Interview with Hannah Frishberg

As we’re wrapping up our interviews with Issue 11’s authors, we’re also wrapping up Issue 12’s submission period. I guess technically we’re closed to submissions, but due to ambiguous wording with ending on July 1 and what with not being the fucking Paris Review, I think anything that slips in today will count. Therefore, submit away until the submissions page says otherwise, slackers.

So here’s Hannah. She submitted just three poems, and two of them, “The Brooklyn Hallelujah” and “Stoop Dreams,” made it into our hallowed, holy pages. It turns out her and I have a lot in common, as you can see. We both love animals and catching dreams, for instance.


Describe your work in 25 words or less.
Young blunt and extreme. But positive. I try to stay positive about everything.
Tell us about your poems “The Brooklyn Hallelujah” and “Stoop Dreams.”
They’re both mostly true. I really dig Brooklyn. I grew up here. Brooklyn stories are much crazier than most, I’ve found. Shit just happens here. Everything changes constantly.
Who or what inspires you to write?
Bukowski’s pretty great, and so is Gabriel Garcia Marquez. But mostly I’m inspired by the things I experience. I can’t really write about shit if I haven’t experienced it to some degree.
What are your thoughts on print vs. online publications?
I wish people still read print, but most don’t. I like my work to by as accessible as possible, and often that means putting it online. That said, it’s really beautiful when I get to see my work in print. I like being able to literally hold my words. It’s more measurable, more tangible, more clearly art.
How do you feel about being a writer in New York City? Do you find the community more supportive or competitive?
I love New York. The energy here, it’s addictive. There’s no shortage of things to write about. My community here right now is mainly old friends and random strangers who eventually become old friends, and they’re all very supportive. I like New Yorkers cause they are, for the most part, very driven and slightly crazed. If people are competitive with me, I guess I haven’t noticed.
What are you working on right now?
A book about the Gowanus Batcave! It’s an abandoned powerhouse turned squat that’s now privately owned. I think it’s a great story and one that really speaks to the current state of gentrification in NYC. I’ve interviewed so many people for the project, heard so many wild stories. It’s an incredible space, and I’m scared it’ll be forgotten. I’m tryna immortalize it.
Do you have a website/blog for your work?
Not yet, but I should really get on that.
Where can we read you next?
I have a bimonthly column at CurbedNY called In Focus, where I interview NYC street photographers and feature their work. I also write for DNAInfo New YorkGothamist, Narratively, and Atlas Obscura, among others.
Any advice for your fellow writers?
Make writing a habit, not a routine.

Interview with Robin Reiss

In addition to an interview with the wonderful Ms. Reiss, this is your official five day warning for submissions. Polish ’em up, follow the guidelines, and get them in already.

So, yes, onto Robin.


Describe your work in 25 words or less.
Autobiographical to a fault, trying to channel Plath and Cummings simultaneously. A professor categorized the bulk of my work as “Dead Mom Sad Dad Poems.”

Tell us about your poem “Cutting Board.”
I can’t cook to save my life, so I volunteered to bring a fruit salad to a work potluck. It was taking me forever to cut the strawberries and I was thinking about how awkward a task it was for me, while other people have learned kitchen-sense from a young age or have some cooking gene I lack. This happens every time I’m recruited to help prepare dinner anywhere… I just have no idea what I’m doing. I end up cutting things into dumb shapes and spending five minutes on one tomato or holding the knife a wrong way and having all the mothers (or fathers!) in the room suck in their breath. So that’s how the poem began, and it developed into a Dead Mom Poem from there.

Who or what inspires you to write?
A variety of other poets, of course, and novelists, too. I’ve been plowing through the Game of Thrones books, and even those have lines and images that strike me as very poetic. My boyfriend inspires me to write, too; he encourages me, supports me, and geeks out over great poems with me all the time.

What are your thoughts on print vs. online publications?
I used to have it in my head that print journals seemed more prestigious or more intimate – and there’s still something super satisfying about holding your words in print – but lately I’ve been appreciating how online publications lend themselves to sharing with one’s community and reaching a wider audience.

What are you working on right now?

Getting back into a season of writing, now that the inaugural Duotrope subscription my boyfriend got me for Valentine’s Day has expired and the urge to submit like a fiend is passing.

Do you have a website/blog for your work?

I think you’re mistaking me for someone who knows what she’s doing.

Where can we read you next?

Catch & Release, Winter Tangerine Review, The Lake, Sandy River Review, Melancholy Hyperbole, and Futures Trading!

Any advice for your fellow writers?

I think you’re mistaking me for someone who knows what she’s doing.

Finally, anything else you’d like to add?

Thanks so much for including my poem in Bop Dead City! I tried to find your personal profile on Facebook so I could give you a creepy, ultra-specific personal compliment, but, luckily for you, your privacy settings must be killer.

