Monthly Archives: November 2012

Interview with Robert Heath

Today’s interview is with Robert Heath, who wrote the poem “All The Day Ran In Me.’ He’s from the UK, so chip chip cheerio cheers and the like.

 

Describe your poetry in 25 words or less. 

Honest. From the heart. I am, I hope, a tiny echo of Charles Bukowski’s genius. I write prose-poetry inspired by the world around me.

 

Who has influenced you the most as a writer? 

Many people have influenced me as a writer, but the ones who have inspired me the most are Sylvia Plath, Pablo Neruda, Charles Bukowski, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Brett Easton Ellis, Irvine Welsh, Hubert Selby, William Burroughs and the classic poets – Byron, Tennyson and Keats.

 

Tell me about your poem “All the Day Ran In Me.” 

It’s a simple piece reflecting on divorce or separation and how certain things in life can never be divided up – are linked forever to two people and bear testimony to their history. Some things are just indivisible.

 

Do you keep a blog? 

No. I know that’s viewed as suspect in this day and age but its hard enough to find the time to write everything I want to write without writing about writing it. I am however in the process of setting up my own website

 

What are you reading right now? 

I am reading Angela’s Ashes which is an incredible memoir of life in poverty stricken Ireland and America in the 1930’s. As well as that, I am also reading the complete poetical works of Lord Byron

Do you have any advice for other writers?  

Write and read every day. Don’t give up – no book is written, every book is re-written. Believe in yourself and remember – it’s mostly subjective at the end of the day. Just because your work is rejected, does not mean it is necessarily bad – nor does acceptance make you special – keep learning. Read and write always and you will grow in stature as a creative person. Most of all – be yourself.

 

What are you working on right now?

 I am working on a collection of thematically linked poems and a post-apocalyptic novel (it’s a trilogy in my head) about a world in which among other things, books no longer exist until one day, some scavengers find the ruined remains of an old library and learn from the ashes the art of storytelling again.

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Interview with Sharon Clark

This interview is with Sharon Clark,  the author of our first issue’s poem “The Beatitudes of Lana Del Rey.” She lives in Brooklyn, but was not swept away by Sandy (lucky for us).

Describe your poetry in 25 words or less.
cerebral, condescending, precious, vicious, unexpected, disturbed, inebriated, saucy, violent, sassy, cheeky, intelligent, confusing, interrupted, yielding, celebrity-obsessed, dirty, sweet, self-conscious
Who has influenced you the most as a writer?
Anyone I’ve met who has made me want to be more interesting.
But seriously, the work of the Swedish poet Fredrik Nyberg has been very dear to me ever since I picked up the English translation (by Ugly Duckling Presse) of his collection of poems A Different Practice. Reading his work felt enlightening – like I was reading thoughts I’d already had myself and that this other person was making them salient for me, affirming what must be a truth. When I wrote my collection The Least Most Happy Time, I felt like I was channeling his style and the delivery of language in his poetry. Two poets that I simply admire and feel a lot of love for are Jack Spicer and Frank O’Hara. When I’m thinking about writing and nothing comes to mind, I can hear Frank O’Hara’s voice in my head reading “All That Gas” and somehow not being able to produce anything feels o.k. as long as I can remember that beautiful poem. Jack Spicer supposedly said “My vocabulary did this to me” before he died, and I can only hope that I can get to the point that on my deathbed I can say something equally as dark and clever.
Also, though they aren’t really influential, I consider Lindsay Lohan, Britney Spears, and soon enough Rihanna to be inspirational (as far as generating content).
Tell me about your poem “The Beatitudes of Lana Del Rey,” like how you came up with it, what it means to you, where you were, whatever you like.
At the time I was thinking about different artists and celebrities and what they meant to their “fans” or “supporters”. I was particularly fascinated by the differences between the two quasi-indie performers Grimes and Lana Del Rey, what their music and act meant, and who their fans were. I concluded that Grimes is a genuine artist, and to be blunt is a really weird girl with playful fans who like to take drugs and sway around with glowsticks and face paint to ethereal music, and Lana Del Rey is a fabricated, well thought out character that is mirroring the trends of the times – sort of like Madonna – even though a beautiful girl with heartbreak never goes out of style. I think that the girls who like Lana Del Rey sort of hate themselves and want to be that hot chick with a heartbreak tragedy so they can brandish their problem and garner attention. Writing the poem was a way for me to figure out what I think Lana Del Rey stands for and what she means to her fans. Also, I should add that I grew up Catholic and there’s something about her lovelorn, bad girl qualities that appeals to me. She’s full of regrets, she dwells on the past, she punishes herself, and she’s constantly in emotional strife. I consider this Catholic behavior. The idea of self punishment that breeds guilt and emotional disturbance led me to think about the beatitudes, which are basically a series of statements that the downtrodden can say to themselves to try to feel better about their shitty situation.
 
