Forthcoming: Meg Pokrass

How short can a short story be? Meg Pokrass asks – and answers – that question in her fiction, which often takes the form of flash-fiction and micro-stories. Though her stories are short, they pack the same emotional punch that can be found in a lengthy piece of a prose. She delivers her characters and narrative in compact, meticulously chosen details. For example, in her short-short story “The Big Dipper,” about a young girl trying to navigate her adolescence by purchasing a four-foot-deep pool for her backyard, she conveys a great deal of personal information about her main character’s background in a single sentence. Referring to her mother, the narrator divulges that “Now that Dad has his own place and his bi-polar disorder, she had all kinds of new expressions.” Some of her shortest stories are only between 90 and 100 words long. In this compact form she writes of mother-daughter relationships, adolescence, sexuality, insecurity, and identity.

In her review of Meg Pokrass’s recent collection of short stories, Damn Sure Right, Tessa Mellas compares Pokrass’s flash fiction to the “richest morsels of chocolate. You can’t inhale them by the fistful.” This description does Pokrass’s stories justice; her fiction demands that you stop for a moment after reading, that you take in every single detail individually to get the full experience of her micro-narratives.

We asked Meg Pokrass to share her writing process, in particular what inspired the short story that will be appearing in Superstition Review Issue 8, which will launch in December. Click here to view the video that gives us a glance behind the scenes.

Visit her website at http://www.megpokrass.com

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.

 

An Evening with Mary Sojourner

Superstition Review will host its 2011 Fall Reading with special guest author Mary Sojourner.

Mary Sojourner is the author of the essay collection Bonelight: Ruin and Grace in the New Southwest, as well as novels, memoirs and short story collections. She is an NPR commentator and has taught writing throughout the West for 20 years. Please follow this link to read more about Mary Sojourner at: marysojourner.com

Who:     Superstition Review Literary Magazine presents Mary Sojourner

What:    Fall Reading Series

When:   Wednesday, November 9, 2011, 7 p.m.

Where:  ASU Tempe Campus, Pima Auditorium at Memorial Union

Admission:  Free

On Thursday, November 10 Mary will be offering a workshop at Changing Hands Bookstore.

Jump Start with Mary Sojourner: a writing circle to charge your writing.
The Jump Start circle is for those of you who have always wanted to write and somehow haven’t begun; for writers who have blocked; and for writers who want to move to the next level of their work. Mary Sojourner is a national author and NPR commentator. She has taught writing circles for universities, writing conferences (Desert Nights, Rising Stars, Hassyampa) and in private circles nationally. This is not a lecture workshop – you will write for most of the session. November 10, Changing Hands Bookstore, Tempe, Az., 6:30-8:30. fee: $25. Register and pay through Changing Hands.

Mary Sojourner is the author of two novels, Sisters of the Dream (1989) and Going Through Ghosts; the short story collection, Delicate; essay collection, Bonelight: ruin and grace in the New Southwest; memoirs, Solace: rituals of loss and desire and She Bets Her Life. She is an intermittent NPR commentator and the author of countless essays, columns and op eds for High Country News, Writers on the Range and dozens of other publications. She teaches writing, in private circles, one-on-one, at colleges and universities, writing conferences and book festivals. She believes in both the limitations and possibilities of healing. Writing is the most powerful tool she has found for doing what is necessary to mend.

Psychology Today blog, She Bets Her Life:  http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/she-bets-her-life

Announcing: Terese Svoboda’s New Novel

teresesvoboda_0

In Issue 5, we had the privilege of interviewing Terese Svoboda, and in Issue 7 we were honored to publish her short story “Madonna in the Terminal.” Svoboda has written more than 11 books of poetry, fiction, translations, and short stories, among them Cannibal, Trailer Girl and Other Stories, Tin God, and Black Glasses Like Clark Kent, and she is the recipient of awards such as the Iowa Prize and the O. Henry Award. Now, she has added another item to her list of accomplishments, the novel Bohemian Girl.

