Andrey Gritsman

A native of Moscow, Andrey Gritsman emigrated to the United States in 1981. He is a physician who is also a poet and essayist. Andrey has
published five volumes of poetry in Russian. His poems, essays, and
short stories in English have appeared or are forthcoming in over 60
literary journals, including Pirene’s Fountain, Forge, Emprise Review,
Amarillo Bay, Mad Hatter’s Review, Foliate Oak, decomP, Gloom Cupboard,
New Orleans Review, Two Cities Review, Verdad, Whistling Shade, The
Writer’s Chronicle,
and The Doctor T.J. Eckleburg Review.

Black-And-White Photos, Caedmon’s Song, Colosseum, Scuba Diving, and Warning, Volume 6, Issue 1

Cameron Morse

Cameron Morse’s poems have been published in numerous magazines, including New Letters, South Dakota Review, TYPO, and Bridge Eight. His first collection, Fall Risk, won Glass Lyre Press’s 2018 Best Book Award. Morse’s second, Father Me Again, is available from Spartan Press. His chapbook Coming Home with Cancer belongs to Blue Lyra Press’s Delphi Poetry Series. 

Flying Snail and Magnificent Monarchs!, Volume 6, Issue 1

Interview

Jeanne Lutz

Jeanne Lutz grew up on a small dairy farm in southern Minnesota, attended the National University of Ireland Galway, and spent two years in Japan. A Pushcart Prize nominee, Best-of-the-Net nominee, and Loft Mentor Series fellow for poetry, she is the author of the chapbook Hearts and Harrows and her poetry has appeared in The Missouri Review; NonBinary ReviewConduit and elsewhere. She divides her time between the family farm and working at the Minneapolis Institute of Art.

Nova’s Poem; Lost in Darwin; Heart, I’m Sorry I Did This to You; In Good Thunder for a Family Wedding Where the Groom sings ‘Purple Rain’ to His Bride; and Taper vs. Fade, Volume 6, Issue 1

Interview

Marguerite Maria Rivas

Marguerite Maria Rivas’s work has been published in numerous journals including The America’s ReviewWaterwaysThe Mas Tequila Review, and Quarterday Review. The author of two books of poetry, Rivas is an Associate Professor at Borough of Manhattan Community College and is at work on a new volume of poetry, Rapid Transit.

In Catherine’s Study, That Blue Day, and Contingencies of a Summer Night, Volume 6, Issue 1

Interview

Kristin Kowalski Ferragut–Interview

Describe your creative space. Do you work at home, in public spaces, etc.?

I write primarily in the Nook of my bedroom looking out on a hill and four thin pines I pretend I own, although it’s really just the back of my condo. I find I write particularly well when I go away to a remote airbnb or retreat. I dream of finding a more permanent, isolated writer’s space, maybe a cabin or shed in the woods. 

I also enjoy writing in coffeehouses. One of my favorite things to do with friends is to meet to “parallel work,” which largely means to hang out and ignore each other between smiles and short conversations. Not all of my friends enjoy this pastime. 

What kind of materials do you use? Do you write by hand or type? What is your favorite writing utensil?

I primarily type on my laptop although I love pens, especially colored, erasable gel pens these days for outlines and notes.

What is your routine for writing?

I’d like to say I wake up early every morning and write; that is usually my plan and sometimes a habit, but my routine is more typically random. I’m typing these responses at 3:00 am after drafting a poem. I see nights like this as writing between two naps.

How long have you been writing? When did you start writing?

I started most of my creative writing after college, when I began identifying as a writer. I lived what I considered a good writer’s life–traveling and collecting experiences, but not spending enough time writing or editing. I rarely wrote when my children were little, but started writing seriously in 2015. My children, now 11 and 16, are supportive, which helps inspire me.

Who is your intended, or ideal, audience? Who do you write for?

I know that I’m supposed to have an audience in mind, but I don’t. I have faith that most of what I put out there needs to be read by someone, but I don’t usually imagine who that might be. I write primarily for myself. At times, I might write something as a gift to someone, but even then, it’s my wanting to capture feelings, ideas, and phrases primarily to study, understand, or celebrate for myself.

What inspires you to write? If you are blocked, what do you do?

I’m a better person when I write. It’s how I process the world and it helps keep me centered. So any manner of hardship or crisis inspires me to write. As Philip Roth said, “Nothing bad can happen to a writer. Everything is material.” With that said, when life is too chaotic or rushed, it’s hard to find the mental space and stillness to write. At those times, things that help include a day off, a walk in the woods, and a good scented candle.

What other things do you do besides writing? Do you dance or play golf, etc.?

I paint a few pictures every summer to enter in the county fair. I sometimes imagine I’ll keep it up year round, but never carve out time for it. I play guitar. I’ve been playing on and off for years, but got serious with it last spring and am nearing competent now. I’m working on writing songs too.