Do you keep a blog?
My tumblr is sharksightings.tumblr.com (even though it doesn’t contain much writing, I think that tumblr blogging is a brilliant way to engage with mindless, yet stimulating internet content).
My wordpress blog, which is updated rarely, is zer0esandones.wordpress.com. I keep it mainly because the cover photo for it is so amazing and sums up the really dark side of my late teens/early twenties: colt45 on the beach at Coney Island in December.
What are you reading right now?

The Poetics of Space by Gaston Bachelard.
Do you have any advice for other writers?
Only go to school for writing if you can afford it or if it’s free.
What are you working on right now?
On and off I’ve been working on a collection of stories about a pre-apocalyptic Brooklyn through the eyes of a rat. The stories are about kids on drugs making mistakes, men robbing department stores, people suffering from anxiety attacks over holidays and norms set by consumerism (in a very neurotic David Foster Wallace kind of way), stuff like that. I’ve also been working on a series called The Murder Fantasies/Love Poem –“The Beatitudes of Lana Del Rey” belongs to this.


Interview: Denise R. Weuve

Today’s interview is with Denise R. Weuve, who wrote the wonderful poem “Lilith” that appears in our first issue.

Describe your poetry in 25 words or less.
Confessional bent with the intent to leave the reader gasping from lines that haunt, go for the throat and won’t let go.
Who has influenced you the most as a writer?
Everything and everyone influences me, a midnight drive to Las Vegas, a grasshopper trapped in my classroom, men in business suits at a bar.  It’s just life, from a friend who ghosts out in few too many poems (to the point he thinks they are all him now), a mother who has laid the ground work for many more poems to come, to whether or not I like the way the sun rose today. Influence for me can be found in the gutter as well as in another poem.  Just doesn’t matter, as long as I stay open to everything and everyone.
Tell me about your poem “Lilith.”
I am the product of an Italian-Irish mother who sent me to Catholic School.  It was her deal with God so that I survived a premature birth. At times I fit in and but in the end it was clear I was far too independent for conformity like that of the church I was being taught under.  I stupidly felt that anyone forced for a 12 years to learn under the same structure would see the holes in the system and 180 it upon graduation.  Edward Hanson did not; instead he went to seminary school.   As you can see I took it well.
Do you keep a blog?
Oh yes.  A couple, but the one that most often pertains to my writing is DeniseRWeuve.wordpress.com
I use it for updates on publications, writing and general thoughts that inspire or are about writing.
What are you reading right now?
Besides 100 freshmen To Kill A Mockingbird essays, Ordinary Genius by Kim Addonizio, Transformations by Anne Sexton (it was just her birthday after all), Our Lady of the Ruins by Traci Brimhall, and Letters to Guns by Brendan Constantine.  I can’t read or do just one thing at a time; it’s horrible and the remnants of an ADHD personality far before they were diagnosed.
Do you have any advice for other writers?
Read what you like so you emulate, read what you don’t like so you don’t emulate, then write, write, write, write, go back to reading, cereal boxes if necessary, simply read, journals, blogs, the lines in your friends faces. Then feel free to write again.  Write until your fingers bleed and you swear there isn’t another word left in your body.  Only after that, when you are ready, submit your work. Do so knowing you will be rejected, but that just means you are doing it right.  If you don’t get rejected you can’t find the joy in acceptance.
And do all of these far better than I, as I am too often lazy and the wrong person to ask.
What are you working on right now?
I was out with a man that said something to me that harkened back to something my mother would say as I was growing up, and the idea came to mind that my mother was an oracle.  So currently I am working on a poem about how my mother was the Oracle of Daisy Street.  Sort of the idea that prophecies can be hexes instead of destinies.  We shall see where it ends up.