Praise for Bohemian Girl:

“Harriet’s observations of the world and her small place in it are insightful and often touching. And Svoboda (Trailer Girl and Other Stories) often displays a poet’s touch with language and imagery.”—Publishers Weekly

“Creating a western world as raucous and unpredictable as any imagined by Larry McMurtry, and teeming with characters as tragically heroic as those created by Willa Cather, Svoboda offers a vividly distinctive tale of the American frontier.”—Carol Haggas, Booklist starred review

For more information on Bohemian Girl: http://www.nebraskapress.unl.edu/product/Bohemian-Girl,674858.aspx

Congratulations, Terese. We look forward to hearing more great things about you and your work.

 

Intern Highlight: Samantha Allen

Art Editor Samantha Allen is a senior at ASU majoring in English with a concentration in fiction writing. After graduating in May, Samantha plans to teach English abroad before pursuing an MFA in fiction. She is currently working on her first novel and a series of short stories and hopes to begin publishing her work next year. Samantha believes that art in all its forms is an essential expression of what it means to be human, and she is happy to have the chance to promote art in a digital world. This is her first semester with Superstition Review.

Click here to watch Samantha read an excerpt from one of her stories.

 

 

Launch of Issue 7: Interviews

Superstition Review Issue 7 has launched and to celebrate we will be featuring blog posts about our artists and authors. Today we will be highlighting a few of the interviews featured in Issue 7.

A native of Detroit, John Grogan spent more than 20 years as an investigative reporter and columnist, most recently at the Philadelphia Inquirer. He also is the former editor of Rodale’s Organic Gardening magazine. His first book, Marley & Me, was a #1 New York Times bestseller with six million copies in print in more than 30 languages. It was made into a movie starring Owen Wilson and Jennifer Aniston. Grogan’s second book, The Longest Trip Home, also a national bestseller, explores the author’s loving but complicated relationship with his devout Irish Catholic parents. John lives with his wife and three children in eastern Pennsylvania. Read the interview featured in issue 7. John Grogan’s Website

Sloane Crosley is the author of The New York Times bestsellers I Was Told There’d Be Cake, which was a finalist for The Thurber Prize, and How Did You Get This Number. She is also a weekly columnist for The Independent in the UK and editor of The Best American Travel Essays 2011. She lives in Manhattan, where she is a regular contributor to GQThe New York Times, National Public Radio and the inexplicably vast and varied collection of granolas in her kitchen cabinet. Read the interview from issue 7. Sloane Crosley’s Website

Jenifer Rae Vernon’s first book of poetry Rock Candy was published by West End Press in 2009. Rock Candy received the “Tillie Olsen Award” as the best book of creative writing that insightfully represents working class life and culture from the Working Class Studies Association, SUNY, Stony Brook, in June of 2010. In August of 2009, Garrison Keillor selected a poem from the collection, “Blackberry Pie” to perform on Writer’s Almanac. And in October of 2010, Keillor selected a second poem from the book, “Ketchican Wrestling” for Writer’s Almanac. Currently, Vernon lives in Juneau, Alaska with her husband and teaches Communication at the University of Alaska Southeast. Read the interview featured in issue 7 here.

Diana Joseph is the author of the short story collection Happy or Otherwise (Carnegie Mellon UP 2003) and I’m Sorry You Feel That Way: The Astonishing But True Story of a Daughter, Sister, Slut, Wife, Mother and Friend to Man and Dog (Putnam 2009.) Her work has appeared in Threepenny ReviewWillow Springs, Marie ClaireCountry Living and Best Sex Writing 2009. She teaches in the MFA program at Minnesota State University in Mankato, Minnesota. Read the interview in issue 7. Diana Joseph’s Website

Beverly Lowry was born in Memphis, grew up in Greenville, Mississippi and now lives in Austin where she is working on a book about another case of multiple murder, the unsolved killings of four young girls in an I Can’t Believe It’s Yogurt shop, in Austin in 1991. The recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, an NEA fellowship and the Richard Wright Award for Literary Excellence, she is the author of six novels and three books of nonfiction, she teaches at George Mason University and is currently Writer-in-Residence at Goucher College in Baltimore. Read the interview in issue 7. Beverly Lowry’s Website

 

The full magazine with featured art and artists from issue 7 can be found here. Check back tomorrow to read about the nonfiction authors featured in issue 7.

