 24 and is also the author of the poetry collection Divining. To learn more about Brooke, visit her website or Instagram. Congratulations, Brooke!
Summer 2021 was a fruitful season for our past contributors! We’re back to announce another contributor’s new book: Anna B. Sutton’s poetry collection Savage Flower. Anna’s debut book includes “Postpartum,” which was featured in Issue 13. Savage Flower, winner of the 2019 St. Lawrence Book Award, centers on women in the American South. Reproductive rights, gender, religion, oppression, and family are just some of the timely and weighty topics brought up.
Make no mistake: the poems in Savage Flower will break you open with their beauty, with their unflinching ability to turn and keep the gaze on the moments of life so painful we try not to look at them: death and abandonment, injury and loss. Through Sutton’s work, we see the world as a continual process of loss and gain, of departure and return, in which “like prayer, waves fall back against the earth.” But these poems break you in a way that heals you, that continuously reminds you that despite its deaths and losses, this world still “[a] thing of beauty that / blossoms even as it withers.”
Emma Bolden, Author of House Is an Enigma
Savage Flower is available for purchase from Black Lawrence Press and Anna kindly mentions SR in the acknowledgements. Learn lots more about Anna and her work on her website and Twitter. Congratulations, Anna!
We are excited to share that past contributor Kasey Jueds is releasing a poetry collection, The Thicket, this November. Jueds’ poem “The Tool Shed” was featured in Issue 25. She is also the author of the poetry collection Keeper.
As its name suggests, The Thicket evokes themes of the natural world and poems often center on the less-prominent aspects of nature. Unique to this collection, the reader contends with an undefined force: it may be self, God, both, neither. Advance praise describes The Thicket as timely, serene, and observant.
Long after finishing The Thicket, I felt rocked inside its motion, a music made of wind and river current, blood, breath and wingbeat. In poem after poem Jueds leads us across the natural world, turned fabular by lavishly lyric detail, to passages unseen, through which deer spotted one moment vanish the next. The Thicket is a true beauty of a book, fully awake to the many spells of our existence.
Kathy Fagan, author of Sycamore
The Thicket will be available in November, 2021, from University of Pittsburgh Press. You can pre-order the collection from Pitt or Bookshop. Find more from Kasey on her website and Twitter. Congratulations, Kasey!
Join Superstition Review in congratulating past contributor John Nieves on his new poetry collection, Curio, out now. Winner of the 13th Annual Elixir Press Poetry Award, Curio, with a lens of curiosity, explores a wide range of topics, including the significance of humans and the traces we leave behind.
“Augury— ‘the bones’/ can only reveal what is asked of them,’ John A. Nieves writes in this stunning first book. Part scientist, part shaman, Nieves is unswervingly intelligent and deftly imaginative at knowing what to ask of the world. Human-scale, empathetic, and far-reaching, these poems engage the full range of the curiosity at the root of curio: the epistemological work of a mind turning/returning. From a father’s machine work to Schrodinger’s cat, archeology, bloodwork, and language, Nieves reminds us of the ‘magic / in the artifact’ and ‘in the making.”
Alexandra Teague, author of The Principles Behind Flotation
To order your copy of Curio click here. Be sure to also check out John’s website as well as his past work in Issue 9 and 15.
Join Superstition Review in congratulating past contributor, Kelli Russell Agodon, on her forthcoming book, Dialogues with Rising Tides, out April 27th. Kelli, in this poetry collection, “facilitates a humane and honest conversation with the forces that threaten to take us under. The anxieties and heartbreaks of life―including environmental collapse, cruel politics, and the persistent specter of suicide―are met with emotional vulnerability and darkly sparkling humor. Dialogues with Rising Tides passionately exclaims that even in the midst of great difficulty, radiant wonders are illuminated at every turn.”
“Kelli Russell Agodon’s poems in Dialogues with Rising Tides, her strongest book to date, navigate everyday anxieties and dramatic questions of life-or-death with equal doses of pathos and humor, reminding us that our choices in a world of chaos add up to something, reminding us of the responsibility to ‘care for our ghosts.’ Her interior world is lined with fragments of family tragedy while her outer world confounds her, the rising tides of environmental collapse, not a metaphor but a reality. Her oceanic views of the world teeter on the edge of a cocktail or a gunshot. Funny, sad, and a perfect read for unsettling times.”
Jeannine Hall Gailey, author of Field Guide to the End of the World
To pre-order your copy of Dialogues with Rising Tides click here. Also, be sure to check out Kelli’s website and Twitter as well as her past work in Issue 3.
Join Superstition Review in congratulating past contributor Kate Cumiskey on her forthcoming poetry collection, The Women Who Gave Up Their Vowels, out June 11th. This collection spans across several generations, showcasing a family in a Florida beach town. As Kate writes, she gives voice to many characters throughout her narrative, including to the “daughter, sister, wife, mother, grandmother, neighbor and teacher poet.” Through Kate’s poems and her exploration of both the town and the family within it, Kate expresses her love for this place as well as the people of her past and present.
Like a painter whose landscapes always have human figures in them, these poems present family, friends, and lost loved ones in vivid settings. Her mentor and friend, the late Robert Creeley, would be proud. It’s a great pleasure to see Kate Cumiskey‘s latest poems gathered in this fine book.
–Peter Meinke, poet laureate of Florida
To order your copy of The Women Who Gave Up Their Vowels click here. Also be sure to check out Kate’s website , as well as, her Authors Talk and work in Issue 23.
