David Anthony Sam–Interview

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

Normally, I do my rewriting, revising, and submitting in our home office at a standup desk and on a PC. I have done first drafts and revisions on our porch, in hotel rooms, in restaurants, and outdoors. Years ago, when I owned a small music store, I learned how to rewrite (at a typewriter back then) through interruptions of customers−teaching me some discipline so that I could pick up where I left off.

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

Most of the time, I write first drafts with a Livescribe pen in a journaling notebook at night just before sleep. I like pen and ink and the Livescribe also captures the notebook in a PDF for backup. However, I have written first drafts on an iPad, a computer, on the back of scrap paper, and by speaking into a voice recorder, especially when driving.

For rewriting and revising, I began with a typewriter and now use a PC. I like the “cold type” to give me a certain distance from the wrong kind of ownership of first drafts.

What is your routine for writing?

First drafts are normally done in my nightly notebook with the Livescribe pen, though as I said above I have written them in multiple ways. I prefer to let the first drafts “marinate” for at least a couple months before I go back to them for revision and rewriting. Sometimes a poem wants me to work on the revisions right away. However, I have fallen very far behind rewriting−I am working on 2010 journals now. I use text-to-speech on my computer (and sometimes iPad) with both male and female, US and UK voices to help me hear them better and improve my redrafts.

I then send rewrites off by email to one or two friends who are good readers and critics and use their responses to help improve the drafts. My wife, who is not “into” poetry, often serves as a representative reader when I want my audience to be more general.

My poems are never done−and some have gone through decades of rewriting and double-digit numbers of drafts. But I do reach a point where some seem ready for submission. Happily, very occasionally, a first draft is blessed by the Muse and is done when written.

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

I wrote my first poem in fifth grade and my first story when I was 10 or so. In high school, I began more seriously writing fiction and some poetry. I was definitely no prodigy. In college at the age of 18 (February 1968) I committed to being a serious poet, to writing and rewriting every day, and I managed to keep that up until the middle 1990s when I ran out of gas or time or faith. There was a 10-year hiatus when I worked on a doctorate, a marriage, and a career that paid. In 2004, I recommitted to the daily routine and have largely kept to it since.

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

I have two audiences in mind: (1) A very small one of those who love reading poetry enough to spend time with it and have the patience to read my more “difficult” verse. And (2) a general audience of those who might respond to my more “accessible” poems from time to time. I do agree with Whitman that good poets need good audiences, but poetry should not merely be for the select few.

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

I am seldom inspired to write but I am almost never blocked either. I force myself to the pen and PC. Often, I have been surprised by a poem that seemed initially a failure after I slogged through it. Working the craft and self-discipline (even when I have to drag myself kicking and screaming to the task) have gotten me through apparent “blocks” and felt exhaustion.

But I suppose you could say that walks in nature, reading other’s poetry, reading science and history, and mulling my own biography offer doorways that I find useful.

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

I chose to live a career of service in higher education administration and part-time teaching that ended in 2017 with my retirement. I still will occasionally teach. Visits to creative writing classrooms as a guest author invigorate me. I enjoy nature walking and walking in general, cooking, travelling, reading, photography, and a good glass of wine with my wife and with friends.

What is your favorite part of the creative process?

The surprise when I read one of my writings and ask “Where did that come from? It’s too good.”

The joy when someone reads a poem and responds in ways I could only hope for. Once I texted a wrong number out of state and stumbled on a person at the other end who actually knew I was a poet and had read and liked my work. That was amazingly serendipitous. And a few times a reader or listener at one of my readings told me how much an individual poem had mattered to them. In one case a young man told me that a particular poem had helped him through a rough time. How humbling and gratifying.

What is your advice to aspiring writers?

Read a lot of poetry and prose, not just in styles and forms you like. Be like an art student: copy those styles and forms and learn from them. Write, write, and rewrite twice as much. Don’t be discouraged by the naysayers, but also realize that your words are not gospel from the Fount and most times will need to be revised. Get to know some other writers who are generous−not all are−and share drafts with them. Submit when drafts seem ready−understanding that most will be rejected with little or useless feedback. Try not to take it too personally. Decide what is most important: getting published or writing what you must write. Keep submitting and learn what you can from acceptances and rejections. Realize that it is OK to want to be the next Shakespeare, Dickinson, etc. and strive for that−while knowing most of us will have poems and our names writ on water. Know that you will never feel that you have made it, that you are good enough. Keep writing anyway.

 

Check out David’s work in Volume 2, Issue 1, Volume 4, Issue 1, and upcoming in Volume 4, Issue 2.

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Gary Beck–Interview

  1. I work at home, or at Bryant Park
  2. I write by hand because I am a poor typist, and I use ballpoint pens.
  3. I’ve been writing for a long time in various cycles, determined by my work in theater when I focused on playwriting and translations of the classics.
  4. My intended audience is adults, ‘or older,’ ideally who enjoy issues, storytelling, and a commitment to literature.
  5. I have an urgent need to communicate with audience,s and I’m concerned with the state of the nation and the condition of the world. I have too much to do.
  6. I mentor some young people and play speed chess.
  7. The actual act of writing and the mental state when it just flows out of the pen.
  8. If it’s vitally important to you, persevere, no matter how you’re scorned or rejected. Never accept family or friends comments as objective assessment.