Denise R. Weuve’s work appears or is forthcoming in Bop Dead City, Carnival Literary Magazine, Emerge Literary Journal, Eunoia Review, Genre, Gutter Eloquence, Pearl, Red River Review, RipRap, San Pedro River Review, and South Coast Poetry Journal.   She has received accommodations for her poetry from Shelia-Na-Gig, South Coast Poetry Review and Donald Drury Award.
As a teacher of English and Creative Writing in Cerritos, California she hopes to introduce a love of poetry to the next generation.
Currently Denise is actively seeking the perfect MFA program (or one that will take her-which ever comes first). She collects paper cuts, and other miscellaneous damage to display in glass cases (her blog http://deniserweuve.wordpress.com/).   Contact her at Inkdamage@gmail.com or follow her on facebook, http://www.facebook.com/denise.weuve.1


Interview with Raymond Cothern

Today’s interview is with Raymond Cothern, the author of the flash fiction story “Amanda.” He’s an LSU fan, but otherwise seems like a pretty nice guy.

Describe your poetry in 25 words or less.

My prose leans more to the Hemingway style than the Faulkner one. Nothing wrong with sentences going on for pages like Faulkner, and in fact sometimes my sentences go on and on to capture not only the rhythm of language itself but to build momentum about whatever is being revealed. I believe like Hemingway that you make your point as succinctly as possible and move on. Whether revealing aspects of character or plot points, the average reader (if there is such a thing) wants movement in whatever they are reading.

Who has influenced you the most as a writer?

Influence? Hemingway for his brevity, I guess. Walker Percy, who I had the privilege of studying with in a novel-writing class at LSU.  A lot of Southern authors when I was younger: Capote, Welty, Harper Lee (what writer doesn’t recognize the pristine quality of her book?), Reynolds Price, Peter Taylor, Barry Hannah, Robb Forman Dew.

Tell me about your story “Amanda.”

“Amanda” was flash fiction that grew out of a real incident, unfortunately. A friend’s daughter committed suicide and having two daughters it haunted me for weeks. The way to perhaps settle things was to imagine some circumstances and to make some bold swipes in trying to fictionally understand it.

Do you keep a blog?

I do have a blog–  http://swimmingunderwater-raymond.blogspot.com/ – although I’ve gotten lax about posting regularly.

What are you reading right now?

This will sound impressive or maybe more like bragging but at any one time I may be reading 15 to 20 books at the same time. Hey, if they are good, no matter how long it takes before getting back to one, the characters and plot are always held in suspension. The main reason I have bookmarks in so many books is simple. I switch hit. The books I read are determined by mood and circumstance. I want something lighter while in bed before going to sleep; easier to breeze along with something for a few pages but getting sleepy. I tend not to read something literary late at night that I want to really concentrate on the language, etc. Other times I’m in the mood for a good memoir or mystery or some book on film. I do have a small bookcase by the toilet; two reasons: every nook and bookcase is stuff, even bookcases in the garage; and I always manage a page or two while sitting and contemplating the ways of the world. A quick list of some being read: The Boy Kings of Texas (Martinez), The Given Day (Lehane), Lit (Mary Karr), The Art of Fielding (Harbach), Devotion (Shapiro), The Lost City of Z (Grann), The Names of the Dead (O’Nan), Being Polite to Hitler (Dew).

Do you have any advice for other writers?

Advice. Hmm. Read, read, read. I really taught myself to write (in large part) by reading. If the writing is good, pay attention. And practice, practice, write as often as you can. Now, no amount of reading and writing will give you whatever burning bush of creativity that makes for great writing, but writing is a craft, a learnable craft. What also helped me as a writer was my determination to be a playwright, to write in play form; if you can bring everything that the listener (reader) needs to know through dialogue and do it effortlessly, then that is a great “training” tool. I still write plays as well as fiction and the rest.

What are you working on right now?

I recently finished a memoir called Swimming Underwater (hence the blog name), about my youngest daughter’s life and death battle years ago with encephalitis. (She’s okay now.) I was able to stand at the hospital window and look over the old neighborhood where I grew up and where even we lived when my daughters were young. The book is a dance between a journal I kept to keep myself sane during those dark days and my memories of growing up in that neighborhood and raising a lot of hell. I have gotten some really fine praise and encouragement after first reads by a National Book Award winning author and a top agent in NYC. I am in the process of revising the second half of it.

By the way, my blood type is O, I think.

