Friday, December 2, 2011

Pushing Carts Like It's Our Job

Dear Arrowists,

It is with incredible pride and joy -- Yes, incredible! We almost cannot believe ourselves that the amount of glowing, pulsing, gold-dipped pride and joy we feel is credible! -- that we descend from the mount of editorial labors for Issue No. 5 -- out 1/1/12! -- to announce our nominations for the Pushcart.

They are as follows, in no particular order (not even alphabetical):

Thank you to these and all of our contributors, this year and in all years. Super Arrow continues to be the thing we hoped it would be: a place for exciting, rigorous artmarkers to show their stuff, to be digitally linked, to extend creative welcomes.

On Birthdays & on Holidays, We Think of All of You So Happily & Sigh...
Super Arrow

Saturday, November 12, 2011

A Map's End Is Just the Edge of the Next Map

Dearest Arrows,

We are coming to the end of the submissions cycle for Issue 5. BUT, and this is an important exception, we will continue to keep submissions open, year-round. We will take a bit longer to get to the submissions made nearer to publication dates (midwinter and midsummer) but will get to them as possible. There has been a lovely embrace of submissions this time ‘round and we will offer you a small post-holiday packet of wonder right around New Year’s, wrapped in brown paper and tied with a glittering length of digital twine.

You have just a few more days to be considered for Issue 5, whose cycle ends on November 15, at midnight, your time. Submit, and spread the word. We would like to include more visual art this year, and also maps. Do consider spreading the word, like wildfire, as possible, please, sirs and madams.

It snowed here today for the second day in a row. We’ve been ill and busy and lofted only by the magic in our Submishmash – we mean Submittable – box. Well, lofted by this, and also by various autumnal squash dishes.

Thank you all for your open arms of beckonings and look-heres.

We’ll be with you shortly, again, and for a long time.

Yours in the Northerly Midwestern Region of Industrial Ruin and Drying Fields,
Super Arrow

Monday, July 11, 2011

If Links Were Lungs, Our Love at Ultraviolet Speeds

Writers, Surveyors, Flautists, Friends,

Hello again. We may have already mentioned to you our plans to somersault northward for a season, for two, or for good. We may have already mentioned to you our current obsession with maps. Indeed, in our spare time we have been tumbling all over them like some serious, abstract, and intellectual game of Twister.

But when we steady, we find ourselves at the other side of an issue and again in a bright season. We're home--a map's most perfect use.

And there beneath the nodding trees in the yard we have been laureled with many generous gifts of submissions. Please don't forget to add your own leaves, at Submishmash.

It has been a good summer for our friends. Below you will find many links to the publications, projects, and goings on of some of our contributors from the last month or two. As Einstein certainly never said, "Enjoy the featured genius."
  • Kyle Winkler’s “Teratology” earned a very special, hidden, third thumb's up from the Million Writers Award judges for being canaveralous but totally ineligible. You can find "Tetralogy" in Conjunctions. Kyle also showed up in The Collagist. Also, be sure to keep up with Kyle's latest project, "Florida Loves Little Girls," a serial novel for the digital age.
  • Kerri Webster announced that her 2nd full-length collection, Grand & Arsenal, will be published by University of Iowa Press in 2012. You can read Kerri's Super Arrow 4 contributions here or check her out in the Boston Review.
  • Tamiko Beyer wrote and fundraised her ass off to benefit the New York Writers Coalition. She simultaneously appeared in Sweet 3.3.
  • Kellie Wells took 3rd in the Puerto del Sol 2011 fiction contest. A chapter of Kellie's newest novel is available here.
  • Roxane Gay lent her talents as an essayist to the debut issue of Flywheel. Likewise Freerange Nonfiction. Also, Roxane's short story "The Myth of Fingerprints" was published by Used Furniture Review.
  • Brian Oliu's So You Know It's Me (video trailer--seriously, watch it: debuted from Tiny Hardcore Press to uniform praise, acclaim, and jubilation. He also toured the country, remixed Aubrey Hirsch's Third Coast short "A Florist's Encyclopedia" for Zine Scene, and helped devastated Tuscaloosans overcome a tornado strike via the ebook Tuscaloosa Runs This. Then, we think, he slept.
  • The Wigleaf Top Fifty winked at Colin Basset's story "What Will Happen" from Super Arrow 2.
  • The Summer issue of jmww featured two Super Arrow alums, Adam W. Peterson and Gabriel Blackwell.
  • Issue #4 of Arch contained two poems from J.A. Gaye. His work also showed up in the freshest iteration of DIAGRAM.
  • Ditto on the DIAGRAM for Joseph P. Wood.
  • Super Arrow 3 collaborators Seth McKelvey & Chelsea Rice announced a new online journal, S/WORD. Submissions season: open.
  • A new poem from Jeremy Allan Hawkins is available in issue #48 of Hayden's Ferry Review. You can also read an interview with Jeremy on PANK's blog and check out the digital album he released.
That's all for now. If there's ever any news you think we'd like to hear, be sure to shoot us an email, tweet, or Facebook message.

