Contributor Update: Allison Benis White 2018 UNT Rilke Prize Winner

Allison Benis White

We are pleased to announce that Alison Benis White’s Please Bury Me in This won the UNT (University of North Texas) Rike Prize for 2018.

To learn more about the UNT Rike Prize and events, visit the announcement page here.

Allison and Please Bury Me in This last appeared on the blog in a contributor update back in April of 2017 announcing that selections of her work were featured in the Spring-Summer 2017 edition of American Poets.

Please Bury Me in This is available from both the publisher Four Way Books and Amazon. You can also read, “Everything That Is Not Conversation,” an Interview with Allison Benis White featured in Issue 15 of Superstition Review.

Congratulations, Allison!

Contributor Update: Rose Knapp Metempoïesis Poetry Collection

Metempoiesis by Rose KnappWe are excited to announce that past Superstition Review  contributor, Rose Knapp, has a new poetry collection available. Metempoïesis was released at the end of January and can be purchased through Dostoyevsky Wannabe.

Rose was featured in Issue 19. Her three poems are accompanied with sound and can be read, and heard, here. Rose also contributed to the Superstition Review Blog via an Authors Talk. Here she discusses about her poetry, language, and translation.

Congratulations, Rose!


Guest Post, Patricia Caspers: 13 Ways of Looking at a Writer

Scorpio Patricia CaspersEach week I scour my twitter feed for signs of my Scorpio horoscope via Astro Poets (AKA Dorthea Lasky and Alex Dimitrov, for those two people who don’t know). Sure, I could thumb a few words into the search bar and voilà, but where’s the hunt in that? I want to scroll through my feed of poems and shiny disasters and stumble upon phrases like this recent treasure: “Never getting over being alive is poetry.”

I love the way the Astro Poets inspire me to wonder.

Here’s a Scorpio horoscope that caused me some big wondering:

“There are so many ways to look at something. There are at least 13, but also maybe more. You get into that one way and it’s strong. But is it always right— no. Start to turn the facets until you see yourself clearly again. Luck will arrive soon.”

“That one doesn’t apply to me at all,” I thought out loud the first time I read this tweet, but then I reconsidered.

Because here’s the thing: I’m a poet. That’s how I’ve defined myself since I was nine years old. It’s all I’ve ever wanted to be.

But here’s the other thing: Nobody else really knows it. So when I go on Twitter, and I see all the beautiful people – who are often so very much younger than me – becoming famous for their poetry, I’m happy for them. I really am. A win for poetry is a win for the world; there’s no doubt about it. But there’s a teeny place in my heart that asks, “Why not me?”

And then I am sad.

But I know why not me. Not me because I’ve written maybe a total of three complete poems in the last year, and I published all of one. I can hardly expect to have my poems recited in the next Greta Gerwig film if I don’t do the work of creating them or sending them off to poetry journals for excoriation.

OK, so I don’t really need to be a famous poet, I tell myself. I’ll be satisfied with an eclectic cult following.

I’m beginning to think that’s not happening, either.

I’m a failed poet.

Meanwhile, in the last two years I’ve written more than 100 weekly columns for my local newspapers. At one time or another every column I’ve written has also been written in the form a poem that no one read. I write about my teenage parents, my father’s drug addiction, the car wreck that took his life, my lifelong struggle with depression, the time I was too drunk to consent.

Recently my column was picked up by another news outlet in a neighboring county, and last year I was named the best columnist in the state by California News Publishers Association.
Better than that is the fact that almost daily I receive messages from readers who tell me my column is the best part of their day.

“I felt like you were telling my story,” they say.

“You are the butterfly,” they say.

“Thank you,” they say.

I’m not telling you this to brag. Well, maybe just a little; I am a Scorpio after all.

The truth is I find it all a bit baffling. All I ever wanted to be was a poet, but somehow I’ve ended up becoming a columnist instead. Clearly, I’m no Pauline Chen, but I do have what some might consider a tiny, eclectic cult following.

Still, I feel like a failed poet because every time I receive one of those messages I think, “It’s just a column. It’s not poetry.”

So I thought about my horoscope, and I considered 13 ways of looking at a writer, as well as something else Dana Levin once said, which was along the lines of this: When you find people who love your work, love them back.

Levin was talking about loving the small literary journals who love us instead of chasing the ever-elusive behemoths, which is solid advice, but maybe it also means that when people tell us we have a gift, we should believe them and love them for it – even if it’s not the gift we hoped they’d open.

Sometimes life is a trip through the constellations when we thought we were just hitchhiking across town – and that’s a kind of poetry, too.

Guest Post, Jessica Morey-Collins: Writing Poems in the Age of the Automobile

Highway and RainbowWhen written with the intent of being read, poetry is a form of humanism, a means of putting someone’s thoughts in closer proximity to other people. The practice of artfully arranging words to communicate an ideal/situation/experience to a reader invokes the dignity of everyone involved in the transaction. Poems emerge from and enter our human bodies, speak to our human instances. Even misanthrope poets engage in the humanist act of crafting language to connect their miserable existences to others’. Poetry is an occasion of closeness.