What is your favorite part of the creative process?

My favorite part of the creative process might be the window-staring. Also, it’s wildly satisfying when I struggle with a piece and think it may be one to give up on, but stick it out and Voila! It comes together. Usually my writing is slow and steady, and I have more than my share of work I’ve trashed, but sometimes it comes together in the end. How it does sometimes astounds even me. And sometimes it’s easy, the work just writes itself, which calls to mind all sorts of mysterious notions I enjoy musing about.

I always feel grateful to be writing, even when it’s not going well, even when it’s difficult. I never take for granted the time and space and presence of mind writing requires. It’s all a great luxury.

What is your advice to aspiring writers?

When I reflect on why I produced so little in my 20s, despite having lots of time, I conclude that I cared too much about what other people thought and took feedback poorly. I now regularly seek feedback, and it consistently improves my work, but I don’t take it too seriously. So I guess that would be my advice to aspiring writers, not to take any of it too seriously–criticisms, expectations, yourself. They’re only words after all, easily deleted, trashed, or erased.  

Check out Kristin‘s work in Volume 6, Issue 1.

Kristin Kowalski Ferragut

Kristin Kowalski Ferragut has been a featured poet at local readings including Words Out Loud at Glen Echo, Evil Grin in Annapolis, DiVerse Gaithersburg Poetry, and Third Thursday Poetry Reading in Takoma Park. Kristin participates in local poetry and prose writing workshops and open mics, in addition to reading, hiking, teaching, playing guitar, and enjoying time with her children. Her work has appeared in Beltway Quarterly, Nightingale and Sparrow, Bourgeon, and Mojave He[Art] Review among others.

Midlife Legacy, Path of Lightning, Teacher Training, Change Takes Energy, Whispers Enough, and The One There Behind Me, Volume 6, Issue 1

Interview

Jennifer Makowsky–Interview

Describe your creative space. Do you work at home, in public spaces, etc.?

I usually write at home in a chair that’s situated in front of a row of windows that go from floor to ceiling. It’s an odd place to write since it’s in the living room and there is foot traffic around, but I can’t resist the light coming in.

What kind of materials do you use? Do you write by hand or type? What is your favorite writing utensil?

I write on my laptop. Once upon a time, I wrote in notebooks, but I have become a slave to the keyboard over the years.

What is your routine for writing?

I get up at 5:30 every morning to write before I go to work. The early hour is my opportunity to write before anyone else is up, before the bad news of the world has had a chance to seep in, and I still feel somewhat connected to a dream state. But none of this happens until I get my coffee, of course.

How long have you been writing? When did you start writing? 

I started writing as a kid. My first story was about my dog.

Who is your intended, or ideal, audience? Who do you write for?

I guess I would say anyone who has wrestled with feeling like they’re misunderstood, an outsider, or aren’t good enough.  

What inspires you to write? If you are blocked, what do you do?

Nature, music, and books inspire me most. Also people. The world is chock full of so many characters.

If I’m blocked I just vomit words on the page and take it from there. I think the most important part of creating anything is not being afraid of making a mess before making it into something palatable. I’d say I embrace my shitty first drafts.

What other things do you do besides writing? Do you dance or play golf, etc.?

I have a piano I toy with. I’m also a teacher, which allows for a lot of creativity.

What is your favorite part of the creative process? 

Watching something take shape after the initial word vomit–that point when you realize there’s something coming together in that mess you’ve just made.

What is your advice to aspiring writers?

Keep at it. I meet so many people who say they used to write. You don’t have to be good at first. You just have to do it and do it a lot.

Check out Jennifer‘s work in Volume 6, Issue 1.

Jennifer Makowsky

Jennifer Makowsky received her MFA in Creative Writing from The University of Arizona. Her work has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and has appeared in The Portland Review, Gargoyle, 2 Bridges Review, Pamplemousse, The Matador Review, and others. She lives in Tucson, Arizona, where she teaches English to adult refugees at Pima Community College. 

Tiny Rescues, What I Can’t Touch, and Bodies of Water, Volume 6, Issue 1

Interview

Susan Taylor Chehak

Susan Taylor Chehak is the author of several novels, including The Great Disappointment, Smithereens, The Story of Annie D., and Harmony. Her most recent publications include two collections of short stories, This Is That and It’s Not About the Dog, and a novel, The Minor Apocalypse of Meena Krejci. Her work has appeared in Green Hills Literary Lantern, Hawaii Pacific Review, Ragazine, The Minnesota Review, Moon City Review, Ducts, Crack the Spine, Pennsylvania English, The Chariton Review, Jet Fuel Review, Sliver of Stone, Limestone, The Literary Nest, and The Coachella Review.

Undoing/Undone, Volume 6, Issue 1

Interview