Friday, December 27, 2013

INTERVIEW: ALEXIS RHONE FANCHER


Name? Alexis Rhone Fancher

Age? (Feel free to ignore this question completely) Thanks, ignored.

Location? Los Angeles, CA   U.S.A.

How long have you been writing? I’ve always written. Been writing “seriously” since 2008.

Do you have a specific writing style? I hope not.

Do you write as a career? Yes.

Do you write full-time? Yes.

What do you consider to be your greatest accomplishment as a writer? Being told that a poem I’ve written has made a difference in someone’s life, that they’ve saved it, or passed it on, that it makes them feel less alone.

What is your ultimate goal as a writer? To get it right.

What is your greatest challenge as a writer? Getting it right.

What projects of yours have been recently published?  I have a book of my erotic poems that I’ve just begun sending out to publishers. I will keep you posted.

What are you currently working on and what inspired this work? I’m currently working on a chapbook of poems about my son, who passed away from cancer at the age of 26. I’ve been fortunate to have one of those poems published in Rattle, and two more just published in The MacGuffin. I also have two additional chapbooks in the works, one inspired by gangster life with my second husband, the other a lesbian memoir.

Where can we find your work? www.alexisrhonefancher.com , lapoetrix.com
or just Google me. You never know what might come up. There was this Latvian site that translated my poem, “Phoebe’s Vagina,” into Latvian, then translated it back into English. I’m still trying to get it taken down. Google won’t return my calls.

       How often do you write? Every day, a minimum of 4 hours a day, usually more like 8. People look at me incredulously when I give them that answer. I always ask them: How many hours a day do you do your job?

       How do you react to rejections? I learn from them. I’ve been rejected by PANK at least five times. It took me four tries before I got into RATTLE. It has made me a far better writer.

       How do you react when one of your submissions is accepted for publication? I celebrate each acceptance. I’ve been known to let out a yelp and do the happy dance when something particularly wonderful shows up, like the acceptance of a poem by a cool journal or magazine. I keep a Submissions notebook, and each acceptance is highlighted in yellow. It’s a happy color.

       What is your best piece of advice on how to stay sane as a writer? Keep writing. Have at least one person whom you trust to give you honest feedback about your work. Listen to him.. Don’t consider anything you write “precious.” Invest in a professional editor, and listen to what she tells you. Believe in yourself. Submit weekly. Keep writing.

       What is your favorite book?  Play It As It Lays, Joan Didion. Poetry book: Matthew Dickman’s Mayakovsky’s Revolver.

       Who is your favorite author? Poet: Dorianne Laux. Author: Ernest Hemingway

        If you could have dinner with one fictional character, who would it be and why? Chance Gardner in Kosinski’s “Being There.” I admire his philosophy of life, and I, too, like to watch.

        What is the greatest occupational hazard for a writer? Complacency. And FaceBook.

        What is your favorite word? Ankle.

        What makes you laugh? A good comedian(ne).

      What makes you cry? A bad movie that had great potential. Like “Lovelace.”

What is your preferred drink while you write? French Roast Coffee, cream, no sugar.

Beach or Mountains? Beach.

Cats or Dogs? Cats.

The Beatles or The Rolling Stones? Stones

Jimi Hendrix or Frank Sinatra? Jimi

Shakespeare or Bukowski? Bukowski


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

Personal website/blog: www.alexisrhonefancher.com     www.lapoetrix.com

Facebook profile or page: https://www.facebook.com/alexis.fancher


Twitter profile: Alas. Don’t tweet. Should I?

Other page(s) or profile(s): Most recent bio:

Alexis Rhone Fancher is an L.A. based poet/photographer whose work can or soon will be
found in Rattle, Fjords Review, The MacGuffin, Deep Water Literary Journal, BoySlut,
HighCoupe, Gutter Eloquence, GoodMen Project, Bare Hands, Poetry Super Highway, The
Juice Bar, Poeticdiversity, Little Raven, Bukowski On Wry, numerous anthologies, and elsewhere.
Her photographs, published world-wide, include a spread in HEArt Online, and the covers of
Witness and The Mas Tequila Review. A member of Jack Grapes’ L.A.Poets and Writers
Collective, Alexis was nominated for two Pushcart Prizes in 2013. She is poetry editor of
Cultural Weekly. www.lapoetrix.com


