Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Char & Ash / Remote


Howie Good's latest book of poetry is The Complete Absence of Twilight (2014) from MadHat Press. He co-edits White Knuckle Press with Dale Wisely, who does most of the real work.

Char & Ash

The history that began
with a signed urinal
was extinguished
with rain disasters in India.

Somewhere I still have
a picture postcard
from the gift shop
at Kafka’s birthplace.

Nostalgia just isn’t
what it used to be.

Panics keep happening,
followed swiftly
by lewd gestures.

There was a time
when the pullout couch
at your parents’
would have served
as enough of a haven,

even with you & me
& everyone else
crying, Squish over!



Remote

It never happens, tomorrow never happens, the London gangster says, more to himself than to his double-crossing partner, who isn’t listening anyway and wouldn’t understand the concept of built-in obsolescence even if he were. In the news clip Ukrainians – or are they Iranians? – shake automatic weapons over their heads. The contestant on another channel is struggling to remember the name of the fourth Beatle. At least he knows you must state the answer as a question, which only proves, I guess, that the heart was and still is A) a highway B) a jailhouse or C) an empty bed.  

Friday, July 18, 2014

INTERVIEW: TIM STALEY


Name? Tim Staley

Age? 39

Location? Las Cruces, New Mexico

How long have you been writing poems? Since the 3rd Grade

Do you have a specific writing style? John Hartford said “style is based on limitations.” I try to leave more and more out. I try to place mystery carefully.

Do you write as a career? Who does, Maya Angelou? 

What is your greatest challenge as a writer? Each new poem.

What projects of yours have been recently published?  I’ve had some poems published recently in burntdistrict, brickplight and Canary.

What are you currently working on and what inspired this work? My first full length poetry collection, Lost On My Own Street, was inspired by parenthood, wilderness and illness. It’s been “finished” a dozen times.

Where can we find your work?

The great fiction writer Albert Martinez featured me on his Lively Words site:

Here I am in a few journals:


Oh, I’m also a rapper, MC FLASHCARD:

       How often do you write? Not nearly enough.

How do you react to rejections? One of my mentors Kathleene West wrote a poem about rejection. I react to rejection how this poem of her’s does:

            The Poet Considers Destroying His Mailbox

            Thursday, and the mailbox gapes,
            olive-drab, unexpectedly empty.
            The afternoon’s awry.
            The toothbrush molts, coffee freezes
            in the cup and the veins on your wrist
            push sullenly at the surface.
            Your friends fling the telephone
            out the window and slide out of your house
            on the cord. Your lover walks up the stairs
            and vanishes when she touches her hand
            to the knob. Stamps won’t stick. The avocado rolls
            on the ledge, stays hard and green.
            Did you really think the woman in the bar
            would remember your number?
            What did you expect? To hold love and work
            like a blueprint in your hand?

            By: Kathleene West, Water Witching, 1984, Copper Canyon Press

  
What is your favorite book? I’m on a Hermann Hesse kick. I’m reading Narcissus and Goldmund at the moment. I love his balance. He talks about how a woman’s face giving birth and her face in orgasm are essentially the same face. I’m down with that kind of thing.

Who are some of your favorite poets? At the moment I’m digging Robert Bly. I like he reinvents himself every few years. Joshua Beckman, Bob Dylan, James Tate and Mary Ruefle also impress me in this way. 

What is your favorite word? mittelschmerz
  
What makes you cry? Several songs in Frozen.
  
Beach or Mountains? Mountains, preferably with snow.

Cats or Dogs? Dogs with a smear of Pit Bull

The Beatles or The Rolling Stones? George Harrison

Jimi Hendrix or Frank Sinatra? Jerry Garcia

Shakespeare or Bukowski?  That’s not fair.
  
Please provide as much or as little of the following information as you’d like.



My poetry press:  http://grandmamosespress.com/

Books for sale: my most recent chapbook The Sickness Suite is available here:  http://grandmamosespress.com/

Thank you so much for interviewing me!