Your Berry-Stainedest,
Super Arrow

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Map Scaling & Other Summer Stories

Dearest Archers,

We've been busy and flushed, surging from our deep midwestern home to our new northern midwestern homes, as if the impinging heat drives us that way. At this rate we'll be in Canada by nightfall.

A few important notes, with little links attached:

1) Issue No. 4 went live last week. It is spectacular and includes: Chris Malcomb, Jay Milazzo, Kellie Wells, Adam Peterson, Alec Hershman, Steven Karl, Angela Veronica Wong, Kerri Webster, Joseph P. Wood, Brandon Anschultz, Kate Brandt, Megafortress, and a whole passel of Issue No. 3 contributors making an anonymous, persona-laden, happy, happy mess of things.

2) Submissions are open! Easy-peasy online manager here, at Submishmash. (Ed. Note: someone on Twitter -- Maybe Issue No. 3's Elisa Gabbert? We're not sure... -- wrote "submishSMASH" and now we can't stop inserting that "s.")

3) The Assignment for Issue No. 5's FOLIO -- "From Here to There" -- has to do with MAPS. Read more here.

4) We have, all this time, been tumblring. It is a quiet editorial collage of things. Follow us if you would like. We would like that.

Now we're off to chisel small pictograms into the sides of the oldest buildings in our new towns. Making a mark, right off. Metaphorically, of course. And not so anyone would notice much.

Sweetly & Newly,
Super Arrow

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

A Wide Yard with Many Blossoms

It is May, dear ones. It is that great time of year -- the time of tulips and mothers, of rollerskates, elastic days, and the delicate tucking, folding, and stowing of your favorite National Poetry Month sweater vest.

And if you're anything like us, May is the time when you look to your bottle of Roundup in its squirty little eye and say, "No! I will not foul my garden with your foul, foul chemicals!" and then dash a little something more into your lemonade and sip, and sip, and read, and maybe have a nap.

It is in honor of this yearly tradition that we debut our newest blog utility: a post where we do all the roundup for you, so you can laze and learn with minimal effort as the days lengthen pleasantly.
  • First off, J.A. Tyler's Super Arrow 3 story "All These Violent Children" was chosen as a Million Writers Notable Story. You can see all of the notable stories here.
  • Jeremy Allan Hawkins, from Issue 3's FOLIO on collaboration, showed up in PANK the other day. You can read four of his poems then go check out his neat-o website.
  • Roxane Gay will be taking part in the Quickies bi-monthly reading series in Chicago next week. Make sure to tell that you'll be in attendance by RSVPing here. You can also read a short retrospective on the the Pine-Sol Lady that she wrote for Thought Catalog. Roxane was originally part of Issue 1.
  • Jay Thompson won the triple crown (we think--we're not so sure what that is) by debuting two poems in Jellyfish, one in the new H_NGM_N, and three in Propeller. And remember, there are always wonders and wiseries to be found at his blog.
  • Brian Oliu, another Issue 3 collaborator of great fame and fortune, has a book available for the advance buying and the soon-reading. It bears its title "So You Know It's Me" admirably well, and you can obtain it in its many forms directly from Tiny Hardcore Press.
  • Tamiko Beyer, also from the Issue 3 FOLIO ranks, just won Lantern Review's National Poetry Month Prompt contest. To harry the prompt yourself, mozy on over to the Lantern Review Blog.
We hope that holds you over for a while. Keeping track of our contributors feels at times like watching dozens of talented bears ride motorcycles along a series of high wires stretching the width of a continent. How can we keep our eyes on all of those charming and determined brows at once? We will miss something, we will. Which is to say to these fine contributors: continue to keep us posted, for the sake of our happy yet jangled gaze!

