Author Archives: bopdeadcity

About bopdeadcity

Bop Dead City is an independent, quarterly literary magazine. We are seeking new writers who have a great story to tell. Sound craftsmanship couldn't hurt either. All of our issues are available for purchase here on the site through Paypal. If you’d like to know more about what type of work we publish, reading a back issue would be the best way to do it.

Last Issue 17 interview: Preeti Talwai

Hi everybody! Soon the interviews with our Issue 18 authors will be posted, but here’s Preeti, who gave us three poems (a Bop Dead City record) and honestly, I should have published all five that she sent. She’s got some wise words, and if you’d like to read her amazing stuff, click here or, if you’re a real jerk, don’t.

Describe your writing in 25 words or less.
I would characterize my poetry as always vulnerable, often nostalgic, and sometimes unsettling. I revel in the “what could have been.”

Tell me about your poems “Skin,” “Someone,” and “Home.”
All three poems, in different ways, are about coming to terms with the idiosyncrasies of one’s identity. “Skin” is about a South Asian woman confronting the aesthetic expectations of Western beauty — her physical identity. “Someone” is a cry for acceptance and celebration of fragility and imperfection in emotional identity. And “Home” attempts to capture the yearning for belongingness — searching for the symbolic feeling of “coming home” — and speaks to a kind of spiritual identity. Like much of my writing, these poems, too, are a way for me to dissect and grapple with my own insecurities and sense of self. 
Who or what inspires you to write?
My everyday observations, nostalgia about the past, my social interactions, and the work of other poets. I often write as a way to analyze my own thoughts and emotions and reflect on emotional experiences. I am inspired to write when I have encounters with others; my poetry is a way to express in writing what I cannot express verbally to that person —  a kind of afterthought to an emotional experience. As a result, my poems are often very short and written in the second person. I’m also very inspired by my cultural background and experiences growing up as a first generation Indian American. 
When did you first start writing poetry?
I can remember writing my first poems for school projects in elementary school, and acrostic poems for family and friends.
What are you working on now?
Sporadic bursts of poetry, that I hope will crystallize into some sort of collection or book.
Is there a website/blog where we can keep up with your work?
Not yet, but hopefully in the near future!
Any advice for your fellow writers?
Don’t equate your literary performance/acceptance with your literary identity. I think this is particularly hard because many writers take their craft so personally. 

Bop Dead City finally got a Twitter!

I decided to finally get with the times (if the time was 2012 or so) and get Bop Dead City a twitter. It’s, surprisingly, @bopdeadcity.

So, feel free to follow and if you don’t seem like trash, I’ll follow you back.



Issue 19 is open to submissions!

Just a friendly reminder that our 19th issue is open to submissions from yesterday (oops) until April 1. Also, a little early because I want it now, it’s Bop Dead City’s 5th Annual Flash Fiction and Poetry Contest. The rules for that can be found on our Contests page, but in brief:

The deadline is April 1. Poems must be 50 words or less, and stories must be 500 words or less to be considered for the contest. Please include a word count with each submission. You may submit up to five poems and one story. Also, mention that it’s contest entry, just for my sake.

Prizes are $20 to the best flash poem and $20 to the best flash story, plus publication and a copy of the issue. And fame. And honor.

Good luck to everyone, and I’m excited to see what comes through this time.



Come buy Issue 18!

Finally! It’s been a long one, both here (cover art was tough to come by, as usual) and personally (a new job is tough to come by, as usual), but it’s finally wrapped up and ready to go. We’ve got poems by Jennifer Martelli, Theresa Senato Edwards, Emily Light, Allison Emily Lee, Christine Stoddard, C.J. Miles, Patricia J. Miranda, Kathleen Radigan, Catherine Edmunds, Robert Lee Kendrick, and Eve Kenneally, plus a story by Kathryn McBride.

Give an extra congratulations to Jennifer Martelli and Kathryn McBride, winner of our contests. Long time readers might remember Jennifer’s poem “Picture of a Botched Abortion,” which appeared waaaaaay back in Issue 6. Didn’t get the money then, but she raked in the $20 bucks this time for her poem “At the Border.” Kathryn’s new to us, but she’s got two good things going for her: $20 and having her name spelled the correct way (sorry, Ms. Edmunds).

Now, that cover!


This beautiful work of art, titled “Come in and sit a while,” is by the talented photographer Matt Bates. He also indicated that the format of the photo is “6x6cm Hp5+ b/w film.” I don’t know what that means, but it sure sounds impressive. An extra thanks for Matt for bailing me out on the cover art at this late hour.

Click the cover to buy yourself a copy for the low, low price of three bucks, plus a dollar for the stamp and the envelope. ORRRR if you really want to be a darling, click here to buy a whole year of Bop Dead City for just $12, straight up!

Finally, in the spirit of Oscar season (bold statement: Denzel and Viola win for Fences, but La La Land wins Best Picture), here’s the list of people I’m thanking:

Everyone who submitted

Everyone who was accepted

Everyone who read the last issue

Everyone who’s going to read this issue

My wife

My mom

My boring workplace for providing me with nothing else to do but read stories and poetry


Phew. Good luck y’all. Keep your heads up and be safe out there; you’re in Trump’s America for now.