Let me share my newest poem, replete with an actual catfish:

Last Day in Alabama

Grass snake in the shower,
a turtle behind the fire house
and two friends in Oregon
stuck in jail. Imagine if
the last thing you ever felt
was the grip of a spider web.
With sausage on the line
Sylvia reels a catfish
up from the lake bottom.
We can't get the hook
out of his mouth. He grins
and takes matters into his own
razor fins, Papa passes out,
toddler blood pools on the dock
and that snake—that pulsing rivulet
that slid over my feet in the shower—
we locked him in the tackle box
for Sylvia to see in the morning
but somehow in the night
he jimmied the latch and broke free.



Tuesday, July 8, 2014

INTERVIEW: ANKUR van der WOUDE


Name?
Ankur van der Woude

Age?
Thirty-six

Location?
Melbourne, Australia

How long have you been writing?
I started at the age of twelve, writing poetry & short stories.

Do you have a specific writing style?
I tend towards lyrical prose & character-driven stories.

Do you write as a career?
I don’t think I’d do well as a professional author. I write for pleasure, for the sheer joy of being inspired. If I had to write to pay off the mortgage, the stress would kill any creativity I have.

Do you write full-time?
Alas, there’s that pesky mortgage, so I have to fit writing around a day-job.

What do you consider to be your greatest accomplishment as a writer?
I just won a prize, which was very reassuring.

What is your ultimate goal as a writer?
I’m not sure ... is world peace too ambitious? Maybe breaking down the distinction between “literature” & “genre fiction” would be feat enough.

What is your greatest challenge as a writer?
Viewing my work objectively, so I can see my failings & improve.

What projects of yours have been recently published?
A short story called Sarah2, which will appear in Little Raven Three.

What are you currently working on and what inspired this work?
With my second novel, Red Velvet, I’m learning how to plot an intrigue & create an unreliable narrator.

Where can we find your work?
My stories appear in:
Little Raven Three

How often do you write?
It depends on how inspired I am & how much time I’ve got. At most, one day a week.

How do you react to rejections?
Regardless of what you do, there’ll always be people who like it & people who don’t. The trick is not to please others, but to find the people who like what you are.

How do you react when one of your submissions is accepted for publication?
Outwardly you mightn’t notice much, but on the inside I’m living the dream.

What is your best piece of advice on how to stay sane as a writer?
I don’t think there’s a person alive who couldn’t benefit from a good therapist.

What are your favorite books?
Leopold von Sacher-Masoch, Venus in Furs
Anne Rice, Interview with the Vampire
Tanith Lee, The Blood Opera Sequence aka The Scarabae Trilogy
China Miéville, The Scar

Who is your favorite author?
I find most authors too multi-faceted to always tick all my boxes. It’s easier to talk about favourite works.

If you could have dinner with one fictional character, who would it be and why?
Carlisle Cullen from Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight Saga. Talking to someone like him – immortal & consummately compassionate – wouldn’t be much different from meeting a Buddha.

What is the greatest occupational hazard for a writer?
For me, it’s having to sacrifice my social life. Writing is unbelievably time-consuming.

What is your favorite word?
I love “gothic” because its etymology is rich & convoluted. It’s meant such a wide variety of things over time, & the relationships between those meanings are so tenuous.

What makes you laugh?
Me – I’m such a fool!

What makes you cry?
Seeing how powerless people can be to alleviate their own suffering.

What is your preferred drink while you write?
Rooibos tea with milk. If you drink enough of it, you might be able to skip a meal, & that means an extra hour at the writing desk.

Beach or Mountains?
Lothlórien

The Beatles or The Rolling Stones?
Nine Inch Nails

Jimi Hendrix or Frank Sinatra?
Etta James, At Last

Shakespeare or Bukowski?
Byron & Poe

Cats or Dogs?
Cats

Anything you’d like to share about your country or its people?
The term “masochism” is derived from Leopold von Sacher-Masoch’s name, thanks to his novel Venus in Furs.

Personal website/blog:

Saturday, July 5, 2014

INTERVIEW: KLYD WATKINS


Name?

Klyd Watkins (pronounced Clyde Watkins)

Age? (Feel free to ignore this question completely)

I'll be 72, September 7 this year (2014).

Location?

Nashville, Tennessee. And proud of it.

How long have you been writing?

50 plus years

Do you have a specific writing style?

As a paper poet, I do free verse—enjambment driven American 20th Century free verse. Ghost Trees and Five Speed and more than a hundred Radnor Lake Poems (Oohlunquodee Oohknolay) are in this style. In my free verse I want to control the pace of the voice sounding in the reader's head because I think that helps the reader thru my sometimes complicated syntax.