Interview with Fikret Pajalic

Another writer providing Bop Dead City with international flair, Fikret wows me in two distinctive ways:

1. As far as I know (it’s not like I keep statistics on these things), he’s the most persistent writer to be published in Bop Dead City. “Running with Red” was his fourth try. The previous three were all good, just not right for us. I wouldn’t be surprised if they all got published in superior journals. Maybe I should have asked that….

2. He learned English in his mid-20s. I find it incredible he could lap other writers in the mastery of the English language when many of them had a twenty year or so head start.


Describe your work in 25 words or less.
A fellow writer from my writing group described my writing as a mix between Raymond Carver and Jack London. Most of my stories feature people from the margins and animals, mostly dogs.
Tell us about your story “Running with Red.”

The story is partly based on the real life experience of a refugee I knew who arrived with me to Australia from Bosnia in 1994.

Who or what inspires you to write?

I often deal with my real life fears in my writing. So, I’d say my fears make me write.

What are your thoughts on print vs. online publications?

I think most people prefer to hold a hard copy of their work in their hands. Being published online doesn’t feel as good as being published in print.

What are you working on right now?

I’ve got a few short stories in the works at the moment.

Do you have a website/blog for your work?

No. I’m not on any of social media sites. I’m a bit of a luddite that way.

Where can we read you next?

In the Minnesota Review, Sheepshead Review and Antipodes (all USA) and Sleepers and Bide Journal in Australia.

Any advice for your fellow writers?

If you believe that your writing is good enough to be published you must submit to as many places as you can. It’s like fishing with a net. The wider the net the more chances you have catching a fish.

Finally, anything else you’d like to add?

Persistence pays off.

Interview with Issue 11’s Alison McBain

Here’s an interview with winner of Bop Dead City’s 3rd Annual Flash Fiction Contest, Alison McBain, who won for her story “Definitions.” She’s kind enough to remind me that I’m a million years old right at the end.
McBain Bio Pic
Describe your writing in 25 words or less.
Eclectic, emotional and sometimes bizarre.
Is this your first contest win? How does it feel?
Last year, I was lucky enough to start out my recent writing career by placing in a literary contest, so I always get a special thrill any time that my story is chosen to represent a magazine. This is my first contest win this year, and I’m very honored to have won.
Tell us about your story “Definitions.”
Recently, I attended an MFA writers’ conference where one of the speakers summarized the advice of his mentor, which was: “Write towards the fear.” I think I’ve always done this – I often take what I’m most afraid of and try to exorcise it by writing about it. Particularly for this story, since I have two children, some of my biggest fears revolve around them getting sick or hurt. But instead of writing it from the anguish of the mother, I thought it would be a particular challenge to try to put myself into the perspective of the child.  And there was my story.
Who or what influences your writing?
When it comes to literary work, I am particularly inspired by Margaret Atwood, whose breadth of work is amazing.  However, I read everything from history to biography, science fiction to poetry, and take inspiration from it all.
Do you have a blog or a website for your work?
My website is, where I blog and review books.
Where’s the next place we can read your work?
I have an experimental story coming out in FLAPPERHOUSE at the end of June.
What are you working on right now?
There are a number of short stories and poems that I’m working on at any one time, although I’m also concentrating on a book-length project. It is an alternate history of the United States focusing on Native American-European interactions and my imagining of what could have happened with one small change before the beginning of contact.
Do you have any advice for your fellow writers?
Don’t give up! I can’t count the number of rejections I’ve received (and continue to receive). The difference between a published writer and an unpublished writer, more than anything, is persistence.
Anything else you’d like to get out?
Thank you very much for the interview, Mr. Rodriguez, and for choosing my story for Bop Dead City.

Interview with Audrey El-Osta

Hello my lovely nerdy reader people! Keep them submissions a’rollin’ in please; this round has been particularly fruitful so far. I can always make issues bigger though. We’re still looking for cover art, but there’s plenty of time left.

So we used to do interviews with all of our author in each issue, but we stopped because I’m awful and lazy. But no more! (I’m still actually awful and lazy, but we’re doing the interviews again). First up is the winner of our 3rd Annual Flash Poetry Contest, Audrey El-Osta, who won for “Primavera” but also got in with another poem, “Rolling Papers.”


