Monthly Archives: March 2014

Issue 6’s Last Interview and Issue 7’s Last Day

Today’s the last day to submit your poem or story and have it be considered for Issue 7, so keep adding to the deluge that’s hit my inbox in the past 48 hours. Also, to tide you over until Issue 7’s been released, here’s our interview with Jennifer Jackson Berry.

THIS ONE

Describe your work in 25 words or less:

My work is my truth. And to paraphrase Muriel Rukeyser, I want to split the world open with it.

Tell me about your poem “Another Poem About Infertility:”

The first stanza was in my head for a long time. Once I finally got it out of my head, the rest came quickly. I liked the “this, until not this” construction as a way to try to make sense of the perplexing issue of infertility, as well as the word “another” in the title pointing to the idea that dealing with infertility is often a long, drawn out process. I gave the poem to a writer-friend for his critique, and he said this doesn’t have to be an infertility poem. It’s just a great sex poem. But at the time I wrote it, the two were intertwined too deeply for me to not direct the reader with the title.

What authors have influenced you as a writer?

There were three collections that were very important to me in my early college years, when I first started writing poetry seriously: Mad River by Jan Beatty, Girl Soldier by Denise Duhamel, and Satan Says by Sharon Olds. All three women continued on in their own careers to write many more stunning collections, each one inspiring in its own way.

Do you have a blog/website?

I try to maintain a tumblr: http://www.jaxnberry.tumblr.com, but don’t always do that much with it. I’m always on facebook though: https://www.facebook.com/jennifer.j.berry.

Where can we read you next?

My e-chapbook When I Was a Girl was just published with Sundress Publications (http://sundresspublications.com/echaps.htm). I have poems appearing in upcoming issues of Cider Press Review, Up the Staircase Quarterly, Nerve Cowboy, Lilliput Review, and Iodine Poetry Journal, as well as the online feature Chapter & Verse of the Pittsburgh City Paper.

What are you working on right now?

I’m revising my full length manuscript, tentatively titled To the Pith; I hope to send it out to contests and open readings periods in the next few months.

Any advice for other writers?

Find a community! The act of writing is often a solitary, lonely experience, but I rely on my fellow writers to find sanity.

Anything else you’d like to say?

Thank you to Bop Dead City and Kevin Rodriguez for giving a home to my poem.


Interview with Dan Sicoli

Dan gave Bop Dead City his excellent poem “In,” and, if the interview is tl; dr for you, then please just visit his wonderful Slipstream Press at http://www.slipstreampress.org/. They’re painfully legit.

 

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Describe your work in 25 words or less.

I hope it’s cinematic–that is, imagistic free verse–grounded in place whether it be physical, emotional or psychological. And a little mysterious, at times.

Tell me about your poem “In.”

I see the piece as somewhat of an exploration of a lover deluded by his infatuation with a woman he believes he is “in” love with. She remains aloof and distant and uses him when it’s convenient for her to fill in her own emptiness and needs. He misinterprets this as real love and thinks he’s “in” with her. She may be longing for another’s unrequited love and thus is depressed, unsatisfied, and unfulfilled.

Of course, other interpretations are welcome and probably more interesting.

What or who inspires you to write?

Well, inspiration can come from everywhere–real life events, family situations, arguing neighbors, a hound howling in middle of the night, a dented car, a painting, a news item, an injustice, another poem…

What authors have influenced you as a writer?

Oddly, it’s more than just authors. The work of the following individuals (in no particular order) have sparked something in me to write: Shakespeare, Bukowski, Joni Mitchell, Tom Waits, Bob Dylan, John Fante, Salvatore Dali, John Steinbeck, Martin Scorsese, George Carlin, Ray Bradbury, Kurt Vonnegut, e.e. cummings, John Coltrane, Robert Service, John Lennon, Picasso, Homer, Frank Lloyd Wright, Walt Whitman, Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, Francis Ford Coppola, David Lynch, Johnny Cash, Lucinda Williams, Richard Braudigan, Neil Young, Miles Davis, Muddy Waters, Paul Kelly… 

Do you have a blog/website?

No, but you can find the small press magazine I co-edit at: www.slipstreampress.org.

Where can we read you next?

I have some stuff upcoming with Snail Mail Review, Architrave, and Santa Fe Literary Review.

What are you working on right now?

Besides my kitchen, more pieces and re-writes.

Any advice for other writers?

For every word you write, read a thousand more.

Anything else you’d like to say?

Give your $upport to the small/micro presses–like Bop Dead City and others.

 

Interview with Jennifer Martelli

Slowly but surely we’re getting all of our interviews posted. Today’s is with Jennifer Martelli, who gave us the poem “Picture of a Botched Abortion (from Our Bodies, Ourselves, 1971).”

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Describe your work in 25 words or less.

I like to think of my work as a way of talking to the universe:  I’m telling a story and I hope that someone is listening.  I try to be as plain with my language as I can and to rely on syntax for the music.

Tell me about your poem “Picture of a Botched Abortion (from Our Bodies, Ourselves, 1971).”

“Botched Abortion” was about 16 years in the making!  I wrote a very different version, when my daughter was about 2 (she’s 18 now); it focused more on her in the bathtub, but it was her actual position that moved me.  The photo “Picture of a Botched Abortion” exists, as does the tragic subject.  I knew my original poem wasn’t complete, wasn’t true (in the emotional sense).  Anyway, it lay dormant for a long time until I found out the name of the woman in the photo.  In terms of the “design” of the poem, I have been writing in longer lines, and that form lent itself to the subject matter:  it allowed me to contain a very moving subject (moving to me).

What or who inspires you to write?

I never know what’s going to hit me!  I enjoy writing groups with prompts–sometimes they’re duds, but sometimes they give me a vehicle.  Usually, I’ll get obsessed with something–snake handling, Japanese theatre, paddle boarding–and images will weave their way into my work.

What authors have influenced you as a writer?

Elizabeth Bishop, Sylvia Plath, Jean Valentine, Marie Howe, Jane Kenyon, Mary Ruefle, Lucie Brock-Broido–these women enabled me to hear poetry in a very different way.

Do you have a blog/website? 

Not yet!  I’m going to try to set up a website!

Where can we read you next?

Sugared Water, Kindred Slippery Elm, Cactus Heart all have my stuff out now; Tar River Poetry, Right Hand Pointing, Burntdistrict, and Stoneboat will be out this year with some of my poems.

What are you working on right now? 

Right now, I’m sending my manuscript around and I’m working on a second one inspired by images from Asian Horror (The Ring, Pulse) and kabuki theatre.

Any advice for other writers?

I stayed away from writing for a long time–don’t do that!  Get with a great group of writers who are serious, loving and unmerciful!  Meet regularly and write!  And send your work out a lot–I made a vow to myself that I was going to submit weekly, if not daily.  Even when I’m rejected, someone read my work–it’s out in the atmosphere!

Anything else you’d like to say?

There are so many beautiful poetry venues out there now (like Bop Dead City)–it’s an exciting time to be writing and publishing!