Issue 32 Editor Statements

Art, Charlise Bar-Shai

Working on the 32nd issue of Superstition Review was a fantastic learning experience for me. I’ve always loved art, but I’ve never really known where to look to find the best contemporary artists. The research that I did this semester has revealed so many avenues for discovering new creative work. I also refined my ability to critique art. I’ve gotten better at articulating why I like or dislike a piece, which I think has been really helpful in improving my own artwork.

Daniela Kovacic’s stunning paintings capture the beauty of the human form and portray powerful emotion through her choice of color and her subject’s expressions. I particularly love her piece “Daniella III'' for its interesting portrayal of movement. I also love the color choice of featuring a vibrant blue skirt to contrast from the muted tones featured throughout the rest of the piece. David Sheskin’s folk art landscapes are highly creative, colorful and complex. I have personally been inspired by the density of Sheskin’s designs, and have been trying to incorporate that inspiration into my own illustrations. Mirka Walter’s designs are memorable and create a fun, surrealist tone. My favorite piece of Walter’s is “Drowning Liquid” for its ability to convey somber emotion through simplicity. The limited color palette is moody and gorgeous; the disembodied arms create a sense of unease in the viewer. Olivia Mae Pendergast’s striking portraits and figures create an intimate and warm tone. Pendergast’s exaggerated approach to traditional proportions and anatomy mixed with her warm, painterly, textured style results in beautifully unique pieces like “Spirit Weavers.” Rachele Krivichi’s incredibly impressive collages demonstrate her deep passion for nature. Her vibrant color choices emphasize the beauty of the environment in every season, region, and time of day. I especially love her whole cabin series for its cozy vibes.

I am so thankful for this opportunity to work on issue 32. First and foremost, I want to thank Trish for being a wonderful and kind mentor. I also want to thank John John, my fellow art section editor. I also want to thank all of my fellow interns for making this issue of Superstition Review the best that it could possibly be. I have loved my time working with S[r], and I’m excited to work on future issues alongside my talented peers. 

Art, John O’Connor

I am honored to have the opportunity to be a part of Superstition Review and it has been a wonderful experience. Getting a chance to work with and discuss art with these artists has been very inspiring and has enriched my understanding of the creative process. 

We are very honored to have Daniela Kovacic be featured as our cover artist with her lovely piece, “Ani.” Daniela skillfully uses the imagery of women and children to convey a nuanced exploration of self-identity. David Sheskin creates masterful collages containing fascinating subject matter that will grab your attention for hours. With finesse, Mirka Walter encourages a dialogue between the viewers with her captivating compositions. Olivia Pendergast delivers the audience her real-time emotions and experiences through muted colors and elegant brush strokes. Rachele Krivichi’s work stuns with beautiful depictions of outdoor scenes that breathe life onto the canvas. She really gives a balance between humanity and the environment. 

This has been an incredibly rewarding and fulfilling experience, one that I am extremely grateful for. I would like to thank Trish, first and foremost, for the opportunity and the support she has provided throughout the whole process. I would also like to thank my co-art editor, Charlise, for all the work she has put into this issue. Lastly, I want to thank all the talented artists that submitted their work, who reminded me to always keep creating.

Fiction, Antonio Folcarelli

Being a fiction editor for Superstition Review was an immensely rewarding experience both for the professional skills I’ve developed and the time I’ve spent with our amazing literary community. The submissions we chose seemed impossible to pare down, all featuring unique voices and authentic human experiences, and I am proud to present these six stories.

Abby Manzella’s work employs deft glimpses of youth to evoke the awe and anxiety of childhood innocence. Adam Straus’s story employs unswerving absurdist humor to explore both American patriotism and the awkwardness of dating. Jane Berg’s story examines the nostalgia and connections that facilitate a shift from cynical to hopeful. Lee Martin’s story plays with germaphobia and heroism in the one and only state of Arizona. Michelle Ross and Kim Magowan’s story satirizes positive reinforcement in a corporate setting which, in turn, examines reciprocated vulnerability between partners. Pamela Painter’s story illustrates an often forgotten lesson, that each of us has a capacity for empathy, despite how some people express it. 

Finally, I’d like to thank the authors who have given us the privilege to feature their work. Fiction is neither easy nor simple to evaluate for content, form, and how it may contribute to our community. Eden, Kristin, and Trish each provided invaluable insight throughout the editorial process that both validated and expanded my perspective of the craft.

Fiction, Eden Smith

The one hundred and nine days I have spent as Fiction Editor for Issue 32 have been a delight. Beautiful sentences caught me off guard; I laughed out loud, and connected deeply to people wholly different from myself. I grew professionally and critically, expanding my ability to analyze a large volume of stories and articulate my thoughts in discussion with the fiction team. The work also reminded me why I love stories. They are the most affective way to tell the truth, and that is what these authors have done. In working for Superstition Review and finishing Issue 32, I get to put these stories into the hands of others—anyone who will read them. I get to experience the magic of showing someone something I love. 

