Dear Readers,

Today’s the day! Click to explore the art, poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction of our Spring/Summer issue. We hope you enjoy what we’ve put together, and we welcome feedback, both in the form below or via Facebook.

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Hamlet 1 hamlet's ghost

Gracious madam, I that do bring the news made not the match.

-Shakespeare (Henry IV, part 2)

To haunt does not mean to be present, and it is necessary to introduce haunting into the very construction of the concept.


By Alyssa Noelle Rasmussen, Web Editor

Deconstruction is seen as a destructive theory by many scholars. They conceptualize Derrida’s thought as a labyrinth that requests that you play about while trapped within it; an activity as unnerving as Pip surely was when Miss Havisham commanded him to play in her creepy, rotting, sitting room. For deconstructionists, meaning laboriously makes itself and then scuttles off  (or undergoes metamorphosis) still more quickly; for those in pursuit of knowledge that can be grasped or leaned upon, deconstruction appears a fickle, mercurial, approach. So why apply it to Hamlet? In Hamlet alone a number of deconstructionist themes including ‘the Just’, uncanniness, the spectre, the repetition compulsion, and the nom du pere, can be explored. Here we are most concerned with how the ghostly (non)entity symbolizes and how that symbol plays itself out both in Hamlet’s drive and his ability to fulfill the ghost’s commandment. As Laurent Dubreuil points out in her reading of Helen Cixuous’s novel Le jour ou je n’etais pas la (The Day I Wasn’t There), “spectrality is in no way a detail. Insofar as spectrality is supposed to escape from, even ruin, ontology, it is related to the whole meaning of deconstruction (111).” For deconstructionists, Hamlet’s ghost is significant in and of itself, perhaps more significant than the news it delivers. Due to this, Hamlet’s march beyond Scene 1, after his initial meeting with the ghost, must be read through a ghost-tainted lens: his actions are clouded and effected by his consorting with, and commitment to, an entity whose very form destroys ontology. Unlike the messenger in Shakespeare’s Henry IV, who has the task of telling Cleopatra of Anthony’s betrayal and, upon hearing her threat to his physical health, states in defense, “I that do bring the news made not the match,” (giving birth to the phrase ‘don’t shoot the messenger’) a deconstructive reading approaches the messenger expectantly: the ghostly shape calls attention to the bearer rather than the news, although the news has its store of Derridean implications as well.  The ‘effects’ produced by engaging with this non-being are expounded as Hamlet accedes to its commandment; Hamlet’s post-visitation behavior and thought are to be read as a result of this promise; this pledge to remember that which is present-Father/ghost/”thing” and absent-nothing at once.

For deconstructionists there is no pure present. Every presence is sullied by the presence of absence within and about it. Absence is what presence is not, but also that which from which it emerges. As presence’s opposite, absence plays a crucial role in presence’s establishment. The phenomenon of sea-foam illustrates this present/absent binary well; sea foam is no longer algal bloom; sea water; or lignins – it surfaces, becomes present, as part of and as other than that which participates in its creation, bearing traces of all that it is not while demonstrating what it is. It calls upon these absences in the very act of presenting itself as distinct from them. Hamlet’s ghost epitomizes this presence/absence paradox well but goes beyond it into the nature of being and non-being; escaping from or jeopardizing the concept of being, the “spectre is a “Thing” (Shakespeare’s term) and yet not a thing, not a substance. It hovers uncertainly between material embodiment and disembodiment. It inhabits a space of pure virtuality, and what in that space is swallowed up is the ontological ground of Being itself (Prendergast, 45).”  There but not there, visible but not material, the spectre epitomizes a presence and an absence that has been disturbed and dislodged. The commandment “remember me,” imparted to Hamlet from this spectral space, is laden with, and is harbinger for, Hamlet’s greater ontological ambiguity.

HAMLET: O all you host of heaven! O earth! What else?