As a recording poet, and more than half of my poet life is recording, I have several styles: I improvise single track a Capella narrative song speech; I lay down bass guitar tracks, build songs up adding guitars and drums later; I borrow music from folk like Bill Chelf, Mike Panasuk, Keith White, Cinjun Tate and The Screamin' Cheetah Wheelies' pickers—add vocals, layers of vocals; I do vocal plus percussion and add multi-layers of my own voice, jam live with bands and record it. These approaches consume me now and this is delicious. The dance poem you heard, Catfish, was in the add vocals to borrowed music style, and so is my CD Harp All Made of Gold partially.

Do you write as a career?

I haven't made much money in books or records.

Do you write full-time?

I am just this year fully retired, just a few months now, and I do get to spend a lot of time in the studio.

What do you consider to be your greatest accomplishment as a writer?

Probably the Poetry Out Loud series of the seventies. Since we were militantly anti-writing, mostly building those ten lp's thru individual and group improvisation, without even written notes, it is not my greatest accomplishment as a writer but as a poet. I also developed my style of multi-tracking my own voice in this period. Those records are still collected today, and, in 2012, DE STIJL Records reissued the whole series on iTunes.

What is your ultimate goal as a writer?

To boogie forth and budden on.

What is your greatest challenge as a writer?

Learning the complexities of the recording process.

What projects of yours have been recently published?

See YouTube for some recent work. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Tc1rDeXNtI
It's been several years since I've had a chap book out. I'm looking for a publisher for a manuscript called “9 Narrations,” and I need to get all of Oohlunquodee Oohknolay, the Radnor Lake poems, out there someway too.

What are you currently working on and what inspired this work?

A blues, “how far away,” and a 9 minute porch story poem called “Jack and the 3.” I just finished “dance poem: Bruce in a Boat with his Saxophone.” The issue now is to learn how to balance work in all the modes. The issue is procedural. For example, I feel speaking a Capella improvisation needs to be the heart of my style and I may have over emphasized music lately. If I am where the muse wants me to be, the words come.

Where can we find your work?

Amazon has several items.

The Poetry Out Loud series is available digitally from iTunes, and the vinyl lps are available at DES STIJL records. http://destijlrecs.com/104113.html

CD Baby has both my CD's. It is the only place where Listen the Night is still available. http://www.cdbaby.com/Search/S2x5ZCBXYXRraW5z/0

Most of my books are out of print but:
5 Speed—the publisher has a handful of copies left. No website. $7.00 includes s&h from Charles Potts:the temple bookstore, POB 100, Walla Walla WA 99362.
Ghost Trees—I will send a copy to anyone who sends me a couple dollars to cover shipping. Email me at klydwatkins@gmail.com for snail mail address.
Harp All Made of Gold (CD) Again I will mail a copy to anyone who sends me two bucks for shipping.

How often do you write?
I record most every day.

How do you react to rejections?
Stoically. I have a lot of practice.

How do you react when one of your submissions is accepted for publication?

I am pleased. I don't submit individual poems anymore, except on request.

What is your best piece of advice on how to stay sane as a writer?

Expand yr capacity for truth.

What is your favorite book?
Too may to list. I am an old English Professor, and much of what I'd include would be classics, certainly Leaves of Grass, Emily Dickinson's poems, Pound was right about Golding's Ovid being a very beautiful book, Song of Songs, Psalms, Pictures from the Gone World, The Hobbit, on and on. To represent my contemporaries I will mention Pacific Northwest Spiritual Poetry edited by Charles Potts, which includes many of the best poets of my generation like Charles himself, Sharon Doubiago, Stephen Thomas, and many more.

Who is your favorite author?

Shakespeare? Wu Men? There's no way I can narrow it down to one, or ten.

If you could have dinner with one fictional character, who would it be and why?
Jack the Giant Killer. He seems like a good guy.

What is the greatest occupational hazard for a writer?

hope

What is your favorite word?
room” is my favorite word. But I am not in love with words so much as with syntax and syllables.

What makes you laugh?
everything

What makes you cry?
everything

What is your preferred drink while you write?
Water or tea, sometimes beer

Beach or Mountains?
both


Cats or Dogs?
both

The Beatles or The Rolling Stones?
both
Jimi Hendrix or Frank Sinatra?
both
Shakespeare or Bukowski?
both

Please provide as much or as little of the following information as you’d like.