Meet the Interns: Kim Jakubowski

Advertising Coordinator Kim Jakubowski is an English (Creative Writing) major completing her senior year at ASU. Her short story, “Heartland,” recently won the Randel and Susan McCraw Helms Homecoming Writing Contest, and is being published in an upcoming issue of Marooned. Aside from her internship with Superstition Review, Kim currently works as an ESL tutor. After graduation, she hopes to travel and continue writing, and eventually pursue an MFA or a career in publishing. This is her first semester with Superstition Review.

1. What is your position with Superstition Review and what are your responsibilities?

I am working with Superstition Review as an Advertising Coordinator. Some of my responsibilities include writing press releases, updating SR‘s press kit, coordinating advertisements with other literary magazines, and promoting our reading series, submissions period, and issue launch.

2. Why did you decide to get involved with Superstition Review ?

I read one of my own stories for Superstition Review during my first semester at ASU, and I talked to an intern there who said that working with the magazine was a fantastic experience. I’m interested in gaining some insight into the publishing process, as I am considering a future career in the publishing industry.

3. How do you like to spend your free time?

I spend a good portion of my free time reading and writing. I also love listening to music, playing guitar, and spending time with my friends and family.

4. What other position(s) for Superstition Review would you like to try out?

My passion is for reading and writing fiction, so I would love to try the position of fiction editor.

5. Describe one of your favorite literary works.

My favorites change periodically, but if I had to pick one work to bring to that proverbial deserted island, it would be The Collected Stories of Amy Hempel. This is one work that I never tire of; it’s witty and original, and her use of language is incredibly incisive and beautiful. The binding on my book is already falling apart.

6. What are you currently reading?

I can never seem to read just one book at a time, so at the moment I’m reading a collection of short stories by Alice Monroe, Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray, as well as the Best American Short Stories 2010.

7. Creatively, what are you currently working on?

I’m currently working on a couple of short stories, as well as a non-fiction piece.

8. What inspires you?

I’m inspired by people with an enthusiasm for life, as well as people who have the strength and drive to pursue what they love.

9. What are you most proud of?

My writing and academic accomplishments have always been a source of pride for me. I’m proud of my determination to achieve my goals.

10. Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

I would love to be a published writer, or involved in the publishing field as an editor. I also hope to travel extensively, maybe live in a foreign country. My plans are a bit vague at the moment, but I hope that I will be able follow my passions and end up doing something that I enjoy.

Lit-ercise: Two Writing Exercises

Give yourself a word count.

1. Give yourself a word count, the smaller the better. Steve Moss, editor of The New York Times and flash fiction pioneer, recommends a word count of 55 words. No more and no less. Try to tell a complete story, a story with a protagonist, a conflict and a resolution. The idea is that once you start to get close to that word limit you’ll find that there are certain parts of your story that you can tell in a more efficient way, or even some parts that you don’t need.  As you write more and more of these you’ll find that you’re writing will become tighter and cleaner.

2. Pull out some stories from your favorite authors. Read their opening paragraphs and then try and imitate their style in an opening paragraph of your own. Authors tend to spend a lot of time on their opening paragraphs and as a result it is usually some of their best work. The goal here is to step a bit out of your style comfort zone, and see what it’s like to write like a published author. You may find that your own writing becomes stronger and more engaging.

 

Meet the Interns: Stacie Fraser

Interview Editor Stacie Fraser is in her senior year at Arizona State University. She is studying English Literature and will be graduating in May. All of the years spent attending classes at ASU she has also been working for Sparky’s Stadium Shop located on the Tempe Campus. After graduating, she hopes to apply her skills learned throughout college and her time at Superstition Review, to a career in editing and publishing. This is her first semester working with Superstition Review.

1. What is your position with Superstition Review and what are your responsibilities?

I am an Interview Editor at Superstition Review. I am responsible for selecting authors to interview for our page. My position has me selecting authors, emailing them and asking them if they would be willing to be interviewed for our magazine. I then create a list of interview questions specifically for that author.

2. Why did you decide to get involved with Superstition Review?

I applied to Superstition Review because it is a great learning opportunity. It also allows me to become more familiar with lesser known authors.

3. How do you like to spend your free time?

I love spending my free time outside in Arizona’s beautiful sunshine, running and swimming. I also love going to the movies with friends and reading novels.