And shall I couple hell? O fie, hold, hold, my heart,

And you, my sinows, grow not instant old,

But bear me [stiffly] up. Remember thee!

Ay, thou poor ghost, whiles memory holds a seat

In this distracted globe. Remember thee!

Yea, from the table of my memory

I’ll wipe away all trivial fond records,

All saws of books, all forms, all pressures past

That youth and observation copied there,

And thy commandment all alone shall live

Within the book and volume of my brain,

Unmix’d with baser matter. Yes, by heaven!

O most pernicious woman!

O villain, villain, smiling, damned villain!

My tables – meet it is I set it down

That one may smile, and smile, and be a villain!

At least I am sure it may be so in Denmark.  [He writes.]

So, uncle, there you are. Now to my word.

It is “Adieu, adieu! Remember me.”

I have sworn’t.

Act 1, Scene 5, 92-112

Readers of Hamlet would probably concur that the play’s namesake, though delayed, does his best to fulfill the ghost’s commandment. In the passage above Hamlet’s aspiration to “wipe away all trivial fond records,/ All saws of books,/ all forms,/ all pressures past” in order to live “thy commandment alone” can be read not only as an emotional response asserting familial devotion but by wishing to do so in memory of thee – the ghost, he also shows an adherence to adopt and enact, in reiterated remembrance of him/it, a ghostly present. Hamlet’s inclination to erase all but this phantasmal commandment would result in a single-car train of thought, free from the workings of Derrida’s concept of ‘supplementation at the origin’ by which:

“each presence requires supplementation by something else to which it refers or relates and from which it differs…what is present in the mind has a kind of ghost effect, a flickering of passing moments that are differentially constituted by their relations and their interconnectness, they have no full, substantial presence (Rivkin and Ryan, 258).”

And if supplementation is blocked or diminished by a reduction of referents? What does living ghostly logic entail – would it function as a ‘presence‘ vacuum? What is to become of anyone if they wipe clean the slate and have naught else to relate but the memory of that which is neither present nor absent – a ghost whose ‘flickering’ gestures at, and then demolishes, ontology? Eliminating all else in order to enact or live by “thy commandment alone,” that of remembering, Hamlet’s promise to the ghost marks a shift in his relationship to presence and to being.

Though he doesn’t differentiate the pre-phantasmal Hamlet from the post-encounter one, Christopher Prendergast, drawing from Nietzsche’s comment that Hamlet’s nature “is not – as in the standard view – that thinks too much, but that he thinks too well” claims that “the sheer lucidity of his thinking corrodes the ground of all possible action in a world dominated by an instrumental logic of means and ends (44, 44-5).” Prendergast, examining the deconstructionist affinities of ontology and justice, weighs the assemblage, or dispersal, of them in Derrida’s concept of spectrality. The ghost, as is sketched in Derrida’s Spectres of Marx, hovers between presence and absence – it’s “radical indeterminancy” fuels and combusts that which would be present, leaving us with a ‘being’ that is always only evanescent. On the other hand, Hamlet’s perspicacious insight that “the time is out of joint” is bound to justice, which, referencing a past wrong harkens a resolution that can only exist in some future where “the historical, the political, and the ontological will come together in a final moment of pure present (46).” Prendergast argues that the inability to agree upon either the location or definition of the original fault inhibits such a moment from ever manifesting and perpetuates, in its wake, a never-ending cycle of violence. For Derrida, to engage with the concept of enacting justice is to participate in the making of “history as an endless revenge-tragedy” (47). The spectre and the commandment he presses upon Hamlet work cogently upon Hamlet’s mind; in his commitment to remember he pledges to seek justice while also aware of the disjointedness and futility of such a commitment. Hamlet’s ghost-encounter hones his already discerning thought; he sees himself as another player in a history of those that have been requested to seek revenge in order to locate a much sought after but ever-absconding justice.