Abby Manzella’s “Water” captures the at once focused and distractible experience of being a child, both its endearments and dangers.“What You Can Do” by Adam Straus tells a surreal narrative driven by satiric humor from the first line but undergirded by a longing for connection. Meanwhile, stuck watching women "making themselves into little cakes,” at yet another wedding, the characters of Jane Berg’s “The Wedding Dancers” explore the variety in human character, and the reality of going unnoticed. Lee Martin’s “Arizona” shows love and marriage in all their messiness and wrestles with the question of what it means to start living. Two authors, Michelle Ross and Kim Magowan, combine humor and frustration to write “Common Mistakes,” a story about workplace drama and how criticism and observation creep all too surreptitiously into relationships. Finally, Pamela Painter’s “Giving Away Your Heart” spotlights how individuals’ compassion can sometimes be hidden by difficult circumstances. 

Unending thanks to Patricia Murphy, Kristin Lacroix and Antonio Folcarelli, my fiction editing team. You made it so fun and easy to discuss these stories and find things we loved in common in each. And to our contributors, you are the whole reason we are here. Thanks for entrusting us with your stories, they were a joy to read.

Interviews, Carolyn Combs

Working on Issue 32 has been quite an enlightening experience for me. I’ve had the great pleasure of discussing new work with authors and gaining more insight into each writer and their process. I’m incredibly honored to have spoken to five wonderful contributors.

Dan Beachy-Quick and Bruce Bond have explored the ethical, spiritual, and therapeutic journey of the self in their poetry collection Therapon. I was truly impressed with the care and attention that was taken to explore ethics through the lens of Levinas, whilst also noting how the collaborative process led to a variety of additions that elevate the collection. Crystal Hana Kim unearths the dark reality of Korean reformatory institutions in The Stone Home, exploring the connections between those imprisoned, and what it means to be a survivor in a long-term sense. Mandy-Suzanne Wong gives an entirely new meaning to materiality in The Box, centering around a small, white, woven box, entirely powerless in its movements as a protagonist; yet it is through this powerlessness that it finds its inertia, propelled onwards by the paradox of its own existence, tapping into the human propensity for curiosity. In Tennison S. Black’s poetry collection Survival Strategies, a wonderful narrative unfolds of the struggle that lies in reckoning with childhood, wrapped in the love story that is Black’s acceptance of the Sonoran Desert and Yuma as their home. 

Thanks to Trish Murphy for all her help this semester and to all the wonderful authors who contributed to Issue 32. I will also give a special shout out to my mentee Fae Valentine, who is joining as the Nonfiction Editor next semester, and to Madelynn Paz and Phoebe Nguyen who will be Issue 33’s Interview Editors. I have faith you will all do wonderful!

Interviews, Phoebe George

I would first like to thank all of the contributors to the interview section for Issue 32. Being given the opportunity to read their work with such care has been an unforgettable experience—one that will remain close to my heart long after being a student. It has been an honor to speak with such immensely talented authors and to gain insight into the extraordinary worlds they have created. 

Chas Halpern’s novel, The Physics of Relationships, invites us into the world of a mother and widow. Humorous, endearing, and poignant, the main character effortlessly captivates, making it impossible not to love them. In her essay collection, The Last Year, Jill Talbot gifts her audience an intimate glimpse into motherhood and the relationship she shares with her daughter. With each essay, Talbot unfolds a narrative of touching sincerity that resonates deeply. Rachel Stone’s novel, The Blue Iris, features a diverse cast of characters that creates a tapestry of connections that goes beyond the pages, leaving readers with a sense of kinship and warmth, as if they, too, are a part of this literary family. A Sweet Sting of Salt by Rose Sutherland is adorned with beautiful settings and vivid imagery. Sutherland paints a picture so enchanting that readers are transported to a realm where the lines between reality and fantasy blur in the most magical way. 

I want to express my heartfelt gratitude to Trish Murphy for her invaluable guidance and for the SR team’s support in this role. Working alongside people I deeply admire has been nothing short of a remarkable experience. I look forward to you all sharing in the joy and excitement I feel about Issue 32.

Nonfiction, Bryan Lurito

Nonfiction manages to combine the beautiful prose of literary art with the captivating stories of the real world. Working for Superstition Review offers a special position of being able to read tales that originate from every corner of the globe, each with their own unique histories and cultures. I am excited to share a selection of these stories with you all.

Deborah Harada explores both her writing process and modern Hawaiian culture in “Manifesting the Rat.” Joe Baumann’s “Don’t Go Alone” depicts a strained relationship between father and son, and how despite everything, a simple hobby allows them to find connection. Sara Siddiqui Chansakrkar’s “Morning at Ammi’s House” showcases a familial relationship conflicted by differing perspectives on how to react when facing prejudice. Susan Sugai recounts the life of her grandfather as both an immigrant and researcher of the natural world in “Jiichan’s Red Bats.”

Even assembling a single section of a literary magazine is an intensive process that I would not be able to undertake on my own. I would therefore like to extend my thanks to my co-editor Greg, as well as faculty advisors Trish and Becky for helping along this process, and providing their own input to ensure Superstition Review can host many different perspectives rather than becoming an echo chamber of ideas.