4. What other position(s) for Superstition Review would you like to try out?

I would also like to experience everything that the fiction section editor’s have to do at Superstition Review. I am very interested in editing novels for a career.

5. Describe one of your favorite literary works.

I am a huge fan of Salman Rushdie. His novel The Moor’s Last Sigh is one of his best works. Moraes Zogoiby, also called Moor, is the narrator who ages twice as fast as normal humans. The novel is full of magical realism, hybridity and allegory.

6. What are you currently reading?

I am currently reading Blood on the Forge, by William Attaway, for a Protest Literature course. When school is not in session, I enjoy reading books by Janet Evanovich. Her works are much lighter and easier to read than most of the novels recommended for my college courses. Even though I am an English Literature major, I have not read some great classics. Once I graduate I plan to start at the top of my list and read many famous authors like Emily Dickens and J. D. Salinger.

7. Creatively, what are you currently working on?

I am currently toying with the idea of writing fiction short stories. In the past I have written poetry, but all of my writing has been for personal accomplishments, not publication, and will most likely continue that way for a while longer.

8. What inspires you?

My personal drive for success and happiness is my biggest inspiration. I want to be able to handle whatever life throws at me.

9. What are you most proud of?

I am most proud of my college education. Graduation in May will be the best achievement I have accomplished so far. I cannot wait to continue with life and hope to be on a successful career path.

10. Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

In 10 years I hope to be working in San Francisco, or some west coast city, for a publishing company as an editor.

Meet the Interns: Britney Gulbrandsen

Interview editor Britney Gulbrandsen is entering into her senior year at Arizona State University. She will graduate in December with a degree in Literature, Writing, and Film. This is her second semester working with Superstition Review, and she hopes her experience here will help her accomplish her dreams and goals of becoming a published writer. She is currently undergoing her last sweep of revisions on a set of short stories, poems, and an essay that she will hopefully send in to some literary magazines later this semester.

1. What is your position with Superstition Review and what are your responsibilities?

My position with Superstition Review is Interview Editor. My responsibilities with this position are to choose writers I would like to interview, e-mail them and ask if they would agree to be interviewed, research them and read various works they have written, formulate well-informed interview questions, and correspond with the interviewees.

2. Why did you decide to get involved with Superstition Review?

In the spring of 2010, I interned with Superstition Review for the first time as a Nonfiction Editor because I took a class with Patricia Murphy, the managing editor, the semester before. I really enjoyed working for the literary magazine, so I decided to try it out again.

3. How do you like to spend your free time?

I spend most of my free time playing with my new baby son. He was born on September 6, 2010 and keeps me very busy. I also enjoy cuddling up with my husband for movie date night, reading, writing, scrapbooking, crafting, skimming magazines, shopping, and game nights with friends and family.

4. What other position(s) for Superstition Review would you like to try out?

I would love to try out the fiction editor position or the blogger position for Superstition Review.

5. Describe one of your favorite literary works.

This is the same answer I gave the last time I interned with Superstition Review, but one of my favorite literary works is the short essay “Why I Write” by Joan Didion. It really resonates with me. I find myself re-reading it over and over again. It gets me ready to write something new. It makes me want to conquer my writing fears, increase my confidence, and send something in to get published. I don’t know why this is, I simply know that I love it.

6. What are you currently reading?

Honestly, I’m currently only reading books that are required for my classes. I, sadly, don’t have much time for reading other than that right now. But I did finish Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert this past weekend.

7. Creatively, what are you currently working on?

I’m currently beginning my first memoir. Also, I have various short stories, poems, and an essay that I am finishing final revisions on so I can send them in to literary magazines and contests.

8. What inspires you?

Reading blogs. Different blogs inspire me for different reasons and in different ways. Some inspire me to write more or help me write better. Some inspire me to be a better wife, mother, friend, and person. Other blogs inspire me to get creative with crafts, décor for my house, gifts, and date night with my husband. And some simply inspire me to reach my full potential.

9. What are you most proud of?

I’m most proud of the fact that I didn’t decide to drop out of school when I had my baby. I’m determined to push through it, 15 credit hours at a time, until I graduate in December.

10. Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

In 10 years, I see myself as a published writer with three more kids, a few finished books, and hopefully my masters degree.