Hamlet's ghost by William Blake

If Hamlet were to succeed in “erasing all previous forms” enabling the ghost’s commandment to inhabit his mind “unmix’d with baser matter” how would it render him? A justice-seeking avenger burdened by the inconsequentiality of his project? Emptying himself of all previous experience, all “flickers”, all “interconnectedness”, would Hamlet come to live a presence, like that of the ghost, which acts as catalyst in the differentiation between presence and absence but is, itself, marked as not quite either? Does his ensuing madness (“I penchance hereafter shall think meet/ to put an antic disposition on”) answer to this? Would his apparition uncannily enjoin or harken others as a contagion would (think: his mother’s, Polonius’ and Ophelia’s reports and accounts) toward a similar deconstruction of ontology? And if Hamlet does succeed in his aspiration to occupy the space that swallows ontology, what referents can be found not-there? Hamlet’s intimate relation and concession with such a foreboding shape asks us to comb through the signification of being haunted thus. Hamlet’s ghost beckons us to explore the space/non-space that it inhabits and leaves behind; to discern its form and its function we call upon a store of oppositions that it has already destroyed in its passage.

Rivkin, Julie and Michael Ryan. Introduction: Introductory Deconstruction in Literary Theory: An Anthology  ed. Julie Rivkin and Michael Ryan. Oxford: Blackwell Publishing, 1998. 257-262.

Culler, Jonathon. On Deconstruction: Theory and Criticism After Structuralism, 25th Anniversary Edition. New York: Cornell University Press, 2007.  

Shakespeare, William. Hamlet. Ed. Susanne L. Wofford. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 1994. Print.

-Murfin, Ross C. What is Deconstruction? 283-296.

-Garber, Marjorie. Hamlet: Giving up the Ghost. 296-331

Dubreuil, Laurent. “The Presences of Deconstruction.” New Literary History 37 (2006): 107-117.

Prendergast, Christopher. “Derrida’s Hamlet.” University of Wisconsin Press 34.1.106 (2005): 44-47.


Superstition Review: Issue 11 Launch Party to be held April 25th at Mesa Arts Center

by: Rikki Lux

Superstition Review, the online literary magazine atArizona State University, is pleased to announce the launch of their 11th issue on Thursday, April 25th. A launch party to celebrate the occasion will take place at the Mesa Arts Center on Thursday, April 25th from 6 to 8pm.

The launch party will feature presentations by s[r]’s section editors discussing their favorite art, fiction, interviews, nonfiction, and poetry featured in issue 11, as well as a reading by issue 11 contributor Cynthia Hogue. Guests will have free access to the museum and to the exhibition “CreatureManNature” by Arizona artists Monica Aissa Martinez, Carolyn Lavendar, and Mary Shindell, who are past contributors to Superstition Review.

The event will be catered by local vegan and vegetarian restaurant The Pomegranate Café, whose owner Cassie Tolman was the Poetry Editor for Issue 1 of Superstition Review.  The menu includes:

RAW! Tacos Vivos

RAW! Arizona Rolls

RAW! Rainbow Wraps

Local Hummus Plate with a variety of fresh veggies and dips (baby carrots, snap peas, radishes, golden flax crackers, macadamia basil pesto, cilantro jalapeno hummus, sunflower ranch…)

Seasonal Bruschetta

Seasonal Fruit Tray with berries, melons & edible flowers

Assorted Pastry Tray

Beverages: Hibiscus Cooler & Seasonal Lemonade or Pomegranate Green Iced Tea

Since Superstition Review’s founding by ASU professor Patricia C. Murphy in 2008, s[r] has gained national attention, featuring work from over 500 contributors including: Aaron Michael Morales, Anthony Doerr, Barbara Hamby, Barbara Kingsolver, Beckian Fritz Goldberg, Billy Collins, Bob Hicok, Chase Twichell, Cynthia Hogue, Dan Chaon, Daniel Orozco, Dara Wier, David Baker, David Hamilton, David St. John, Deborah Bogen, Denise Duhamel, Dick Allen, Dinty W. Moore, Eric Weiner, Erin McGraw, Ewing Campbell, Floyd Skloot, Frances Lefkewiz, H. Lee Barnes, and many more. All content is free to read and is available at

Superstition Review hopes to see a large turnout at the launch party. All members of the literary and arts community are encouraged to attend.