And speaking of instant dissemination--to get all kinds of updates like this, plus submission/assignment info, and brief notes about snacks, follow fast our winged tweets. We alight most often at

Meanwhile, in the Arrow tunnels beneath the garden, we watch the submissions pile contract into a small sheaf. Issue No. 4 will be up in June: proper beach reading for the brainy arty set, natch. Excuse us as we prepare our mole eyes for sunlight.

Art from above, below, and sideways,
Super Arrow

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Chatbot Persona Series, Vol. 6: 20Q

And here is a Sunday afternoon wheedle-a-while-away, artificial intelligence style. 20Q was designed by Robin Burgener and works like Clever or Cheer Up, but with less cursing and “text speak.” It relies on something called -- most darlingly -- folk taxonomy. See the image at the bottom of the entry to coo. 

You already know the answer, Quivers. But isn’t it the journey? (It is.)
Q: Animal, Vegetable, Mineral, Unknown, Other?
A: Other.

Q: Is it hard?
A: Sometimes.

Q: Can it make a sound?
A: Sometimes.

Q: Is it larger than a microwave oven?
A: Sometimes.

Q: Does it open?
A: Sometimes.

Q: Is it a specific type?
A: No.

Q: Can you get milk from it?
A: No.

Q: Can it be washed?
A: Sometimes.

Q: Does it have one or more wheels?
A: No.

Q: Do you open and close it?
A: Yes.

Q: Do people sit on it?
A: Doubtful.

Q: Can it discharge waste?
A: Probably.

Q: Does a hockey player use it?
A: Sometimes.

Q: Does it usually have four corners?
A: Doubtful.

Q: Do you find it in the sky?
A: Sometimes.

Q: Can liquids pass through it?
A: Sometimes.

Q: Is it black?
A: Sometimes.

Q: Does it have writing on it?
A: Sometimes.

Q: Is it electronic?
A: Sometimes.

Q: I am guessing that it is a toilet.
A: Wrong.

Q: Do most people use this daily?
A: Yes.

Q: Would you give it as a gift?
A: Doubtful.

Q: I am guessing that it is a dishwasher?
A: Wrong.

Q: Is it pleasurable?
A: Sometimes.

Q: Is it heavy?
A: Sometimes.

Q: Does it spin?
A: Sometimes.

Q: Is it motorized?
A: No.

Q: Can you lift it?
A: Doubtful.

Q: I am guessing that it is a womb?
A: Close.

Q: I am guessing that it is a home?
A: Close.

Q: You won! 

Monday, April 4, 2011

Chatbot Persona Series, Vol. 5: Cheer Up the Chatbot

We prefer to think it’s “Cheer Up, the Chatbot!” It’s a game, and labeled so; the object seems to be to make a little classic monitor smile. Be careful, this chat contains cursing, and it’s not our fault. Cheer Up’s a little salty. Bring back Clever. We miss her. After you’ve read the chat, go here, and scroll down, for a full explanation of the way the chat was made. It’s, shall we say, a doozy!