Join us in congratulating past Superstition Review contributor Luiza Flynn-Goodlett on the release of her upcoming book, Look Alive. This poetry collection explores the development of the femme queer self and assesses queerness by placing the narrator at the brunt end of societal and personal violence. The book will take its readers through a journey of queer self-discovery that involves taking to the gentle and accepting queerness of nature. Look Alive is already receiving accolades as a finalist for numerous awards, including The National Poetry Series, and winner of the 2019 Cowles Poetry Book Prize from Southeast Missouri State University Press.
“Luiza Flynn-Goodlett’s smart, sensual, agile collection takes you to the prairie, to the creek, to the kitchen counter, to bed—muddies you, then scrubs you clean. With a speaker who keeps your secrets and shouts your glories, Look Alive reveals the enduring territory of embodied queer womanhood—efflorescent and as susceptible to pleasure as it is to harm. Flynn-Goodlett quilts together rural origins and distance traveled, along with rich image and hardwearing language, into an impressive debut with the weight of an heirloom. If you let it, Look Alive can be the guardian inoculation that pierces you with a little taste of the big grief and the big joy so you can survive them when they come.”
Alicia Mountain, author of High Ground Coward
Additionally, there will be a virtual launch party for the book on March 4th hosted by Booksmith and The Bindery, in which Luiza will be joined by K-Ming Chang, Alicia Mountain, Arhm Choi Wild and Meg Day for a group reading. The event is free and for all ages. To RSVP click here.
Click here to pre-order your own copy of Look Alive. Also, be sure to check of Luiza’s website and Twitter, as well as, her poetry featured in Issue 17.
Join Superstition Review in congratulating past contributor Emily Banks on the publication of her poetry collection, Mother Water. Emily’s poetry collection covers a wide range of topics and emotions as well as features poems from her past work with Superstition Review, including “Poem for the Juvenile Cardinals” and “On the M15 Bus” from Issue 22.
Mother Water centers on maternal inheritance in literal and figurative forms. Through its water motif, the book traces the speaker’s transformations as she absorbs, and often resists, lessons from the women who guide her. The poems explore the speaker’s sense of self through feminine genealogy and her mother’s voice, the mother figure becoming simultaneously nurturing and threatening, teaching her daughter to survive in a perilous world. Coming-of-age poems are here, too, and poems exploring gender mystique, balance, relationship, and understanding. The book’s last section considers how we are altered by loss and how that alteration challenges our notions of both individual subjectivity and bodily autonomy.
Today we are pleased to feature Xochitl-Julisa Bermejo as our Authors Talk series contributor. In this podcast, she shares poetry from her collection, Posada: Offerings of Witness and Refuge (Sundress Publications, 2016), which explores her time volunteering with No More Deaths (No Más Muertes) in 2011 along the Mexico-United States border. Additionally, the book reflects on her own family’s immigration story as well as her life in Los Angeles.
She invites Catherine Gaffney, a long-term volunteer with No More Death who began working for the organization in 2009, to discuss humanitarian aid efforts along the border that influenced her poetry.
Bermejo and Gaffney also talk about No More Deaths’ recent news: Dr. Scott Warren, a No More Deaths volunteer, was put on trial last month for giving aid to two individuals he encountered in the desert. If convicted, Warren could have received up to 20 years in prison. The case resulted in a mistrial due to a hung jury. According to breaking news on the No More Deaths’ Instagram, a retrial was announced today, July 2nd, “in Scott Warren’s case on harboring counts. Conspiracy charges dismissed. Trial to begin Nov 12.”
Bermejo says, “What led me to volunteer with No More Deaths was this desire to have a more personal understanding of the border—and what we call ‘The Wall’—and so my plan was to go out there and see this space, and work in this space, and feel the sun, and walk in the sand, and then come back and write about this experience.”
Looking back at the October 2016 release of her book, Bermejo lightheartedly laughs at her “naïve thought that this (her poetry) was somehow going to help.” Seeing how border issues have become increasingly dire, she questions how a book of social justice poetry could influence real-world problems.
Gaffney and Bermejo end the conversation by talking about the importance of literature. For Gaffney, Mexican literature has been an important part of learning about the borderland. She believes that literature helps her “get that sense of reflection and quiet and peace, and know that, even in the midst of all that cruelty, people are worried about beauty and beautiful things…and that’s something that matters.”
Bermejo sees this importance as well, concluding, “We need literature and art to even imagine a better world,” making writing, even if it may cause doubt in the writer or seem inconsequential at times, an important part of our lives.
You can also read Xochitl-Julisa’s email interview, “¿Qué importa?” in Issue 19 of Superstition Review.
Join us in congratulating SR poetry contributor Eugene Gloria. Eugene’s fourth collection of poems, Sightseer in this Killing City, was recently published by Penguin-Random House.
Gun violence, displacement, cultural legacy, and the bitter divisions in America are just a few of the themes Eugene explores through the voice of his narrator, “who chooses mystery and inhabits landscapes fraught with beauty and brutality.”
“Gloria employs a fastidious agglomeration by, for example, drawing together postmodern Spanish architecture, nineteenth-century French poetry, 1970s English rock, and everlasting Portuguese longing, all in a single poem! . . . A seriously outstanding collection.”
More information about Eugene and his latest book can be found here. You can also find his poetry from SR’s Issue 3 here.