Describe your writing in 25 words or less.
I want to transport people with imagery, and atmosphere, and hit them with all the feelings at the last minute.
Is this your first contest win? How does it feel?
This is actually my second contest win, but it feels just as wonderful as the first, if not more. There’s something about American money, in it’s green, paper ephemera nature that just feels so much more satisfying than a cheque (which I got for the first win).
Tell us about your poems  “Primavera” and “Rolling Papers.”
Primavera is a little homage to springtime, new love, realising you were lonelier than you thought you were, and hoping you don’t have to be that lonely again.
Rolling Papers is about the person who taught me how to roll cigarettes, who also taught me about heartbreak, depression, suicide. It’s nothing-last’s-forever rolled up into 25 lines.
What’s the literary scene like in Melbourne?
Melbourne is a strange and wonderful place to be an emerging writer. There are plenty of organisations that support the arts, namely The Wheeler Centre which is dedicated to literature and annexed to our State Library (also host to the Emerging Writer’s Festival!). There are university magazines and anthologies, big-time professional journals like Overland and Meanjin, and then there’s this huge, underground zine culture (thanks to the Sticky Institute) which is almost equally dominant. With poetry, there’s a whole extra world of spoken word and performance gigs as well.
Who or what influences your writing?
The first poet I ever read and loved was Gwen Harwood, an Australian poet and librettist. I read her poetry for Year 12 Literature and absolutely fell in love; everything about her work was so well written and yet had so much fun. Playful and punny, and unafraid to be serious and silly all at once. It’s hard to choose between certain pieces, but if I were to make any recommendations I would chooseNight and Dreams. 
After Harwood, I found Anne Sexton and Sylvia Plath, and then delved deeper into Australian women’s poetry to find Dorothy Porter and Lesbia Harford.
Do you have a blog or a website for your work?
I have a facebook page where I dish news of acceptances and other shameless self-promotion, and I also have a tumblr which I use as a portfolio.
Where’s the next place we can read your work?
Slink Chunk Press, where I have also become the poetry editor!
What are you working on right now?
Right this very minute, I’m preparing for the Writer-In-Residence program starting June 29th at the Cowwarr Arts Space! I’ll be using this residency to physically and mentally detach from my usual writing space and make some serious edits on some existing poems, and perhaps write some new work.
Overall, I’m balancing poetry and my BA, and I’m working to have a full collection of poems published by the time I start Honours.
Do you have any advice for your fellow writers?
Read, read, read. Be gracious, and thank editors for their rejection letters, and always submit again. Don’t be afraid of competitions, and if you feel like you have no idea what you’re doing, chances are the person you’re comparing yourself to feels the same way.
Anything else you’d like to get out?
Please like my facebook page to keep up with my upcoming publications and links to buy my zines! I hope to publish a lot more, and I plan to be in Bop Dead City again soon :)
Thanks so much!


First, my sincere apologies. I just bought a house, and it’s been…uh… some hectic. BUT, the issues are ready to ship, and we are obviously ready to receive your submissions! We’ve already received dozens of poems and stories, but please keep it coming.

So, after I’ve unintentionally made you wait and wait and wait, what better time to buy an issue than now? Just click here and get you one, or click on the buy tab and order all of them.

Oh, and you want to see our cover art?


It’s called “On the edge of passing II” by Angelika Ejtel. The self-portrait is inspired by the poem “Na krawędzi mijania” (which translates to “on the edge of passing,” natch) by Halina Poświatowska. A bit of the poem goes:

na krawędzi mijania
nie ma pocałunków
nie ma zapachów
ani kolorów

na krawędzi mijania
wąskie światło ciemnieje
i brzeg tak wyraźnie
urywa się – ból

on the edge of passing
there are no kisses
there are no smells
or colors

on the edge of passing
the narrow light darkens
and so clearly
the land ends – the pain


Very lovely. Halina’s not in the issue, but lots of other great writers are, so buy a copy and read them yourself.

Polish text Copyright 1989 Wydawnictwo Literackie, Kraków, Poland

Halina Poświatowska, Polish, d. 11 oct 1967.
translation by Marek Lugowski

Issue 11 Announcements

Well, if it wasn’t obvious, Issue 11 is closed to submissions. I’m currently getting it together as we speak, but I wanted to announce our contributors and the winners of the contest.

For poetry, we have:

Jordan Jamison – “Fake Sonnet (Lua)”

Sally Houtman – “to be no one” and “The Little House of Almost There”

Stacy Skolnik – “Dirt Road”

David Spicer (who was a contributor from all the way back in Issue 1!) –  “Identity Theft”

Audrey El-Osta – “Primavera” and “Rolling Papers”

Robin Reiss – “Cutting Board”

Hannah Frishberg – “The Brooklyn Hallelujah” and “Stoop Dreams”

And for fiction:

Fikret Pajalic – “Running with Red”

Alison McBain – “Definitions”

Thanks for all the submissions and a bigger thanks to the above people for letting little, lowly Bop Dead City publish their work.

So, from the above (and most of these don’t meet the contest guidelines of flash fiction and poetry, they’re just awesome), the winners are “Primavera” by Audrey El-Osta and “Definitions” by Alison McBain.

It’s going to be a great issue, folks. Later this week I’ll have the cover art available for your judgy, judgy eyes.


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