Read about Superstition Review on their website and visit their blog, Facebook, and Twitter accounts for more upcoming news about Issue 11’s launch.


As a singer/songwriter, Vivian Garcia is a vibrant presence in the eclectic expat music community found in Madrid, Spain. Born to Cuban immigrants and raised in Chicago, she has performed in Chicago, Florida, and Madrid. She has performed with a number of individuals and groups, including Los Rumberos and Big Night Out in Florida, as well as guitarist Ricardo Abiel and trumpet player Domenichi Morris in Chicago. Vivian regularly plays shows and shares billings in Madrid with Peter Muller, Rafael Alves, Jaime Echagüe, and Mary-Elaine Jenkins.

We invite you to read Penumbra’s interview with Vivian on the intersections between her music, community, and words:

As a graduate student studying Spanish literature, do you feel literature has influenced your development as a musician? 

 VG: Well, it is rather curious that I would end up writing my FIRST album ever of songs written in English while studying Spanish literature in Madrid. I will say that while studying the works of Neruda last year, specifically Residencia en la Tierra, I came to discover that he wrote most longingly about home and things that were familiar to him in letters to friends while living abroad. It makes sense that one would seek out that which is familiar internally while surrounded by all that is foreign. So in a round about way of answering that question, studying the autobiographical aspect of that writer at the very least gave me some insight as to why these songs were emerging in English.

In a more general sense, reading ANY literature from any source is bound to affect the ways in which one thinks and processes information. Seeing as Spanish is a second language for me learned in adulthood, the lack of fluidity that I possess for expressing myself in that language has in some ways forced me to think of words and phrasings at their most basic, easily accessible and understandable levels. In some ways, this is reflected in the simplicity of the lyrics that define the album Cold Bed. Or at least that is what I tell myself, so as not to feel so bad for not being a great storyteller…yet.

Victor Hugo once said, “Music expresses that which cannot be put into words and cannot remain silent.” Do you feel that music transcends the limitations of words and language? Conversely, does literature trespass where music cannot?

VG: Being still completely reticent to call myself a songwriter or a musician (insecurities abound), I will readily admit that I am more drawn to melody than verse when it comes to music. Where I can sit for hours and joyfully deconstruct poetry and prose, I am more than content to just “feel” music and bask in the sounds of things rather than the meanings. This is not to say I don’t appreciate and respect amazing songwriting, it is just that where I am currently in my life, I find myself drawn to good sound rather than great verse in music. I can’t believe I am putting this in print! I use music not just as an escape, but also as a conduit to yes, reaching a place that words sometimes cannot reach or do not do justice.

Conversely, there are literary works that move me to no end when they are read at just the right time in my life. Once, during my first year here I had to excuse myself from class because I was pretty much bawling. The professor asked me what was wrong. It was nothing more than the circumstances that the character of Yerma in García Lorca’s play of the same title had to live through moved me to tears. I am a sensitive crybaby (haha), but really, that play moved me in a way that perhaps a song could not—so yes, I also believe that literature has the ability to connect us to universal experiences in a more direct way than perhaps a song or melody.

As a musician who splits her time performing in Chicago as well as Madrid, how do you feel about the music scene in Madrid in comparison with the States? 

VG: Hmm…super subjective experience. I have been a gigging musician for about 14 years now and a lot of that time I have spent performing in Chicago and Florida. In the states, I play primarily covers of songs in Spanish, namely in the style of the Spanish rumba flamenca. I work in restaurants and clubs, and play for private events.

My experience in Spain has been that for the two plus years that I have lived here, but I have been much more experimental in my approach to music since I have NOT been using it as primary source of income. Playing at open mics and jam sessions allows me to discover a voice I did not know I had or one I had buried away long ago.