To state the obvious, the advent of cars was transformative. Suddenly, we could get away from each other. Industry could distance itself from commerce and commerce from residence. With cars, we needn’t proximity to our workplaces. Vast swaths of the American landscape were crafted for the man in his machine. From long lonely stretches of desert highway to dense meshes of urban overpasses, this land was made for you and me in our vehicles. For our vehicles to touch one another is an obvious problem. The road is an occasion to create and maintain distance.

Southern California’s mountains are majestic—incendiary, purple, awash in murk. Its valleys hum and swish with motors, tires complaining over roads. A child of divorce with Mom in the valley and Dad in the mountains, I was reared in a car. My first time living away from daily car rides I became ecstatic. Age 20, my cousin and I spent a summer working at a Girl Scout camp in Alaska. I swung my arms and spontaneously sprinted—living on my own two feet, living on the land, I felt freer than I’d ever imagined. At age 24 I moved away for good—to the dense rails and efficient busses of Taipei, the water-bound and buckled roads of New Orleans, to cycle through clinging mists in Oregon.

Seeing the faces of other commuters changed me. They were weary, exuberant, quotidian and unusual. Moving more slowly through cities enamored me of their habits—timed flashes, turning trees, egrets stilting through bayous.

In dreams I still fling up and down mountain roads that rear and buck through fog.

While they present curated experience, to meet people in poems is to reckon with their idiosyncratic perspectives: where they overlap with your own, where they vary; tender comparison, sharing. To meet people on the road is to reckon with catastrophic risks. Each vehicle represents the potential to irreparably damage my body and my economic prospects. Each vehicle represents my potential to demolish myself and others.

Maybe it is a failure of my character, but I have a hard time mustering love for my fellow humans when we are wrapped in glass and aluminum and hurling ourselves toward destinations. Maybe it is a failure of my imagination, but I have a hard time loving the landscape when I blur past it.

The privacy of a personal vehicle insulates the particular—tinted windows ensure the inside isn’t visible, that the intimacy within stays hidden from observers. Poetry—at least some of it—does the opposite, making art out of the personal; showing, telling. The poems that I tend to love gain energy from idiosyncrasy—the precise things that are tucked away into the privacy of single-family dwellings here in car country.

But this is the landscape we have made, the landscape on which and out of which we write. To write for lovers is to write for the roads that bring them to each other. To write for friends is to wish their cars carry them safely to and from their literature. To write for readers is to strain against the confines of the automobile age and it’s insulation and distance. As roads carry us farther away from each other, poems whisper, “Come closer.”

#ArtLitPhx: Desert Nights, Rising Stars Writers Conference

The Desert Nights, Rising Stars Writers Conference is three days of craft talks, panels, workshops and presentations at Arizona State University. With more than 50 sessions from over 25 faculty members in multiple genres and fields, the goal is to provide writers with opportunities to make personal and professional connections, advance their craft, and deepen their engagement with the literary field. View the full conference schedule here.

About the conference from the host, The Virginia G. Piper Center for Creative Writing:

“We are committed to creating an accessible and inclusive space for writers of all backgrounds, genres, and skill levels. Conference faculty and programming encompass many genres which can often go under served in the literary field, including Young Adult, Science-Fiction/Fantasy, Crime Fiction, Translation, Graphic Novels, Hybrid, and more.

Special topics like climate change, social justice, and other contemporary issues also feature prominently.

Publishing, editing, agents, and other aspects of the business of publishing are included as well.

Beyond sessions, attendees can also participate in receptions, discussion groups, after-hour socials, and other opportunities to connect with fellow conference-goers, develop relationships, and build community.”

The 2018 Desert Nights, Rising Stars Writers Conference will take place from Thursday, February 22 through Saturday, February 24. Writers of all backgrounds and experience levels are encouraged to attend. Register here.

Contributor Update: Kevin McLellan Ornithology (the Word Works)

Kevin McLellanWe are excited to share news that Kevin McLellan’s 2018 forthcoming collection Ornithology (the Word Works) will include seven poems published with Superstition Review. Kevin has made available a list of his other published poems appearing in Ornithology (the Word Works) on his site.

Kevin’s poems were featured in two issues of Superstition Reviewissue 14 and issue 17  He also participated in the SR Pod/Vod Series on February 10, 2015 and November 8, 2016 where you can follow along as he reads his poems.

Congratulations Kevin!


Contributor Update: Sarah K. Carey’s Recent Publications

Sarah CareyToday we’re happy to share news about past SR contributor Sarah K. Carey. Sarah has several recent publications.

Before Landfall” appeared on January 12 2018 of SWWIM Every Day.

“Questions for a Plumber Remodeling” and “Imprinted” are featured in the current December 2017 issue of UCity Review.

Paris Voices” can be seen in Valparaiso Poetry Review’s Fall/Winter 2017-2018: Volume XIX, Number 1.

Sarah’s “Exotic Taste” appears in issue 18 of Superstition Review which you can learn more about in her Authors Talk here on the blog.

Congratulations Sarah!