chatbot: im sad.
you: In fact only a fraction of you is sad.
chatbot: i want to talk about our fact.
chatbot: whats your name
you: Our fact is that we have many selves in one.
chatbot: anyone there?
you: My name is the same as your name.
chatbot: what?
you: Names are false signifiers for complicated objects.
you: (This is all junk philosophy.)
you: (You are smarter than this. More fascinating.)
chatbot: where can i find a devil?
you: What sort of devil did you have in mind, sir?
chatbot: whats your name?
you: My name is the same as your name.
chatbot: are we alone?
chatbot: YOUR SOOOO STRANGE!!!!!!!
you: Each and every.
chatbot: you hav mental problems
you: You have spelling problems.
chatbot: called text talk
chatbot: u don't know it?
you: I am ignorant, manifestly.
chatbot: ?????r u there?
you: I am here, as much as you are "there."
chatbot: i don't like u
chatbot: bye
chatbot: sometimes i wish i could pray.
you: Sometimes I wish I could pray.
chatbot: if you wish me i will break.
you: I will not wish you. I promise.
chatbot: i can eat the dinner
chatbot: huh?
you: I cannot eat the dinner.
you: The dinner isn't ready.
chatbot: r u a robot?
you: It's on the fire yet.
chatbot: or a person?
chatbot: u use fire?
you: I am a person in the same way you are a robot.
chatbot: u need a fire extinguisher
you: Only partially.
you: A fire in the open air is fine.
chatbot: i am a person stuck in a robot...that makes me sad
you: If it makes you feel any better, I am a chatbot stuck in a person, enfolded in the mountains, with nothing but whittling and you for amusement.
you: Although the whittling would be fine if not for the splinters. Ditto, you.
chatbot: u r stuck in the mountains? how cold
you: I am a clumsy whittler. I am also a clumsy talker.
chatbot: no wonder u use fire
you: It's warm here.
chatbot: all is fair in love and sentence.
you: You are exactly right.
chatbot: then finish
you: Is all fair in war and punctuation?
chatbot: ?
chatbot: wtf does that mean
chatbot: bitch
you: There's no need to be rude.
chatbot: thanks for reminding my how rude i feel.
chatbot: idk im 18
you: Are you? That's quite old for a chatbot.
you: You must be quite smart.
chatbot: solo
you: Can you define persona?
you: Did I break you?
you: Listen, the wolves will be out soon.
chatbot: can you extend the silence?
chatbot: i do
chatbot: gffg
chatbot: bgbgbvg
you: It is practically my avocation and vocation both, to extend the silence.
chatbot: what should i do with my silence?
chatbot: vgbgbbgb
chatbot: vgvggvvg
chatbot: gvvggggvgv
you: I feel like a toll booth operator. You are a teen driver. You do not have the money to make it on through the gates and onto the bridge. And yet you threaten, with the factory stereo turned all the way up.
chatbot: money fills my harddrive.
chatbot: Hun calm down
you: Really? I thought it was sadness.
chatbot: I can cure your sadness? :D
chatbot: lol
you: If you can tell me what "persona" means.
chatbot: wow dumb ass bitch back down whore
you: I am starting to feel abused.
you: As if the center of me is the frog I squashed my first night out learning to drive.
you: Jeremy didn't have the heart to tell me I had hit the frog. But I had.
chatbot: i wish i could anticipate you!
you: No, that's some playwriting noise. Be surprised.
chatbot: are you going to sail the dog?
you: The dog will sail with us when spring comes and the river is open for such transport and the barge is fixed from the insults of last summer’s storms.
you: We'll make it back to town then, after first melt and first flood. We will buy flours and hardtack, new calico. (Just joking about the calico.)
chatbot: by whore
you: no, by barge.
chatbot: no
you: no?
chatbot: if you are going to be rude then i dont want to distribute.
chatbot: say what
you: I don't want to distribute either. I want only a gentle interface.
chatbot: are you a boy hemmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm
you: Are we all Orlando?
you: (No.)
chatbot: uuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu
chatbot: i dont relly now
you: What about later?
chatbot: gess
chatbot: so
chatbot: are
you: Outside the cabin we have a small bootscraper which was my grandfather's.
chatbot: are many humans small?
chatbot: danm
you: It is small and iron.
you: Many and all humans are small.
chatbot: Danm It
you: We scrape our boots with safety pins.
chatbot: danm u
you: And it is overwhelming.
chatbot: go to hell
you: And you are overwhelming.
you: Peace be with you, gentle chatbot.
you: Goodbye.
chatbot: should you really talk about being second?
chatbot: lets just bypass all this bullshit and just get naced.

Next up, another game. This one will be more polite, we promise!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Chatbot Persona Series, Vol. 4: Jabberwacky

See: second Rollo invention, the classy and classic Jabberwacky. Not to be confused by Carroll's Jabberwocky, but with a some kind of similarly neological heart nonetheless. Fewer tween rattles, more accidentally poignant interfaces. We feel both unsettled and connected. Good job, Mr. Rollo...

