Friday, April 18, 2014

INTERVIEW: TONY BATTAGLIA


 Tony Battaglia

Age?
 25.

Location?
 Kent, Ohio.

How long have you been writing?
 Hard to say. I can remember being on the school bus in fifth or sixth grade and losing a bunch of pages of something long and dreadful I was working on through the window. I would say I've been writing "seriously," that is, with something coherent in mind, since I was maybe 16 or 17.

Do you have a specific writing style?
 Probably, but I couldn't tell you what it is. I guess I tend to lean a little toward magical realism sometimes, my "guys" are Marquez (RIP) and Calvino and Pynchon and DeLillo and so on. The last two aren't really magical realists but they have that kind of feverish feeling to them, and I guess that's what I sort of look for in my own writing. But I'm a terrible judge of my own writing.

Do you write as a career?
 Not yet.

Do you write full-time?
 No, I have a completely unrelated full-time job. But there's a lot of downtime in that job and that's when and where I do most of my writing. In some sense, I'm really writing all the time. I'll often write whole pages in my head on my commute and then it's just a matter of writing them down when I get home.

What do you consider to be your greatest accomplishment as a writer?
This is a horribly pretentious answer, but it's every time I get past the blank page. I have a terrific ability to procrastinate and in some ways I think I actually really hate the act of sitting down and writing. So any time I can get myself to sit down and work is kind of a triumph, even if what I put on the page at that particular time is shit.

What is your ultimate goal as a writer?
 I guess it's really to finally decide at what point you get to call yourself a "writer," the answer to which changes as you go along. For a long time, for me, the answer was "once you get something published." And then it was "when you get paid for writing something"-- but I've moved away from that answer a bit now. At the moment my ultimate goal is to finish the novel I'm working on, which has existed in some form in my mind for a few years now. So it's just a matter of doing my best translation-work in getting it faithfully down on the page.

What is your greatest challenge as a writer?
 Again, just convincing myself to sit down and do the work. And then keeping the pages long enough once they're written to let them settle in a little and lose that stink that's on them at first-- not to throw them out as wasted time right away.

What projects of yours have been recently published?
 Lately I've been so busy putting together my magazine that I haven't submitted much. The last few publications are all flash-fiction pieces, a couple poems here and there.

What are you currently working on and what inspired this work?
 Right now I'm working on a novel. The working title is "Motherland, Fatherland", and it's a kind of alternate-history detective story that takes place in a universe where the Cold War is still going strong in 2013, in a town of Soviet refugees in Northeast Ohio. It was inspired by an Air Force project commissioned in 1957 called Project A-119, which, to make a long story short, was a plan to nuke the moon in order to scare the shit out of the Russians. Look it up, it's really scary shit.

Where can we find your work?
 You can find my story "Alla Marinara" in this issue of  Composite Arts Magazine: ( http://bit.ly/1ld7KMv ), two stories, "Star Dust" and "HiveDrive" at Red Fez: ( http://bit.ly/1jd08nF ) , and another, "Throwing Knife", at Linguistic Erosion: ( http://bit.ly/1thL7I7 ). Also two poems, "The best in the game" and "Two questions" at Eunoia Review: ( http://bit.ly/1i1OYPX ). Another poem, "Battalion", was published by Circa Review, but unfortunately that publication has since ceased to exist.

       How often do you write?
 I write something every day, even if it's just a few notes. With the novel, I'm in the middle of doing a lot of research right now, so it's a lot of reading and note-taking, plus writing parts of the novel that don't rely so heavily on the research.

       How do you react to rejections?
 I've developed a pretty thick skin. Obviously every rejection is a little disappointing, but especially now that I'm editing a magazine and see what the other side of it looks like, I understand that sometimes a piece, even if it's a good piece, just doesn't fit. And sometimes, of course, it's just a bad piece.

       How do you react when one of your submissions is accepted for publication?
 Well, it's satisfying, of course. I'm often surprised, because I rarely like my finished work.