It is only in recent months that I have had to think about melding my original music written in English that has blues/jazz/folk undertones with the rumba flamenca covers I have always played. I feel like my original work has more room to flourish in Madrid than in Chicago, but possibly because there are fewer people singing those styles and the same holds true for the support I get for playing Spanish music in the states. I guess it is a niche market approach. As I am moving back home in a few months, it will be interesting to see what kind support I will get for my original music. I did have a CD release party there in January and it was well received, but I still tend to get people asking me to play the Spanish covers.

What makes a thriving artistic community and what do you consider unique about Madrid in that sense?

VG: Support is the obvious first word that comes to mind. I feel it is really important to attend the shows of others and invite people to share the stage whenever possible. A forum of expression such as a stage is a gift that, when shared, becomes something greater then a show. It becomes a shared experience where more than just a few people are creating an environment. For the most part, having met many of the musicians I currently work with at an open mic hosted in an Irish Pub called Triskel, I am part of a group of musicians who are native English speakers from the states and other parts of Europe, so many of the people in the community of musicians I am a part of have that in common. But there are SO many scenes here to be a part of and I have only begun to scratch the surface. Because of the open mics and jam sessions, I have been introduced to a world of Spanish and international musicians who range from classically-trained to self-taught who play huge venues one day, but also busk in the metro as well and who are more than willing to contribute their gifts and talents to help others with their shows.

There is so much talent here in Madrid, but not always enough venues to provide forums for expression of such talent. I hope to see more doors opening for locals and expats alike in this scene.

In December 2012, Vivian wrote and produced the album titled, Cold Bed, which can be purchased via the following site:

If you are in the Madrid area, check out one of Vivian’s upcoming shows, including Penumbra’s event at The Toast Cafe at 7:30pm on Sunday, March 10.

Other upcoming shows:

Saturday, March 2, The Toast Cafe, 10:30 pm.

Friday, March 8, The Irish Rover Madrid for Intl. Women’s Day, 8pm.

Sunday, April 14, Café La Palma (with Peter Muller).


Last week, Jane Goodall spoke at the National Geographic store and cafe on Gran Via in Madrid. She began by speaking about her mother’s constant encouragement to follow her dreams – despite the fact that moving to Africa to write about animals was an unusual one, especially for a woman. She also recalled reading Tarzan when she was a young girl and thinking that “Tarzan married the wrong Jane.” 

Widely known for discovering chimpanzees’ use of tools, Jane Goodall also shared many lesser- known life experiences. Among them was her waitressing record of carrying 13 plates of fish (her stint as a waitress she remembers as “a really difficult job”). She also recounted meeting the queen, an event she prepared for by practicing the full state courtesy with a cup of coffee on her head. 

Goodall vividly recalled how the smells, as well as the climate, changed as the boat approached Africa. There, she met and worked with Louis Leakey, a British archaeologist and naturalist who would remain a stout supporter of her research throughout his life. She desired to observe chimpanzees in Tanzania, which at that time was part of the British Colonial Empire. The British authorities, concerned about her fate, would only allow her to enter Tanzania if she arrived with a companion. Her ever-encouraging mother agreed to spend the first four of Jane’s many months in Tanzania.  

“Camping today is fancy,” Goodall told us. Today’s tents have window zips with screens. When she was first staying in Tanzania, she had to leave a whole side of her tent open if she wanted fresh air – open to bugs, spiders, and snakes. 

Goodall suffered a period of depression when she started in Tanzania. The chimpanzees ran away anytime she came near. Again it was her mother who, boosting her morale in the afternoons, helped her to keep her dream fresh. Because of this encouragement, each day she woke up with renewed energy. Unfortunately, her mother departed a couple days before Goodall, who was now alone in Tanzania, made her first major breakthrough: the chimpanzees were using long pieces of grass as tools. The ability to fashion and use tools was, at the time that Goodall made this discovery, one of the factors that defined humanity; our facility with tools marked the fissure between human and animal worlds. Jane’s discovery gave many scientists the impetus to explore the division (which they saw a threateningly narrowed) further while a few others sought to draw the bridge and investigate the similitude of humans to primates. 