      Books for sale and/or press: To Follow…

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

Big city kitty. Native Los Angelina. In love with my city. Patient with my country. Enamored of all things erotic, exotic. Loft-dweller. Into denim, cashmere (usually together), leather jackets, expensive handbags, tall boots, 800 thread count sheets. Compulsive storyteller, street photographer, lover of good food, good poetry, burlesque, jazz, Sally Mann, Walker Percy, Robert Mapplethorpe, Marc Chagall, Patti Smith, Buneul, Ellen Bass, Marie Howe, Anne Sexton, Sharon Olds, Charlotte Rampling, Truffaut, Sebastian Delgado, Miles Davis,Catherine Deneuve, Frank Zappa, Eric Dolphy, The Dickman Twins, Natalie Diaz, Donna Tartt, Mary Ellen Mark, Nan Goldin, blackberries, raspberries, Godzilla, and almost all things Japanese; tireless champion of in-your-face artists, cultivator of life-long friendships, glass always brim full kinda girl. Happily married. Fresh out of excuses. Living my version of the perfect life. Full-time artist. Just like I always pictured it.

My only child, Joshua Dorian Rhone, passed away after a valiant fight with a rare cancer, epitheliod sarcoma, in 2007. He was twenty-six, movie-star handsome, smart, funny, invariably kind; there were hundreds of people at his funeral, spilling out of the chapel, onto the lawn. I’ve written about him for many years, about the ache of missing him, but never read those poems at readings and never submitted them for publication until 2013, when a good friend convinced me it was time to share them. I was very reticent - for two reasons; in the past at readings, when I’d read anything but the erotic poems I am known for, people were disappointed. And also because these poems were so personal. I’m much more at home writing about my vagina and my sexual escapades than I am writing about my humanity and my loss.

In September Rattle published “Over It,” about the aftermath of my son’s death. In December The MacGuffin published “Snow Globe,” and “The Mahogany Funeral Urn.” The “Dead Kid” poems were making their way in the world. People tell me they are moved by these poems, that they feel less alone having read them. I read ten of the poems at the Rattle reading in November. So many poets and friends showed up, it was SRO; people were in tears. I will not do another reading like that. Way too personal. Way too hard. Give me Louboutin heels over dead children any day.

I am working on a chapbook that will consist of ten poems about Joshua. I’m calling it “The Dead Kid Poems.” A little humor never hurts.

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I’ve been poetry editor of Cultural Weekly since October of 2012. I’d been made aware of them about a year before that, by Jack Grapes, and read the poetry feature every week. My predecessor, Wendy Rainey, had terrific taste in poetry, proven when she accepted two of my pieces for publication in September of 2012.

One of the perks of my job is working with publisher, Adam Leipzig, one of the most creative minds on the planet, and talent like Tod Hardin and Ethan Bearman, who make Cultural Weekly Radio such a delight. Being poetry editor has given me the opportunity to meet and publish poets I believe in, both new and established. We are by invitation only, no unsolicited submissions, please! But during July and August we sponsor a poetry contest where everyone is welcome to submit their best work. This year we received over 300 poems and our winners came from Malaysia, Japan, Ireland, as well as all over the U.S. We’re looking forward to next year’s submissions, which open July 1st, 2014.

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I studied with the brilliant poet, Jack Grapes, for five straight years. He taught me how to write. His “Method Writing” is simply the best writing book ever written. His methods are kind but the curriculum is rigorous and bears fruit if you’re willing to work hard and “just do the exercises.” He’s also one of the best actors around, and plays a mean Will Shakespeare. Jack mentored and nurtured me as an artist. He’s bigger than life. Much bigger.

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As far as my love for Hemingway and Didion, it is the love of the clean, spare prose that each of them writes so well. As a poet, I want to tell the most with the least, and I have learned much from both of these writers. It’s not even what they write about - he’s a misogynist and her subject matter is pretty much always a downer. But they speak in clear, true sentences, and that gets me wet.

Jerzy Kosinski was a good writer, simple, but not on the same level as Hemingway or Didion (imo). In the character of Chance Gardener he created a wholly fabricated, yet entirely possible being who could morph into anyone/thing you wanted but was at the same time, incapable of subterfuge. Kind of cool.

In Gilded Frame Paperback


My Ekphrastic poem, “Staying Put.”
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Of Sun and Sand Paperback – August 9, 2013


My poem, “Sibling Rivalry.”

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Poised in Flight Paperback – March 28, 2013


My poem, “Flight.”
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The Mas Tequila Review #6: "Poetry for the rest of us." Paperback – February 13, 2013



My poems, “Love Song For My Baby,” and “Let’s Be Happy Now.”
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