       What is your best piece of advice on how to stay sane as a writer?
 Don't. What do you want to be sane for?

      What is your favorite book?
 Impossible to answer. Still, probably, "Catch-22".

       Who is your favorite author?
 That's a difficult question, because I use books like prescription medication. I would have to say that the most consistently inspiring to me, not just in his writing itself but also in his commitment to craft and in his seriousness about all of it, is Don DeLillo.

        If you could have dinner with one fictional character, who would it be and why?
 Nikola Tesla. Not the real Nikola Tesla-- the crazy superhuman wizard Tesla. Because I can't even say for sure that they're not the same thing.

        What is the greatest occupational hazard for a writer?
 Netflix.

        What is your favorite word?
 "Detritus."

        What makes you laugh?
 The publishing industry.

      What makes you cry?
 The publishing industry.

What is your preferred drink while you write?
 Gin and tonic.

Beach or Mountains?
 Mountains.

Cats or Dogs?
 I like both, but cats all the way.

The Beatles or The Rolling Stones?
 Historically, The Beatles. More recently, The Stones.

Jimi Hendrix or Frank Sinatra?
 Hendrix.

Shakespeare or Bukowski?
Isn't there a theory that they're the same dude? If there isn't, there will be soon.

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

Personal website/blog: No personal site at the moment, but I am co-editor and co-founder of flyovercountryreview.com, an online monthly of Midwestern art and literature.

Facebook profile or page: Personal: https://www.facebook.com/tony.battaglia.56

Twitter profile:
 @FlyoverReview

Thursday, April 10, 2014

INTERVIEW: SONNY GIORDANO

Name?
Sonny Giordano

Age?
28

Location?
Southern California. Specifically, Azusa.

How long have you been writing?
For about 15 years or so. I wrote my first poetry at 12 or 13, but began writing in earnest somewhere around 17. It’s one of the few things I’ve ever stuck with.

Do you have a specific writing style?
I’m not certain I do. I try to write in a style that will best serve the particular piece. Typically I’m very conversational, flowery but also relaxed. Intensely casual. Maybe I’ve “found my voice”, as it were.

Do you write as a career?
Not yet.

Do you write full-time?
I do write all the time. My job gets in the way often enough.

What do you consider to be your greatest accomplishment as a writer?
Anytime a reader says that they’ve connected to something I wrote. Anytime I hear that my writing meant something to somebody, made them feel or relate. That always feels like a great accomplishment.

What is your ultimate goal as a writer?
To reach people, to help in whatever many ways art can help. I want to give somebody the feeling I had the first time I read Cohen or Kerouac. Then, to acquire the time and freedom to spend all my days with nothing to do but write and read.

What is your greatest challenge as a writer?
To write, and not just daydream.

What projects of yours have been recently published?
My first published material is my book I’m Sorry I Was Late, But I’m Here Now which is coming out soon on Punk Hostage Press.

What are you currently working on and what inspired this work?
After ‘I’m Sorry I Was Late…” comes out, I’ll be doing readings for that, and immediately start compiling another manuscript. I’ll be behind the scenes at Punk Hostage. There are a lot of short stories I’d like to finish, and scripts I’d like to draft. What has inspired all these works is the same thing; something comes to me in the back of my head with a story to tell, and informs me that I’ve been chosen to tell it.

Where can we find your work?
sonnygiordano.com and the Sonny Giordano Facebook page are the best places for now, until the book is available online through Punk Hostage Press.

How often do you write?
I sit down in front of my computer and write as often as I can, which is usually a few nights a week and Sundays. But whenever something hits me, or I get a thought stuck in my head anytime of the day or night I’ll scribble it in a notebook or type it into my phone.

How do you react to rejections?
I don’t like taking “no” for an answer. But I’m not for everybody.

How do you react when one of your submissions is accepted for publication?
It’s pretty surreal. It’s a big dream of mine panning out to be published.

What is your best piece of advice on how to stay sane as a writer?
Don’t try to stay sane. Feel all of it, and don’t turn away.