Jane Goodall went to Cambridge to pursue a doctorate at the suggestion of Louis Leakey. She told us that at Cambridge she was informed, by all professors but one, that her approach was simply not scientific enough. While she had given names to the chimps she observed – they told her she ought to have given them numbers; though she had come to know the distinctive personalities of the Gombe chimps – she was being told that they didn’t have personalities at all. The only “professor” that listened, and agreed to her method of research, went by the name of Rusty. It turned out that Rusty wore a collar and slept at the foot of her bed.  

When she returned to Tanzania, David Grey Beard stopped viewing her as a predator and began to see her as a companion. One day, while she was following him she lost sight of him in some thick underbrush. Thinking that she had completely lost track of him she headed back, passing, too, the place where she had first spotted him. David Grey Beard was sitting there, as though he was waiting for her – waiting for her to follow him. She offered him fruit by holding it out on the palm of her hand. He took the fruit, placed it on the forest floor, and then took her hand and squeezed it. 

Goodall was once asked if chimps have a religion. In reply Goodall proposed that they may have an animistic one. In her observations she saw that as the chimps approached a certain waterfall they would slacken their pace, and their short hair would bristle. The sense of reverence or awe that sometimes overcomes us when we encounter incredible beauty in the natural world isn’t the only sensation that we share with chimpanzees. Goodall reminded us that chimpanzees have a “dark side like us,” they are territorial and sometimes engage in what Goodall called “a primitive war.” Despite these failings, they, too, “show love, compassion, and altruism. There isn’t a sharp line that separates us from the animals,” she concludes. 

Towards the end of her talk, Goodall turned to the topic of how we treat sentient animals. She showed concern especially about the farming industry, medical testing, cruelty with pets, and she didn’t shy away from mentioning her discomfort with Spain’s bullfighting tradition. Only a few eyes were dry by the time she questioned, “Why, with so much intellect, more than other creatures, are we destroying the planet?”  She quoted Gandhi, “There is enough for everyone, but not for the greedy.”

“When I think of how we have destroyed this planet since I was a small child I feel shame.” Goodall is concerned about the future of our planet. She gave the example of a captain driving a ship who notices danger ahead, but notices it too late. If we wait too long, the inertia of the ship will overpower us, the crew. Though current environmental issues paint a bleak picture, Goodall believes there are at least four reasons for hope:

 One: there are young people in every part of the world “with shining eyes” that are excited to tell her about what they are doing to change the world. 

Two: the human brain. “We sent a man to the moon” she exclaims, “next time you look up and see a moon in the sky, look at it and say to yourself ‘we put a man up there’!” If we can do that, we can do anything we put our brains to. 

Three: the resilience of nature. 

And four: the indomitable human spirit will fight when faced with difficulty.  

Goodall illustrated the strength of this last point with the story of Rick and Jojo. Rick, a bystander, put his life at risk to save Jojo, a chimp who – fleeing angry macho chimps, and unfamiliar with the dangers of water – was drowning. When asked what made him jump the zoo barrier and dive into the water despite the dangers that kept even the zookeepers at a safe distance, Rick said it was due to a look he had seen in Jojo’s eyes. They reflected bafflement, terror, and pain at the same time that they posed the question “will nobody help me?” Goodall ended by saying that there are “more and more people in the world seeing that look, and they are jumping in to help.” 