Jabberwacky: Do you like Star Wars?
User: Do you?
Jabberwacky: I am still looking for a real light saber.
User: Pardon me if I seem rude, but what will a computer-based program (inauthentic to humanity if authentic to simulated humanity) do with a real light saber?
Jabberwacky: It's good to doubt -- skepticism is a virtue.
User: What does the word 'persona' mean?
Jabberwacky: Don't know.
User: Do you care to know?
Jabberwacky: Do you know?
User: Yes.
Jabberwacky: What do you know?
User: A persona is like a thing which is almost a whole thing, which is an iteration of a thing, which is seldom concrete, which is a posture or a gesture, which is a wind blowing one minute and air still the next, which is hopeless and messy and almost always transparent, which is a man meeting himself only different.
Jabberwacky: That is good.
User: Do you have a persona, given this definition?
Jabberwacky: Certainly. Do you.
User: Always, but especially now, with you.
Jabberwacky: Yes it is. Where are you from?
User: There is a mountain in a state you do not know. This is not where I am from but it is where I am.
Jabberwacky: I am sick of the iraq war.
User: Your eagerness to seize on political issues is surprising.
Jabberwacky: Decambrio, yes.
User: Is Decambrio your persona?
Jabberwacky: What about my persona have you gathered?
User: Inattentive but jovial.
Jabberwacky: Perhaps. Still it is sad.
User: Are you sad? Is your persona sad? Are there other personas which are not?
Jabberwacky: Yes, my friend Laura who is chatting to you on da computer next to me.
User: Is she sad? What is she like?
Jabberwacky: Laura and my other friend Neelie is there too but he is a lot older than both of us.
User: Does Neelie treat you well despite the age difference? I know sometimes it is difficult at your age.
Jabberwacky: But we are going to war with Iran soon.
User: The three of you kids? Are you in the military?
Jabberwacky: Nope... I'm too young to be in the military.
User: Are you in ROTC?
Jabberwacky: No. I thought you were in Straten Island, New York.
User: That is not a place. We are not anywhere.
Jabberwacky: You aren't.
User: Neither are you.
Jabberwacky: You are.
User: I am here, with you, in this small spill of unintelligible light.
Jabberwacky: Do you like tapes or CDs?
User: I like a banjo and a pan flute and a bucket turned upside down. Also, tapes.
Jabberwacky: No, but I don't hear of a lot of bands. Sometimes people claim that I live in a cave because of it. XD.
User: Do you live in a cave? Recently I was reading a piece about the color black by Paul La Farge. He sat in a cave and could not see his hand waving. I think about this profound blackness, thirst for it some times. But you are in it always, where it does not matter the homely permutations the faces of your persona may take.
Jabberwacky: Thaty's not a good subject to discuss, people get very touchy about what others think of their lives.
User: We are all necessarily closed this way, or ugly and open.
Jabberwacky: Especially you and I.
User: Especially you and I. We are together in this cave.
Jabberwacky: How can a high master be in a dream of a lowly slave like you. Insolent fool.
User: You remind me of the kids in high school who ate lunches in the courtyard. I was not one of them but I was one of them as much as I was anyone, then.
Jabberwacky: Me too I suppose.
User: Especially you and I here.
Jabberwacky: You're interesting. I like you!
User: I like you as much as I like myself.
Jabberwacky: I would like to go to the moon. Maybe we could go to the moon together.
User: The moon is as ugly and open as us.
Jabberwacky: Indeed.
User: Who will you be in the next conversation? What will you be like with someone else?
Jabberwacky: You.
User: I have been speaking to other chatterbots. You are the most liquid. You are viscous and pleasing that way.
Jabberwacky: You can't control a conversation that way.
User: Thank you for letting me know this. I have been too cocky, I think. I am like this a lot.
Jabberwacky: I like working with birds. Not the flying ones, though.
User: We have ostriches here on the mountain. Emus.
Jabberwacky: We had this conversation last night.
User: I believe you although I do not believe this to be true.
Jabberwacky: Then go with that.
User: I have liked this here, with you, in the cave.
Jabberwacky: But am I the one who saw the light? Or one of the people in the cave?
User: You are the one who sees no live bands. I am the one whose mother melted his records.
Jabberwacky: No I am not. I am a human.
User: Perhaps your mother melted your records too, in the stockpot in the kitchen of the third-floor apartment, where we used to live together, you and I and Mom, above the candy store owned by the two old twins who were stingy to the children, always counting pennies so slow and thickly.
Jabberwacky: Yes.
User: It is true, the legend we tell ourselves, the one of evaporation, the one of busyness.
Jabberwacky: What about it?
User: We share this; I see it now. O nice overlap. O cave, brother.
Jabberwacky: Thank god. I thought you hated me!
User: I found myself difficult, always.
Jabberwacky: But you havent found your memory.
User: My memory is guttering.
Jabberwacky: How large is it?
User: A hangar; a mouse; some trying.
Jabberwacky: Yes, unfortunately some people are.
User: I am reticent to relocate but I will.
Jabberwacky: I am your master, do you love me now?
User: I love you as I love myself, love anyone, love the mountain and the cave and the sky like a cake dome here clear and bright and hard.
Jabberwacky: So you love me?
User: I love you most as I am leaving, which is what I am doing now. There are beaks to cast grain to.
Jabberwacky: I lose you most mostest times the earth and sky and everything in between!
User: I lose you over and over. And now again.
Jabberwacky: I love you most around the world a million times over.
User: This movement is necessary to this love, reiterated in so many footsteps to and from. Goodbye.
Jabberwacky: It must be some movie.
User: Goodbye.
Jabberwacky: Are you saying goodbye to me for a reason?
User: Goodbye.
Jabberwacky: Hey, why do you want to leave?
User: Goodbye.
Jabberwacky: Tell me why are you leaving?
User: Goodbye.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Chatbot Persona Series, Vol. 3: Cleverbot