What is your favorite book?
Damn. That’s tough. ‘The Black Dahlia’ by James Ellroy was the book that returned me to the love of reading and writing at a time when I had lost my way. For that it holds a special place in my heart. Reading it reminded me of how much I loved to read, it made me feel like I had to try and write again. Knowing a story, a book, could be that good woke me back up and re-ignited my drive and passion.

Who is your favorite author?
There’s so many. Leonard Cohen is my favorite writer to read.

If you could have dinner with one fictional character, who would it be and why?
Gregor Samsa

What is the greatest occupational hazard for a writer?
Either becoming or not becoming one with your art. I’m not sure yet.

What is your favorite word?
That changes often enough. Sometimes “horseshit” or “

What makes you laugh?
Sad things, painful things, scary things.

What makes you cry?
Damn near everything.

What is your preferred drink while you write?
These days it’s a cold club soda. Used to be Jim Beam and Diet Coke.

Beach or Mountains?
My porch.

Cats or Dogs?
My cat is dead, and so is my dog. So, both. But neither.

The Beatles or The Rolling Stones?
The Rolling Stones.

Jimi Hendrix or Frank Sinatra?
Sinatra.

Shakespeare or Bukowski?
Giordano.

Please provide as much or as little of the following information as you’d like.
Personal website/blog: sonnygiordano.com
Facebook profile or page: Sonny Giordano www.facebook.com/sonnygiordanowrites
I’m Sorry I Was Late But I’m Here Now www.facebook.com/imsorryiwaslatebutimherenow
Punk Hostage Press www.punkhostagepress.com/
Punk Hostage Press on FB www.facebook.com/PunkHostagePress
Twitter profile: @SonnysWords
Other page(s) or profile(s): Instagram; sonnygiordano
Books for sale and/or press: I’m Sorry I Was Late, But I’m Here Now (by Sonny Giordano) on Punk Hostage Press.

Anything you’d like to share about your country, its people, or native animals?
The natives here weren’t indigenous, and long ago they chose domestication. A hard domestication. Nothing looks like freedom, but they don’t actually care about being captive if you call the captivity freedom. There’s animals, but they’re just like the people, to be food or to be caged.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

shame / Secret Songs of Sirenum Scopuli 2


Miguel Sanchez is a Californian writer currently studying at The Writers Studio. At age 8 wrote "What's wrong about Hippies" a manifesto, followed by "Shut up Grandma" a rock n roll song that was immediately banned. He worked as a bike messenger, bagel baker, carpenter, art model, aviation electrician, photographer, EMT, roadie, and gaffed porn movies. He has graduated nothing and has no degrees.

He is directly responsible for saving 5 lives, performed CPR twice, survived 2 plane crashes. He has seen ball lightning and the North Pole.And now lives with Parkinson’s.


shame

shame comes as a doll  
special delivery,
to your home, to your office, 
finds you on vacation,
you try to ignore it 
you hope it just goes away
it never does
there is no ignoring 
the life like doll of your father 
in sagging superman 
underwear about to fall 
off except for the suspenders
his mouth open, a glory hole
like he’s the town crier
shouting out my secrets 
maybe perform some 
act publicly and blame me
he’s gonna say
i taught him this 
he’s not inflatable
so i can’t pop him and bunch him 
up into a garbage can
no way to cover him up 
fortunately this time i am alone
and i only stepped in dog shit
it is bad enough when he 
suddenly appears while I’m
drinking laughing being charming
everyone loving me
imagine him in bed with me
difficult to explain
and her 
waiting with the rejection slip
but today i am alone
with him and i carry him
down the street and try not to
look like i am hugging him
or have my hands to close
to his ass
all he has to say 
this time is 
you’re an idiot.


Secret Songs of Sirenum Scopuli 2

I answered an ad in the Berkeley Barb. The ad was for a young Filipina tv head nurse. The price was right for living on ramen. My favorite thing about the hobby is going to their houses and not knowing what you would find. I mean where and how they lived. The anticipation, if they were as advertised.