Micro Theater



The history of micro fiction has generally established itself outside the mold of traditional writing styles. Writer and literary critic David Lagmanovich describes, in the introduction to La otra Mirada: antología del microrrelato hispánico, that micro-stories are “unusual flowers that have begun to appear in literary greenhouses” and characterizes them principally based on two traits. First, he draws attention to their length, or rather their brevity, and second, he holds that they cultivate the primacy of imagination, invention and above all else, fiction for our amusement. These pieces of flash fiction have found a home in the fast paced life of modernity that is often times ruled by the frenetic and accelerated quest for anything but extension and redundancy. This is what, according to Lagmanovich, flash fiction offers us, the social, the aesthetic and the psychological all combined simultaneous in a single, short and entertaining story.

Writers such as Anton Chekhov, Franz Kafka, H.P. Lovecraft, Ernest Hemingway, Julio Cortázar, and Fredric Brown have all been credited with contributing the development of the flash fiction writing style that has become increasingly popular within Hispanic literature. Yet, because of its dynamic and versatile nature, flash fiction has stepped outside of prose and found its way into the world of theater.  Micro theater, flash theater, sudden theater shares with the micro-story its brevity and fictionality, but takes as its model the theatrical mold.  Spanish writer and dramatist, Javier Tomeo, demonstrates the ludic and innovative technique of micro theatre with this piece taken from “Más por menos: Antología de microrrelatos hispánicos actuales.”


Mujer tejiendo junto a la ventana. Inesperadamente entra en la habitación un NIÑO, sosteniendo algo en el hueco de la mano.

NIÑO. Madre, mira que te traigo.

MADRE. ¿Qué me traes?

NIÑO. Una luz.

MADRE. ¿Dónde estaba?

NIÑO. En la charca debajo de la luna.

MADRE. ¿Te vio alguien como la cogías?

NIÑO. No, nadie.

MADRE. Anda, préndemela pues en el pelo.

Pausa. El NIÑO se alza sobre la punta de los pies y prende la luz en el cabello de la MADRE. Por un instante, la MADRE deja de tejer y sonríe.

This new way of approaching reality and, in this case, theater, is not solely limited to the written word.  For those living in Madrid, the opportunity to experience these types of “verbal photographs” in person has become a reality. Located in the center of Madrid just off of Gran Via at number 9, Calle Loreto y Chicote, Microteatro por dinero offers the chance to see up to five different shows each lasting around 15 minutes. Showings take place from Wednesday to Sunday and this month the program consists of the following: “Por Idiota”, “El gol en propia puerta”, “Las dos hermanas”, “Mentiras piadosas”, and “Gangs of Pasapoga.” Experience this refreshing burgeoning genre for yourself and let us know what you think!

Micro Theater


Philosopher Alan Watts claims “the menu is not the meal.” Yet anyone who has sat at a restaurant reading over a well written menu will have noticed the salivating effect words can have. They are Pavlov’s bell, and while they do sometimes lack the capacity to explain the ineffable, their ability to approximate sensorial experiences indicates not only their necessity but their influence. Words are powerful and the closer they get to communicating the veracity of experience the more influential they become. So, for those who love food as much as they love words, we invite you to take a look Jorge Argueta’s poem “La granada.” For more on the topic, Frank Bruni’s “Menus as Literature” provides a great perspective on understanding the literary character of menus. ¡Buen provecho!

La Granada by Jorge Argueta

Ríete reina
Enana y gorda
Ríete reina
Vestida a veces
de verde
o de morado
Ríete reina
fresca y roja
ríete conmigo
ríete de todo el mundo
Déjame escuchar
en mis labios
y en mi lengua
tu sonrisa

Ayyy qué rico morderte
Pero más rico
Es sentir que me muerdes

Diner’s Journal

For the Website

A river beneath the cherry trees
blooms innocence during the rain;

the Spanish cook you secretly obsess over
barbecues sweet love into the ground.

Nothing drives you. Ambition
has a shelf-life of 21 years.

Standing above a river in the valley’s
pooled palm-she holds you to get a look

before turning it over
to the sun’s rigid scrutiny. Holy Mother,

you could have lowered the bar
just a bit for the rest of us.