Personal website/blog:

none at the moment. I'm proud of what I accomplished on my defunct website The Time Garden, but that is over and done.

Facebook profile or page:

I am on Facebook: Klyd Watkins.

Twitter profile: none

Other page(s) or profile(s):

Books for sale and/or press

See above.


Anything you’d like to share about your country, its people, or native animals?

My country would like to apologize for Ann Coulter. The bison in particular apologize for Ann Coulter.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

INTERVIEW: RUSSELL STREUR


Name?  Russell Streur

Age? 60

Location? Johns Creek, Georgia

How long have you been writing?  47 years.

Do you have a specific writing style?  Postmodern American I guess is the best title for the style.  I try to be short and quick about it, 14 lines is my preferred length for a poem, I like having to fit something into a certain construction. 

Do you write as a career?  No.  I analyze healthcare data.

Do you write full-time?  No.  I hardly write at all anymore.  My last period of concentrated ran from 2004 through 2010.  After that, I figured I had said what I needed to say.  Now, I run The Camel Saloon, which, as far as I can tell, can accurately be called the world’s original online poetry bar.  I edit a lot, and I stay in the conversation of poetry on a daily basis. Come visit:  http://thecamelsaloon.blogspot.com/

What do you consider to be your greatest accomplishment as a writer?  Creating The Camel Saloon.  Why is that writing?  Because I knew that it was time to start giving something back to the community of poetry and other free speech.

What is your ultimate goal as a writer?  From the time I was young, I wanted to be a minor American of the last half of the 20th Century.  It didn’t happen.   No matter.  Running the Saloon is where I ended up from poetry, and that’s a good place to be.  Personally, I am into other forms of self-expression these days—photography for one, I’ve had works hanging in Atlanta galleries off and one, mostly on, for the last couple of years, and have sold a few things off the walls.  That’s a high, I tell you.  And I’m teaching myself watercolors, except I’m not a very good teacher.  A picture, you know, is worth a thousand words.  Maybe it’s just poetry by other means.  







What is your greatest challenge as a writer?  Finding something new to say.  Something that isn’t just typing, something I haven’t said before.  That doesn’t happen too often these days.  

What projects of yours have been recently published?    Ten Pages Press published Table of Discontents in 2012.  The link to the pdf is here:


Discontents is part of a longer series of very blunt data sets meant to mirror the traffic stream of information and how it dehumanizes the individual by marginalizing language.  Here’s Number 17

Day of reckoning
Cusp of an apocalypse
Boiling over
Invalid entry
Long shadow
Phantom limb
Consumer stupor
Detour
Into the sea

“I am astonished at the moment,”
the commissioner said.
“It does not represent current progress.”

Wave of self-immolation
Data furnace.

The quotes in all the pieces are all real; the events surrounding the quotes are taken from corresponding TV sound bites or newspaper pages, usually other stories but within the same reachable frame of reference:  a time or a place.

       How do you react to rejections?  I laugh.  I react in a feigned shock:  Don’t they know who I am.  Rejection is part of the game.  You can’t hit every pitch.

       How do you react when one of your submissions is accepted for publication?  It’s still a big thrill for me. 

       What is your best piece of advice on how to stay sane as a writer?  Don’t fall in love with your own thoughts, your own personality, your own words.  Stay true to the image, and let the truth of the thing be the goal.  Staying sane as a poet is simple. Remember you are not writing for yourself.  You are writing for the benefit of, and from the mercy of, the Muse.

       What is your favorite book?  I really really like Whiskey River by Loren Estleman.  He’s a mystery writer.  River is about bootlegging days in Detroit.  Great writing and great characgters—Jack Dance as the lead gangster, and Connie Minor as a newspaper columnist.  It’s a marvelous read.

       Who is your favorite author?  Poet is Li Po.  American fiction writer is John Steinbeck.  Both hands down.  I’d like to have dinner with Doc over at the Western Biologic one night.  Sounds like it would be a grand evening.  

        What is your favorite word?  Blossom. 

        What makes you laugh?  The high and mighty falling.

      What makes you cry?  How often they don’t.