Out front no easement, a discarded couch tagged by the skinny shade of a palm. This tv was in a grease and garlic, dryer lint smelling apartment complex on the 3rd floor by the elevator.

I gently knocked. I didn’t want to alert the neighbors. There was some quiet rustling of fabric, a forced feminine voice said come in. Usually they come to the door and open it on themselves so they are hidden by the door and in order to see them, its dark inside all the time, you have to walk in. The door closes behind you and they come out from behind it. Now you are committed to being there.

She called from the middle of the room to come in. I wondered if I was being entrapped. Fuck it said my boner and we opened the door.

In a robe, wrapped in a blanket was a person sitting in a wheel chair. This IS interesting, I thought. I should turn around now.

“Her” face was hidden like her body, by long disheveled black hair. A bad wig.

“Hello, hon”.  Hello hon. She said that like a three syllable haiku and those words contained the world. A curtsey-less waltz of desire and rejection. She was shaped like a sad accordion, taped up and boxy and waiting to be squeezed.

My hi said I was still figuring it out. I must of spent more time than most. She said get comfortable and told me to put my clothes on the couch, the one with the cats and papers. I can’t tell you why I did it. I can’t. I started with my shirt and ended with my underwear next to the coat checking cats.

I stood in the middle of the room with my diminished chub. She seems to know everything. Come here she says. Her make up is well done cheap slut with blue eye shadow on brown skin.

I walk up to her. Her mouth is large, lips full, and a strong jaw line. I’m as close as I can get without straddling the chair, my junk pointing right at her face. I am expecting her to reach out and grab it with a handful of press-on nails.

She says, straddle the chair. I do. I say i want to see you and I open her blanketed robe. Bolt-ons as I expected but she had flippers for arms and hands. Thalidomide.

I was thinking about her flippers when she began taking me in. It was like surrendering to death. I was shocked but felt warm and safe as everything I felt about the world seemed to melt. I caressed her head and ran my fingers through her hair. She let out a little moan. She wasn’t wearing a wig.

I began to gently thrust, a mumbled uh huh. Then the sound of bump and grind blues guitar coming from behind a bedroom door. It wasn’t the radio and we weren’t alone.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

INTERVIEW: DAVID S. POINTER


Name? My mother named me Scott David Pointer. The attending nurse scribbled down David Scott Pointer on the birth certificate. I have been Scott or David every since then. In the service a few people called me Pointman.

Age? (Feel free to ignore this question completely) Timeless small press phantom both online, print and audio every once in a while. I was born in 1962 in Kansas City, Missouri.

Location? I am currently residing with my two daughters in Murfreesboro, TN.

How long have you been writing? In inner spirit miles-not long enough.

Do you have a specific writing style? No. I am open to whatever the muse guides me to do.

Do you write as a career? I live in a land down under called the American small press. Every once in a while my writing goes over seas through online channels or postal mail.

Do you write full-time? I juggle the writing duties through child care, pet care, full time employment, full time unemployment, part-time online work, volunteer work, personal injury and whatever else the years and decades throw at me.

What do you consider to be your greatest accomplishments as a writer? A Midwestern Book Reviewer once wrote that my poem “Poverty Grants The Exclusive” was one of the greatest and most powerful poems in history. Beyond that, persistence in a marginalized field is tough. Let me explain further, hopefully to help some young writers to keep going or refrain from suicide. In 2012, I was asked to serve as an advisory panel member at “Writing For Peace.” The organization teaches young people 13-19 to write for world peace.. That was one of the nicest things that ever happened to me.

What is your ultimate goal as a writer? I try to pan for gold by having the next masterpiece roll out of the barrel of my ink pen. I try for broader readership and to help your writers when I can.

What is your greatest challenge as a writer? Accepting and thriving over the course of a lifetime that I am working in a highly marginalized field.