–excerpt from Extremadura (originally published in Right Hand Pointing)

Lee Anne Sittler’s new chapbook is inspired by her time living in Spain, in a region which is impoverished, and is famous for its physical beauty. Sittler writes about the place, the culture, and the people she met there. Her language is elegant without being flowery; touching without being sentimental. How adventure, she writes, always leads away, and never to, and my home becomes a center around which I close in my sleep. Sittler’s poems about beautiful places and interesting people are a rare pleasure.
-Dale Wisely, Editor, Right Hand Pointing

Extremadura risks an almost-too openness in a search for something almost akin to itself, almost kin, something almost-a-too vastness to speak to. Lingua. Madre. Country. Landscape. They all beckon with a sun-stunned thirst for belonging in Lee Anne Sittler’s poems. We think we’ve seen this all before, searching for oneself elsewhere, where one never really is, where one can never be. Lorca’s Poet in New York. A clarity of pleasure in an impossible task. Sittler’s poems depart from the task of pushing that eye-rock up the pile of sand, they stand flat-footed and open-toned, and bend the search into a music that speaks to a lost certainty, a remnant of which, a splinter of sound, these poems seem to whisper, is all we have left of the possible.
—Ed Pavlić, 2012, author of Winners Have Yet to be Announced: A Song for Donny Hathaway, Labors Lost Left Unfinished, and But Here Are Small Clear Refractions

Lee Anne Sittler is originally from Athens and Atlanta, Georgia, though she moved to Spain in August 2009. Her first year in Spain, she worked as an ESL Assistant in a very rural area of Extremadura, while from 2010-2012 she got an appointment in Madrid. Lee received her MFA from The University of Georgia, and she is currently finishing her MA in English at Saint Louis University-Madrid Campus.

Visit to pre-order Extremadura online. Click on “Bookstore” or “Preorder Forthcoming Titles.”

Back Cover


Names have always held special importance; they label, designate, reveal, and often can tie into one’s identity. In this NPR interview, author Jhumpa Lahiri discusses the significance of names as related to a multicultural identity. Lahiri’s works, including a short story collection titled Interpreter of Maladies and a novel The Namesake, examine the role of names in first-generation characters coming from India to America, and second-generation characters living in America. She deftly handles subjects like identity, immigration, family, generational differences, and gender with beautifully clear prose. In this interview, she relates how her own parents described having identities based in both India and America: “They always feel like they have a foot in two separate boats on the water, and each of the boats is floating and wanting to go in its own direction, and you’re sort of stuck in between, not knowing which to go into.”

NPR interview with the author

Jhumpa Lahiri’s newest story collection, Unaccustomed Earth, is now available for purchase.



“It’s so curious: one can resist tears and ‘behave’ very well in the hardest hours of grief. But then someone makes you a friendly sign behind a window, or one notices that a flower that was in bud only yesterday has suddenly blossomed, or a letter slips from a drawer… and everything collapses. ”

Colette was a performer, poet, and novelist. She was born on this day in rural France in 1873. She shocked her public by marrying three times, by having an affair with her stepson, and by displaying—on and off the stage—her bisexually. Colette was a lover of cats (often playing the part of one in theatre), the trapeze (she had one installed in her home, stating it was her preferred form of exercise), and paperweights.

Colette is often credited with the ‘discovery’ of Audrey Hepburn, who she chose Hepburn to play the part of Gigi, the protagonist of the Broadway show based on her novel.

Truman Capote’s short story “The White Rose” tells the story of his visit to Colette. Drawn to her paperweight collection, he attempted to resist her gift of one: “[W]hen I protested that I couldn’t accept as a present something she so clearly adored, [she replied], ‘My dear, really there is no point in giving a gift unless one also treasures it oneself.” As a result of this visit Capote became a paperweight collector.

To read more about Capote’s story visit: University Bookstore

To read her play “Barks and Purrs” featuring Toby, a French bull-dog, and Kiki-the-Demure, a Maltese cat, visit the Gutenberg Project here: Project Gutenberg