Nonfiction, Greg Richardson

It’s been an honor to play a part in the creation of issue 32 of the Superstition Review. I’ve always been enamored by the flexibility and uniqueness of essays and creative non-fiction. It’s amazing to see how so many different backgrounds and cultures can be captured and contextualized within the same language. Every issue of Superstition Review contains a multitude of perspectives and this issue is no different.

Deborah Harada captured how Hawaiian culture affects her writing process in “Manifesting the Rat.” In “Don’t Go Alone,” Joe Baumann talks about how videogame culture helped bridge gaps in his and his conservative father’s relationships, and how important it is to not face the difficult tasks of adulthood alone. In “Morning at Ammi’s House,” Sara Siddiqui Chansarkar illuminates the generational gap between her and her mother and how they approach differences in cultural acceptance within a Muslim state. Meanwhile, Susan Sugai discusses her grandfather’s research into red bats and intersects that with how their Japanese culture affected her upbringing during and after World War I. 

It was an absolute privilege to review the work we received this semester and I want to give a big thanks to the writers who submitted so many good essays. Thanks also to Trish, Becky, and my co-editor and co-conspirator Bryan for teaching me so much about the editing process within a literary magazine. It’s been a pleasure working with all of you and I’m ecstatic to see the results of all of our meetings, discussions, and hard work culminating into this collection.

Poetry, Ashley Goodwin

It has been such an honor reading the poetry submissions for Issue 32. Poems have an intimacy that other writing forms don't. The power of arranging words to convey a feeling, an image, or even through a pause allows for an engaging experience. It's not only an emotional journey for the writer, but for the reader as well. 

When I think about a central theme all our contributors shared, I’m drawn to vulnerability. Adrian Q. Quintanar paints beautiful descriptions of nature and realism. Allison Field Bell’s use of line breaks and formatting emphasizes the tragedy at hand. Alison Wilkin explores the beautiful and uncomfortable parts of relationships. Andrew Alexander Mobbs reveals how easy it is to label patients in, “The Weight of the Damned.” Charles Jensen’s “Birthday Quake” is set in California during an earthquake and examines how the faults opening in the ground relate to the narrator’s experiences. Christopher Shipman’s leaping poem, “Under the Sun '' explores the irony of knowing about a murder but not following a victim’s aftermath. Kathleen Hellen’s topic of global warming is powerful in “Clouds,Writing their Erasure.” Patricia Clark emphasizes nature’s beauty while overlooking its destruction. Sara Henning’s dark tone in “Immortelles' ' reflects a loss and memories. William Fargason dives into violence and freedom in “When My Father Crushed His Hand.” Weston Morrow exhibits vivid imagery of loved ones. 

It has been so much fun working alongside Trish, Mark, and Daniel to get the poetry section ready for publication. This would not have been possible without the effort of our contributors, so I wanted to thank them for allowing us into their inner world. I wanted to give a special thank you to everyone on the Superstition Review team, interns, and trainees for their hard work and effort. So, here’s to Issue 32—it’s going to be a memorable one.  

Poetry, Daniel Gernant

Working as one of the section editors for poetry was a phenomenal learning experience. I have always tried to write imagery that draws the reader into the setting and characters. Some of the poems that I read for this issue gave me plenty of fresh ideas for constructing these analogies, similes, metaphors, and more. The connection between the diction and the deeper meaning was something that I would love to employ in my own stories and poems. 

Adrian Quintanar uses imagery to emulate the five senses in a fantastic way. Allison Field Bell employs very unique structural techniques. The imagery of both of Allison Wilkins’s poems drew my attention as it was beautiful in its harshness. One of the most hard hitting poems from this issue has to be “The Weight of the Damned” by Andrew Alexander Mobbs, with its heavy topic of mental health institutions and their malpractices. The repeated use of the number four in Charles Jensen’s “Birthday Quake” kept it bouncing around in my head for some time. The way that the narrator of Christopher Shipman’s poem “Under the Sun” talks about the murder of their grandmother was outstanding. The structure of clouds, writing their erasure is what makes it stand out, but it is the environmental message of Kathleen Hellen’s poem that solidified its place in this issue. Patricia Clark’s “Char: Above the City” also had a very unique structure and beautiful descriptions. Sara Henning’s poem “Immortelles” included heartbreaking descriptions. In “The Art of Letting Go” by Weston Morrow, the narrator describes their loved ones with language that resembles the way that an artist might paint someone. Lastly, William Fargason’s poem “When My Father Crushed His Hand” provides a narrator desperate to be rid of their father, and because it lacks both punctuation and capitalization, it feels as though we are peeking into the narrator’s stream of consciousness.

I want to thank Trish for giving me the opportunity to be a section editor this semester and for being patient as I grew into the position. I would also like to thank Ashley for being my partner this semester. Finally, I would like to thank my parents for supporting me as I finish my educational journey and try to make my way into the editorial workplace.