What is your preferred drink while you write?  These days, green tea.  It used to be vodka.  Real serious vodka drinking.  I’m done with those days.  The last year or so, I’ve started to enjoy craft beers.  A good Czech style Pilsner works for me.  Pilsner was created at the Citizens Brewery of Pilsen back around 1840.  Some say Town Brewery.  Peoples Brewery works for me.  That’s the ancestor of Pilsner Urquell on the shelves today.  Urquell means the ancient source, or the old ways.  So it’s town beer, the old way.  I have three bottles of Third Shift and an equal number of Endless Rivers in the refrigerator now.  Christ.  It’s nine o’clock on a Sunday morning.  All of a sudden I’m thirsty.

Beach or Mountains?  Mountains

Cats or Dogs?  Cats.

The Beatles or The Rolling Stones?  Stones.  Especially Exile on Main Street.  Especially Rip This Joint. Happy.  Tumbling Dice.  Love those tracks, the whole line-up.

Jimi Hendrix or Frank Sinatra?  Jimi in the small dose, Sinatra for the long haul.

Shakespeare or Bukowski?  Shakespeare, live, on Navy Pier in Chicago, at the Chicago Shakespeare Theater.  Nothing better.

      

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Ode to a Cat


Nancy May has haiku published in Haiku Journal, Three Line Poetry, Poetry Quarterly, Inclement Poetry, Twisted Dreams Magazine, Vox Poetica, Eskimo Pie, Icebox, Dark Pens, Daily Love, Leaves of Ink, The Blue Hour Magazine, Kernels, Mused – The BellaOnline Literary Review, Dead Snakes, Danse Macabre – An online literary Magazine, High Coupe, A Handful of Stones, Lyrical Passion Poetry E-Zine, UFO Gigolo, 50 Haikus, The Germ, Boston Literary Review, Be happy Zone, Every Day Poets, Cattails and Creatrix Journal. Haiku will soon appear in M58. She is a monthly contributor at The Camel Saloon and Poems and Poetry. She has reached The Heron’s Nest consideration stage twice and the Chrysanthemum consideration stage once. She is working on her first haiku collection.

Ode to a Cat

winter dawn
I wake up early
since you left

since you left
taking your last breath
I am here

I am here
our time has come
for us to part

for us to part
I come back home
to this empty house

to this empty house
the absence of you
I start to notice

I start to notice
we walk new paths
I understand now

I understand now
in this passing of time
spring dawn

Monday, June 16, 2014

Not Dark Yet / Tonight / Out There In The Sun


James Babbs continues to live and write from the same small Illinois town where he grew up.  He has published hundreds of poems over the past thirty years and, more recently, a few short stories.  James is the author of Disturbing The Light(2013) & The Weight of Invisible Things(2013).


Not Dark Yet

all day long I felt cold
kept pulling the hood of my sweatshirt
tighter around my head
but I never could seem to get warm
so the leftover vegetable soup
I brought home from my sister’s
earlier in the week
sounds pretty good tonight
I’ve got some crackers and
one bottle of wine
but I don’t have any beer
on my way home from work
I was thinking about
stopping and getting some
but decided I didn’t need it
not tonight anyway
I stir the soup with a plastic spoon
put the crackers on the table
before glancing out the window
I don’t see anything out there
earlier today
I drove past a cluster of
rusting farm wagons
abandoned near an empty field
and it reminded me of something
but now
I can’t remember what it was


Tonight

I’ve been drinking again
stumbling around the house
going from room to room
watching inanimate objects
changing into cartoons and
I go to the basement
because I hear noises and
I know someone’s down there
waiting for me in the dark
when I turn the light on
at the bottom of the stairs
she laughs at me
while I try to tell her
how beautiful she looks
reaching for her
lunging at her
but I fall against the couch
the carpet’s blue down here and
it reminds me of water
sometimes I know exactly
how it feels when you drown
I look around
but she’s already gone and
I remember one time
having a dream like this
floating on the surface
not knowing how it would end


Out There In The Sun

I no longer write poems
I no longer feel inspired
I just sit here at the kitchen table
listening to the radio
sometimes
I work crossword puzzles
trying to keep the words close
most of the time nothing happens
and I sit here waiting
drinking coffee and whiskey
while out there in the sun
the black cat prowls the grass
along the edge of the field
stalking some invisible prey
all the way to the end