Interview with Issue 17’s Contest Winner Kaz Sussman

Hope everyone is staying warm and dry. Shoot, we even had some snow and ice down here in Alabama. You’d think it’d be plenty of time to work on Issue 18 but… well, it’s a process. Keep checking back. In the meantime, read this interview with Kaz Sussman, winner of Issue 17’s poetry contest.




Describe your writing in 25 words or less.

Much of my work is akin to emotional spelunking, feeling my way through the unknown dark, gathering up the aggregate of experience for future contemplation

Congratulations on winning Issue 17’s contest. How did it feel when you found out? Is this your first win?

This was a sweet surprise – my first “win”.

Tell me about your poem “In Retrospect” 

Being a parent is hard work that often goes askew, despite one’s best intentions.

Who or what inspires you to write?

I’m an old guy, so I am tending towards reflection and irony, hoping for grace.

What are you working on now?
I’ve been working on shrinking up my work, killing off my tongue-twisting darlings, trying to get closer to the nub of what it is I’m attempting to say.

Is there a website/blog where we can keep up with your work?

Any advice for your fellow writers?

Go live . . . quick, now . . . work with your hands, travel. Engage in new experience so that you do not have to rely on poetic prompts, greek urns or someone else’s plums for content.

Issue 18 is done with your submissions!

Thanks to all of you for submitting and a special thanks to those who subscribed this reading period (and those who bought a back issue, for once). We’ll have the issue out as soon as I’m finished reading these… *checks inbox*… sixty emails! Christ, the holidays hit me hard. My bad, y’all, keep faith. I’ll also be posting a few more interviews with the writers from Issue 17 this month, including some future Pushcart Prize winners.

Happy reading and writing!

Interview with Issue 17’s Allyson Whipple

Hope everyone’s Christmas shopping is about done and you haven’t murdered your family and put them in the crawl space. Mostly because that’s a dumb way to hide a body. Just saying, if that’s the most creativity your mind can muster, maybe Bop Dead City’s not the place for you.
ANYHOW, on a better note, this is Allyson Whipple’s interview. In addition to the information she’s been so kind to provide, might I add that she is the distant, distant descendant of one of the THREE signatories of the Declaration of Independence from New Hampshire. (probably.  I mean, they have the same last name).
Describe your writing in 25 words or less.
Invariably born out of either love, obsession, or contemplation. Or some combination of the three.
Tell me about your poems “Hawks Don’t Circle” and “Bar Joke.” 
I spent a year trying to write a poem with the title “Hawks Don’t Circle.” I’d taken my boyfriend to a bookstore to hear a reading by a poet I really love. In my favorite poem in the collection, there’s a reference to hawks circling. My boyfriend leaned over after the poem was done and whispered, “Hawks don’t circle.” He wasn’t actually trying to be mean or anything. He was astounded that a poetry collection could make it through to publication (through a prestigious press no less) with factual errors about nature. So I spent a year trying to write a poem with that title, and I was trying to write about hawks, and then I was trying to do an ars poetica, and what happened 11 months later was that I wrote this one last poem about a breakup. This one poem that had to be written so I could really and truly let it go. This was not the way I wanted to use the title, but it’s how things ended up. And for those who would ask if the way I describe things in the poem really happened: Yes, they really happened, and no, the definitely did not happen.
“Bar Joke” is addresses the same subject matter. I had a sweet, wonderful, three-year entanglement with someone. It was not the kind of relationship where things were ever going to progress beyond a certain point, though. And one day, I found myself in a position of having to choose between the delightful thing I had, and the deep, emotional connection I had unexpected developed for someone else. I could not do both. So I had to stick with the familiar, or I had to take that proverbial leap of faith. The fact that I met both of these people in bars has always amused me. The idea of trying to frame it as a joke also amused me. It was, again, a way to reconcile the fact that making the best decision is sometimes painful.
Who or what inspires you to write?
Deep down, I think it all comes from obsession. I’ve never been someone who responds well to someone telling me, “Just get over it” or “Just let it go,” even if they mean well and they’re totally correct. But my poems aren’t just about purging past events. I have an obsessive tendency to write about landscape, especially with regards to Texas. Every time I think I’ve written my last place poem, no, the old obsession comes back. I just can’t get enough of my literary explorations of geography. I have always been a curious person. Writing is the outlet to that curiosity.
What are you working on now?
I’m focusing on completing coursework for my MFA at the University of Texas at El Paso, and trying to decide what to do for my thesis.
Is there a website/blog where we can keep up with your work?
My website/blog can be found at
Any advice for your fellow writers?
Miles Davis said, “It takes a long time to be able to play like yourself.” (I’m not sure if that’s the exact wording; I went to fact-check and found five permutations of this quotation.) The same is true for writers. It takes a long time to be able to write like yourself. Longer than you think. I started writing poetry when I was 12, in 1996. It wasn’t until 2013 that I even began to feel like I was finding my actual poetic voice.