Issue 31 Editor Statements

Art Editor, Addie Ascherl

Being a part of Issue 31 has proven to be an extremely rewarding experience. Each artist represented is so different in their work but so alike in the quality of their gifts. Exposure to their pieces and conversations with them helped me grow both academically and inspired me artistically. 

Abhishek Tuiwala’s skillful sculptures of various body parts create a compelling commentary on the human condition. Through use of muted watercolors and graphite, Beth Shook emphasizes the focal points of the images: the birds and rabbits that exist in front of the subtle backdrops. Harry Leed’s use of photoshop and AI over his personal photography create a surreal tone, challenging the viewer’s eye. Janelle Rainer’s vibrant pieces focus on the human body, often emphasizing femininity and its inherent power. L.I. Henley curates complex atmospheres through the usage of mixed media; her pieces reveal more of themselves the more time the viewer spends with them. We are so honored to feature artist Kevin Sloan on our cover, with his beautiful piece “An Accidental Tourist.” His paintings transcend boundaries, diving into the abstract while also touching on topics that affect our everyday world, including environmentalism as well as political and social themes. Rose B. Simpson’s sculptures command the viewer to reflect on the many modern societal traumas we may have faced in order to fully heal ourselves. Through solely using wood as his primary material, Tom Eckert’s sculptures create a sense of illusion to the viewer. His recurring theme of white cloths further emphasize this, through adding an air of mystery and magic.  

This opportunity has been an eye-opening and fulfilling one, and I couldn’t have done it without Trish as a mentor. Her vision for Superstition Review and complete dedication to her work motivated me throughout this process. I’d like to thank these artists, whose work has inspired and challenged me to continue creating. Thank you to all of the interns and trainees for all your hard work as well; this issue would not be the same without the combined efforts of all of you!

Fiction Editor Katrina Marty

It has been such an honor to learn from Superstition Review and to apply the skills they’ve taught me to work on this issue. I believe fiction is the creative freedom to advocate for voices who are not always heard, and I think this issue illuminates many of these voices. With issue 31 we’ve chosen six pieces that represent many backgrounds and experiences that discuss the human condition in their own ways.

With the device of a double, Abby Feden shows the intricacy of balancing familial and romantic relationships for someone in the queer community. With the use of humor and the unique style of an email, Austin Blaze writes a riveting response on the importance of human connection. Cynthia Gordon Kaye manipulates language and the use of pronouns as she tells a story of a mother’s acceptance of her transgender child. Gavin Boyter demonstrates what it means to take accountability in a short piece that bounces between the chaos of the city and the tranquility of a seaside town. Through the form of security questions, Nikki Barnhart’s answers search for what it really means to be safe. Rachel Attias’ attention to detail forms a tragic story of a single, older woman who finds her own peace. 

I’m honored to have been able to select these stories with Kristin and Morgan and I want to thank them for sharing their honest opinions and thoughts during our editorial meetings. I am incredibly thankful for Bailey Wood for being the absolute best mentor and for having such a positive impact with my experience with S[r]. I would like to give a huge thank you to Trish for giving me this incredible opportunity that I’ll never forget. And lastly, I would like to personally thank all six authors for sharing these stories and giving a voice to communities who are not always heard.

Fiction Editor Morgan Horner

Working on this issue of Superstition Review has been such a huge honor and incredibly life changing. I have always believed fiction to be the best method to represent diverse perspectives and experiences. Using amazing detail and innovative elements, all six of the stories being published in issue 31 do this very thing in a way that feels new and unique. 

Taking place in the magical setting of a county fair, Abby Feden shows us the complexity of queer and familial relationships through the intelligent device of a double. Austin Blaze uses the modern format of an email to report a hilariously factual argument on a project that has the potential to save hundreds of lives. In a short piece, Cynthia Gordon Kaye tells the story of a transgender child coming out to her mother through the innovative use of pronouns and light-hearted Jeopardy questions. Gavin Boyter uses beautiful descriptions of a city and a seaside town to tell the refreshing story of one man taking responsibility for his actions. Told in second-person point of view, Nikki Barnhart takes the security questions we have all had to answer once in our lives and transforms them into a riveting story of defining oneself. In a story full of astonishing detail, Rachel Attias shares the story of a single, older woman whose life gets completely muddled after the death of her best friend.  

I wanted to personally thank all six authors for writing these beautiful stories that will always have a special place in my heart. I would also like to thank Kristin and Katrina for sharing their helpful thoughts and ideas during our editorial meetings. I am incredibly thankful for Trish who has given me this amazing opportunity and has made this whole experience something I will never forget. 

Interview Editor, Rich Duhamell

It has been an immeasurable delight in collecting the stories and voices for Issue 31’s interview section. In a time in which queerness is under attack across the media, there is no greater validation than finding a voice that resembles or echoes one’s own experiences, and this issue’s authors and their works range the highs and lows in both fiction and reality. It is a complete honor to highlight these writers for not only their incredible craft, but also for their visible presence in the literary world while any book that even suggests our existence is yanked from shelves. Every word is resistance, and these were some of the best words I’ve ever read.