Raymond Cothern, a native of Louisiana, studied writing at LSU under Walker Percy and Vance Bourjaily. He is winner of the Deep South Writers Conference and the St. Tammany National One-Act Play Festival. His short play, THE LONG HYMN OF DILEMMA, was produced in New York City as part of the 2012 Davenport Theatrical Enterprises Play Festival. His play, THE PALLBEARER’S SOCIAL, was a finalist in the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center’s National Playwrights Conference and was also a 2011 semi-finalist in the Playwrights First Award sponsored by the National Arts Club of New York City. Other plays, including DYING FOR THE METAPHORS and MEMORIAL VIDEO, were either finalists or semi-finalists in the Riant Theatre’s Strawberry One-Act Festival in New York City, in the Time to Strike Festival produced by Strike 38! Productions, and in the 5th Annual Play Tour sponsored by cARTel Collaborative Arts Los Angeles. In addition to film work and producing more than 75 theatrical productions in the South, his fiction and poetry have been published in MANCHAC, INTRO 8 (Doubleday & Co.), and in the Swedish literary magazine, TWO THIRDS NORTH. His essay, FOOD & PHOTOGRAPHS, appears in the book MEANWHILE BACK AT THE CAFÉ DU MONDE. He recently completed work on a memoir, SWIMMING UNDERWATER, about growing up in Louisiana and framed by the story of the devastating effects of viral encephalitis on his daughter and of her triumph in achieving a normal life.


Interview with Gina Vaynshteyn

Today’s interview is with Gina Vaynshteyn, author of “Eve as a Girl” and owner of a repeatedly challenging last name to spell (I’m just glad I haven’t had to try to say it yet).

Describe your poetry in 25 words or less.

Walt Whitman wearing a sequined skirt and packing a .45. Is that too ambitious?

Who has influenced you the most as a writer?

Miranda July, Mindy Nettifee, Allison Benis White, Aimee Bender, and John Steinbeck.

Tell me about your poem “Eve as a Girl.”

I think re-creating stories can be pretty interesting, so I gave it a shot. Since Eve was technically/supposedly created as a full-grown woman, I wanted to explore the possibility of her non-existant childhood. I also wanted to see what purpose she could serve besides a symbol. So, according to the bible, Adam’s first wife was actually Lilith. Lilith didn’t like being ordered around by Adam, so she broke up with him and fled; she flew into the air where she started having sex with demons. God must have really felt for Adam, so he created Eve out of Adam’s rib and made sure she was an agreeable and mild wife. Since I’m a writer and I can do anything that I want, I wanted to introduce a different kind of Eve. A playful, innocent, and sexual Eve. I’ve been working on a new poem where Eve uses the forbidden fruit (juice) as war paint and a weapon.

Do you keep a blog?

Yes! Girlmeetsnotebook.wordpress.com

What are you reading right now?

Mindy Nettifee’s Glitter in the Blood, the Ecco Anthology of International Poetry, and Joan Didion’s Slouching Towards Bethlehem. I don’t have a T.V.

Do you have any advice for other writers?

Read anything and everything. Find poems and stories that you love and take them apart, find out what they are made of and why they work so well. Imitate. Remember, you’re not stealing, you are borrowing. Which is okay in the literary/writing world (just don’t plagiarize). Write every day and set attainable goals for yourself. For instance, I try to have at least one “working” poem a week and go from there.

What are you working on right now?

I’m putting together a chapbook for one of my workshop classes, it’s going to be titled “ALL ADVENTUROUS WOMEN DO” after Hannah Horvath’s famous tweet on Girls. I’m always writing and trying to publish my work; my goal is to publish my first book in two years.


Interview with Jessica Tyner

Here’s a new little feature I thought would be neat: interviewing all the writers published in Bop Dead City. This one is with Jessica Tyner, who wrote the poem “Eating,” which is published in our first issue. So here goes, and keep sending in those submissions.

Continue reading


Annnnd we’re off!

The submission period for our second issue is now underway. Please submit your new fiction, poetry, and art, but please read the submission guidelines  before you do so.

We’re going to go with a quarterly publication schedule now. This is too much fun to only do every six months. So, the new routine should be open for two months to submissions, off for one, repeat. Therefore, the next issue will come out in January, followed by April, July, and October.

Also, I’d like to thank Gina Vaynshteyn (author of Issue 1’s “Eve as a Girl”) for the shout out on her blog, Girl Meets Notebook, as well as Denise R. Weuve (author of “Lilith”) posting on her blog, Ink Damage. And for those patiently waiting for Bop Dead City to do an issue in Braille, we have Amber Koneval reading her poem, “English Major Boy.” 

If any of our other featured writers have a blog and mention Bop Dead City (or don’t, I guess, you dicks), send me the link or comment here and I’ll add you to our blogroll on the sidebar (once I figure out how that works, of course).

Best of luck, kids.