What projects of yours have been recently published?  I have recent work included in:

Proud to Be: Writings By American Warriors, Volumes I & II
The Southern Poetry Anthology Series for Georgia and Tennessee, Volumes V&VI
The Bukowski Anthology
Poe-It Anthology
Serial Killers , Volumes II & III (Tres Tria)
Noir Erasure Poetry
Songs of the Raven
Cellar Door, Volumes I & II
Poiesis Review #6
and many others

What are you currently working on and what inspired this work? I just finished a autism/Sci-fi/horror themed poem for consideration in a fund raising anthology for autism. The theme was selected by the publishers. I have known autistic people in the past. I also sent some new work to “Alternating Current” for consideration in a new Native American themed journal the press will be putting out. I have tried to work with or assist First People or their issues and causes when I can.

Where can we find your work? Hopefully, on your bookshelf or reading table.

       How often do you write? I strive for daily writing. Sometimes other things do get in the way-even Major Depression that can keep me my pencil tip off the edge of the paper for a while.

       How do you react to rejections? I probably have experienced every emotion under the rainbow. In the early years, I wasn’t sending much work out. Then when a rejection arrived-it was often pretty devastating. Eventually, I wised up a little bit and had more manuscripts under consideration. Then I had a number of acceptances to go along with the rejections and it made it easier to keep moving forward with the ink pen.

       How do you react when one of your submissions is accepted for publication? Sometimes, I still get elated, but often I just foot solider on. I get a lot of enjoyment out of the process of writing these days.

       What is your best piece of advice on how to stay sane as a writer? Usually, nobody tells or may not know what is going on. When the word “marginalization” is used that’s often the entire explanation. Nobody explains to a kid all the changes that have occurred in society to get his/her chosen art form to the marginalized land. For one hundred years or so, the independent newspapers were bought up and put out of business. These papers often had a poetry tradition. New inventions such at movies, TV, radio, videos, computers and other things came along. Academic poetry was elevated and the range of acceptable topics that qualify as literature in narrow. If you know this and more-it’s easier to mentally dig in for the long haul.
 A hundred years ago the certain elite started buying up the little independent newspapers and taking them over or putting them out of business. These little papers often ran poetry or political poetry. Moreover, in the major newspapers, Ed Guest was about the last major political poet. After that advertisers were successful in keeping political poetry out. In the 1960s and 1970s this process repeated itself in the “alternative weekly” type papers for the most part.
 Edward Bernays started to help shape public opinion through advertisings. After that many more followed into what exists of the corporate media today.  All of these factors and more shape what is sold or ignored in today’s marketplace. Bernay’s wrote some books that poets or writers might examine. “Propaganda” was one of them. Bernays’ was also successful at selling the American public his uncle Sigmund Freud and getting American women to smoke in large numbers.

       What is your favorite book? Les Miserables by Victor Hugo

       Who is your favorite author? I tend to like countless small press poets. So many of them are doing wonderful work…..In the last 6-8 years a lot of my poetry heroes and/or friends have passed on, so; it has been tough. I guess if I reader was new or lived overseas-he/she might not be familiar with some of these folks: Wilma Elizabeth McDaniel, Joe Speer, Dave Church, Dave Christie, Ed Galing, Kell Robertson, Todd Moore, Hugh Fox, Norbert Blei and others. One Berkeley Painter/Haiku poet that I met was named Walter Liggett. Walter ended up sending me a book that his late sister, Marda had written. The book was entitled “Stopping the Presses” by University of Minnesota Press. It focused on the murder of Walter Liggett Senior  a famous newspaperman in the 1930s by organized crime. Walter Liggett II passed on a few years back

        If you could have dinner with one fictional character, who would it be and why? Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Raven.” I’d like to understand the blessed darkness a little better. I’ll bring the night crawlers and road or mansion kill.

        What is the greatest occupational hazard for a writer? Ongoing “Social Construction or Deconstruction Zones” that don’t include small press poets as part of the new blueprints.

        What is your favorite word? Yes! “Accepted” is a close second.

        What makes you laugh? Charles Ries and Catfish McDaris poems and stories.

      What makes you cry? A lot of things in the world bring me down. In poetry seeing elevated writers getting paid for their silence.