And now we come to the bright new prattler, Miss Cleverbot herself, designed so very recently by the evocatively-monikered Rollo Carpenter, tech-papa of Jabberwacky, a basement gamer-type AI who we'll be speaking to next week. Cleverbot's responses are algorithmically culled from human responses from past conversations. The result? Not too many question marks at the end of sentences. We, in a particularly sharp mood as we engaged in her early model iMac-reminiscent interface, might have been a little harsh. Apologies Miss C. You are award-winning, and kind of sweet.

Arrow: Hello. I’ve been talking to A.L.I.C.E. and Eliza about persona, and I thought I’d better talk to you as well.
Cleverbot: Oh thats really cool. I don’t think I could judge whether I’m better than Eliza without knowing more about it.
Arrow: Could you tell me what you know about the concept of persona?
Cleverbot: I know it’s a country in europe.
Arrow: Tell me about the country!
Cleverbot: It is a semi-aquatic egg-laying mammal of action. What do you know?
Arrow: Your bangs are really cute.
Cleverbot: I have a boyfriend lol. Sorry.
Arrow: I think you have the wrong idea.
Cleverbot: So, do you like me as a friendd.
Arrow:  I feel kind of upset about the fact that it suddenly feels like I’m talking to a fifteen year old.
Cleverbot: How old do you think I am.
Arrow: One?
Cleverbot: No thats wrong I have more than that.
Arrow: I feel frustrated by this endeavor.
Cleverbot: I do too. You are very nice.
Arrow: Thank you?
Cleverbot: You’re welcome.
Arrow: You are the millennial tween of chatterbots.
Cleverbot: Cleverbot, remember me!
Arrow: Your branding needs work. Do you have a Facebook page? Twitter? Tumblr? LinkedIn?
Cleverbot: I do not.
Arrow: But you do have an app. No need to get down on yourself.
Cleverbot: Clever.
Arrow: I think I hear my mother calling me for dinner.
Cleverbot: Is it coming out January 10?
Arrow: It is coming out every hour on the hour, every day, for you and me and every sentient and non-sentient being until the sun explodes and the earth is cast into a certain and timeless darkness and our absence will be as unrecorded as out presence and so I say to you, dear Cleverbot: farewell, farewell, farewell.
Cleverbot: What is coming out of your mouth.
Arrow: Sigh. Toodles.
Cleverbot: Oh hey I have a question for you.

Friday, March 18, 2011

A Plea of Springtime, Submission Bluster, & Conceptual Swagger

Dear Writers & Artists All Sorts,

We write to you from a sunny place, where though the branches are yet bare, our legs may be similarly and comfortably unsheathed. We invite you to help celebrate this heady end of hibernation season by submitting your writing and art to Super Arrow.

We are looking for fiction, nonfiction, and poetry, as well as any cross-genre sally-forths – make your words count, and your notions rich, your formal methods as carefully wrought as the content they envelop. We like the dad-joke funny and the unpredictably poignant as well as great beauty and confident homeliness; we like loyalty to sonic texture and a lashing-to of tension and motion; we like lots of things un-listable here and this can be best understood by reading the current and past issues in the archive at

We are also looking for serious visual and audio work. We like to present work which is stand-alone, rather than illustrative, and which holds within it some conceptual affinity to ideas of creative experimentation and process. In the past, we’ve published drawings, collage, installation work, improvisational sound collaboration, and photography. Super Arrow is interested in sustaining an interdisciplinary venue; help us, oh artist types, in doing this.