Aurora Mattia travels us through the ages in The Fifth Wound to paint a love immutable and a language unmatched that takes the line between the real and the fantastic and uses it as a jump rope. Greg Marshall finds glee and bawdy honesty amidst the chaos of one thing after another in his profoundly funny memoir Leg, goading us into laughter at every opportunity. Jae Nichelle calls upon a Gawd for the community to restore what was once rejected in God Themselves and shows us healing through offered palms and well-loved pages. Harry Nicholas refuses to budge at intersections in A Trans Man Walks Into a Gay Bar and offers the language to understand and celebrate through scenes of pride and acceptance.

I’d like to extend my greatest appreciation to our contributors, as well as Trish Murphy and Sarah Viren for being tremendous support throughout the role.

Nonfiction Editor Olivia Grasso

I have had a wonderful experience as the nonfiction editor for Issue 31 of Superstition Review. There is something so intimate about reading personal essays and feeling connected to a writer even when their experiences are so different from your own. I greatly admire the vulnerability and transparency that these essayists embrace in their work, and it has been a pleasure to be offered a momentary window into their lives.

The nonfiction section presents a spectrum of experience and asks the reader to spend some time delving into each lyrical sentence and rich image. There is insight to be found in the slow unpacking of each piece, and something new to uncover upon every return to the page. Andrew Bertaina imparts a vision of fatherhood filled with poetic musings and images that carefully balance the tenderness and unease of raising a child amidst uncertainty. Catherine Kyle examines a complex feeling that cannot be understood by mere words, but rather pictorial analogies that rise into consciousness alongside the preoccupations of everyday life. Claire Polders shares a unique experience of facing the pandemic lockdown while abroad, and the freedoms and restrictions that come from bonding with strangers. Maggie Boyd Hare weaves color and memory into a triptych that explores the intricacies of being raised in a religious home. Stanley Stocker recounts a deeply painful history of sexual abuse and subverts reader expectations through a direct address that places them in the position of the abuser. Vanessa Lopez Aziz takes the reader through moments of revelation as a hidden family history is uncovered through oral storytelling, and is complicated by the experience of immigration and feeling disconnected from one’s own heritage.

I’m very grateful to have been part of this issue, and I want to thank Trish, Becky, and my fellow interns for the conversations we had together, and for the incredible insight I gained from you all. Trish, thank you so much for your endless generosity and kindness. You have helped me time and again, and I greatly appreciate your mentorship. Becky, your honesty and wisdom as a reader and thinker are something I admire very much. Thank you for introducing me to new perspectives. Finally, a big thank you to the six talented authors who shared these essays and reminded me why I love and value reading the work of others.

Poetry Editor, Andres Gutierrez Vasquez

I am privileged to have been a part of Superstition Review’s team for Issue 31. Poetry will always fascinate me with its ability to depict people’s unique life experiences. I am proud that each poem chosen for this issue exceeded in evoking robust emotions, which taught me more of the evident passion in poetry. 

We published 12 unique poets that depicted their distinctive life perspectives. Adam Day’s two poems delve into the abuse of authority by the police. Ashley Kunsa focuses on her personal experience with all aspects of love while also revealing a troubled marriage. Chiagoziem Confidence Jideofor's poem “An Interpretation of Index” reveals the troubling problem of polluting the earth and the vitalness  of water. Daniel Biegelson has a long poem with intriguing use of repetition and complex syntax in the beginning; then, he provides a switch-up with dialogue and short sentences to keep the reader engaged. Flower Conroy’s poems both investigate the women's intimate body from a naturalistic and societal perspective. Heather Truett retrospectively writes about her experience growing up and ties it back to her mental struggle in a captivating form. Jane Zwart writes to depict a distraught speaker struggling to find a motive for action in a world filled with unstoppable adverse outcomes. John A. Nieves’s poem vividly reflects a heartfelt and realistic situation of living with a loved one diagnosed with a terminal illness. K.G. Strayer also delves into the world of caring for someone ill, illustrating a vulnerable and surreal moment in their life. Kinsale Drake's poem “Wax Cylinder” is intricately written to follow a well-thought-out storyline. Sherre Vernon takes the reader on an adventure of the speaker's thoughts with short sentences that leave it up to the reader to interpret. And Yael Valencia Aldana impressively utilizes the significance of beauty and scars and connects them to the face of the person they love. Each poet has considerably been through distinctive experiences to divulge to the world life's harsh and attractive realities. 

I am forever thankful for this opportunity because not only did I learn more about the role of a section editor, but I’ve also gained confidence in my ability to review literary work and my writing skills. Thank you, Trish and Mark Haunschild, for guiding me through this new process and providing help when needed.