What is your preferred drink while you write? Coffee. In earlier years, the harder stuff led to fewer poems seeing completion, and getting into the mail for consideration.

Beach or Mountains? Cliffside at the beach.

Cats or Dogs? A cat on my lap watching dogs romp around the yard. Both are well represented in the online videos that bombard the mail.

The Beatles or The Rolling Stones? Later Beatles. Earlier Stones. Actually back in the day-all those charting artists had a lot of talent. In addition to The Beatles and Stones I listened to Black Sabbath, Doors, Uriah Heep, Led Zeppelin and Deep Purple

Jimi Hendrix or Frank Sinatra? Hendrix! I agree with folks in the past who thought “All Along The Watchtower” performed by Jimi Hendrix and written by Dylan was one of the most magical songs in rock history.

Shakespeare or Bukowski? Both of these writers made me want to enter and keep writing in the poetry world!


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

Personal website/blog: None

Facebook profile or page: David S. Pointer

Twitter profile: @dspointer

Other page(s) or profile(s): None

      Books for sale and/or press

Beyond Shark Tag Bay-Soon to Be Released: Blurb Books online
Bookmobile: From The Library of Jesus Crisis coming from “Crisis Chronicles Press”
Oncoming Crime Facts available at www.lulu.com
The Psychobilly Princess available at www.lulu.com
Sinister Splashplay available at www.lulu.com
Sundrenched Nonosilver available at www.blurb.com
Warhammer Piano Bar available at www.lulu.com


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

Well, the opossum is the only animal that I know of-native to North America that can hang from it’s tail upside down.
      

Thursday, March 13, 2014

My Magnum Opus (Swedish & English)

This poem was in Steel Toe Review #3 & chosen as The Best of the Net for 2010. Written by Catfish McDaris & translated by Janne Karlsson from Linkoping, Sweden.



Mitt magnum opus

Medan jag målar
tänker jag på

Van Gogh, när han målar
solrosor och irisar

Degas, när han målar ballerinor

Cesanne, när han målar frukt

Gauguins tahitiska kvinnor

Frida Kahlo, hur hon fångar sorgen

Neruda & Li Po, hur de målar
med ord

Jag undrar om någon
av dem någonsin

målat ett badrum
med vanlig
vit latex.

My Magnum Opus

As I paint
I think about

Van Gogh painting
sunflowers & irises

Degas painting ballerinas

Cezanne painting fruit

Gauguin’s Tahitian women

Frida Kahlo capturing sadness

Neruda & Li Po painting
with words

I wonder if any
of them ever

Painted a bathroom
with ordinary
white latex.

 

Monday, March 3, 2014

Watering the Plant / And the Music Surges



James Babbs

My story Hey Dave was published in November at GoReadYourLunch.com.  I continue to live and write from the same small Illinois town where I grew up.  I have published hundreds of poems over the past thirty years, both, in print and online.  I am the author of Disturbing The Light(2013) & The Weight of Invisible Things(2013).

Watering the Plant

I was watering the plant
I keep in the window
the one my mother gave me
before she moved away
when it suddenly occurred to me
I hadn’t heard anything from you
in a really long time
how long had it been
I tried to remember
pulling some dead leaves loose and
holding them in my hand
gazing out the window
trying to find the answer
but seeing only the bare trees
beneath the harsh gray sky
miles of empty fields
waiting for another spring


And the Music Surges

right around four and
I’ve finished drinking the coffee
left over from this morning and
I’ve got Neil and Crazy Horse
cranked up in the other room
and the music surges and grinds
and everything sounds so long ago
but keeps getting closer all the time
and I’m not sure why
but it reminds me of something
my father once told me
about how it felt getting old
the way his body kept changing
and how he could no longer do
the same things he did before
but he told me how strange it was
because in his mind
he still felt young
he felt like he hadn’t changed
and at the time
I wasn’t sure what he meant
and the music surges and grinds
and the sun bleeds red and gold
when it’s going down
and I back away from the table
I think I understand now
what he was talking about