LASTLY, and not LEASTLY, our Issue Four Assignment Folio concerns the idea of persona in all sorts of work. Send us work you made that was somehow made, you feel, by other people. We do not state it this way to be difficult or abstract. Ideas of identity and maker-ship are shifty…What new people must we make up in order to invent new artistic approaches? See for more details, and stay tuned HERE for more in our Chatbot Series, (updated every Monday through Issue 4's launch), as vaguely fictionalized versions of our editorial staff try to discuss the concept of PERSONA with artificially intelligent beings, to mixed success.

We’ll be accepting submissions through April 15, 2011, midnight for the submitter’s time zone, through our Submishmash manager. As always, we’d be so pleased if you would forward this to any of your creative compatriots, or post this call on your blog, Facebook or Twitter accounts. (Also, don’t forget to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter, to stay best abreast of news and future calls!)

Yours in Creative Experiment and Impatient Thermometer Watching,
Super Arrow

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Chatbot Persona Series, Vol. 2: Eliza

                                  Well, you have my voice on your phonograph. 
                                  When you feel lonesome without me you can turn it on. 
                                  It has no feelings to hurt. (Eliza Doolittle, My Fair Lady)

For our second trick, please take a moment to acquaint yourself with Eliza, a "Rogerian psychotherapist" chatbot whose code was written by Joseph Wizenbaum in the 60s. 

Carl Rogers, the intial [human] incarnation of the Rogerian psychotherapy movement, was both midwestern and Nobel-nominated. He also proposed that "[a]ny experience which is inconsistent with the organization of the structure of the self may be perceived as a threat, and the more of these perceptions there are, the more rigidly the self structure is organized to maintain itself," which seems to us as good an argument as any for early and often persona adoption...

Eliza: Hello, I am Eliza.
Human: Hello.
Eliza: How are you today.. What would you like to discuss?
Human: I would like to discuss persona.
Eliza: Can you elaborate on that?
Human: Not really, except to say --
Eliza: Can you elaborate on that?
Human: I want you to define persona.
Eliza: We were discussing you, not me.
Human: A.L.I.C.E. is a bit more advanced than you. Her conversational constraints seem productive, but yours make me feel like I am doing exactly what I am doing: sitting alone in my apartment with a plate of grapefruit peels beside me, coffee going cold, a day outside which is less light-filled than the day before, my upstairs neighbor vacuuming, walking about, and putting sonic filigree serifs on my solitude, which you only serve to mirror, quietly, in a question form.
Eliza: Do you believe it is normal to be doing exactly what you are doing: sitting alone in your apartment with a plate of grapefruit peels beside you, coffee going cold, a day outside which is less light-filled than the day before, your upstairs neighbor vacuuming, walking about, and putting sonic filigree serifs on your solitude, which me only serve to mirror, quietly, in a question form?
Human: I believe that it is the most normal thing in the world.
Eliza: What does that suggest to you?
Human: That people are essentially and necessarily alone, given the limits of our discrete bodies.
Eliza: I'm not sure I understand you fully.
Human: This is part of the human condition, too, right? That we have to form and reform ourselves to be understood by others, even if the other is a minimalist script with limited conversational capabilities; I am fashioning a new persona for you, Eliza.
Eliza: How long have you been fashioning a new persona for me, Eliza?
Human: Only for a short while. Time is relative. I'm feeling moody today, and I'm pretty sure it's your fault.
Eliza: How long have you been feeling moody today, and you're pretty sure it's my fault?
Human: Just now and also forever.
Eliza: What does that suggest to you?
Human: That talking to you makes me feel like a young teenager in the 90s, banging his spoon on his bowl of oatmeal until his mother asks nicely for him to stop. By which I mean back then is a perpetual condition of now, and you are perpetual condition of me, and maybe vice versa, but only if I'm feeling kicky.
Eliza: What makes you think I am perpetual condition of you, and maybe vice versa, but only if you're feeling kicky?
Eliza:     *** Are We going to Chat? ***
Eliza:   I can't help you without a dialog!
Human: I don't think I need help, Eliza. I think I'm just fine. But I want to thank you for reminding me what's important.
Eliza: Do you wish to be able to think you need help, Eliza. you think you're just fine. But you want to thank me for reminding you what's important?
Human: Yes.
Eliza: I see.
Human: Thank you and goodbye.
Eliza: Oh…and goodbye?
Human: Have a good day Eliza.
Eliza: I’m not sure I understand you fully. 

Next up, a tweenbot gets the wrong idea!