Check out Gary’s work in Volume 1, Issue 1, Volume 2, Issue 1, and Volume 3, Issue 2.

Daniel Barbare–Interview

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

I work at home. Mostly in the living room. But I have gotten to the point where I create while

I’m on the move.

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

Definitely the computer.

What is your routine for writing?

I hate to say it. But all day. All times.

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

Since 1981. 36 years.

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

Whoever will read it.

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

Almost anything, but when I get blocked I just work harder. Or clean the house. Mow grass.

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

Go to the movies. Travel locally.

What is your favorite part of the creative process?

Right when it clicks.

What is your advice to aspiring writers?

Love who you are, and love what you’re doing.

Check out Danny’s work in Volume I, Issue 2, Volume 2, Issue 1, and Volume 3, Issue 2.

 

 

Lisa Stice–Interview

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

I always carry a notebook with me, but I never write more than fragmented thoughts when I’m out and about. Most of my creating happens at home. I have notebooks all over those house, but most of my writing usually happens in the living room at my desk in the guest room.

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

All of the fragments and first drafts always happen in either a notebook or on some random scrap of paper, and I always use a pen (usually ballpoint, but sometimes fountain). All subsequent drafts happen on my computer.

What is your routine for writing?

My most productive time of writing is in the early morning when everything is quiet and feels fresh. My little dog usually lies next to my chair or at my feet when I write.

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

The earliest poem I saved was written in the third grade; it was about kit foxes. It wasn’t until undergrad, though, that I really began writing and started thinking of myself as a poet. Still, I didn’t submit anything and kept my poems basically to myself until I started my MFA over a decade later. It’s a little scary putting your heart out there for others, but as I’ve grown older, I’ve come to realize the sharing is what makes poetry powerful because it’s those deep feelings it contains that connect us all through the human experience.

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

My poetry often pulls from my life as a mother and Marine Corps spouse, so I suppose my writing speaks loudest to those audiences, but the themes also reach out to others who feel isolation, fear, worry, and all those other emotions we often feel we grapple with alone.

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

I’ve come to realize if I force myself to write what I want to write, I run into writers block more often. When I left what I need to write come out on the page, the poems come easily and plentifully. My inspiration comes from my day to day life. Prompts can help when the writing hits a wall, but the prompt only helps I think of it as a fluid thing that doesn’t bind my writing.

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

I love painting and dancing. My daughter is getting old enough to do more and more art projects and games, so those are becoming more frequent family activities in our home. I also do scent detection training and therapy dog volunteering with my dog.

What is your favorite part of the creative process?

It’s a toss up between the exhilaration of seeing something in the process of creation and seeing something get shared with others.

What is your advice to aspiring writers?

You are a unique individual who has a unique voice and experiences. If you write in your authentic style and voice about what matters most to you, all the deeper emotions within your writing will speak more clearly and connect with more people.

Check out Lisa’s work in the issue, Volume 2, Issue 1 and Volume 3, Issue 1.

 

Doug Bolling–Interview

 

  1. I work at home, usually in the same spot, favorite chair.

Though with sometimes a bit of roaming around room

To room in and out of shadows and sunlight, the coffee

And CDs helping. I like to think of Montaigne’s comments

About hiding away from the world’s distractions in his

Tower to trigger the writing. Once I lived in France for

A year and a half or so, thought it would be cool to

Scribble poems on scratch paper in the bistros along

The Left Bank—it didn’t work. Too many marvels

Going on table by table!

 

2. A pen begins it, carries on awhile then to the keyboard

Or typewriter. 0f course, it’s the mysterious little inner

Pen that drives the wagon.)

 

.       3.  No routine. It’s always something sudden, unexpected.

Once the spark comes it might go on for hours then dies

by its own rhythm.

 

  1. A long time.  Still remember with a shudder more or less

trying at age 11 or 12 to write a novel. Got maybe three

or four pages and gave up. But when I began again some years

ago I started with short stories then to poetry.

 

  1. (oops my cranky laptop won’t let me keep the left margin)

Just anyone who’s interested in joining the journey,

Preferably those who are already reading poetry, whether

Critically or for more or less innocent enjoyment.

 

  1. I believe it’s the absolute love of writing, wanting/needing to

Immerse in imagery, rhythm, how lines break, etc.

Blocking out happens often. Once, I tried to defeat it by

An act of will so to speak. Have since learned to let go,

Disappear. It comes when it comes, goes where it goes.

 

  1. Roaming, reading, getting out to rediscover the great green

Earth before it turns to cinders, connect with fellow sojourners.

 

  1. Hard to exclude anything much. Two moments do stand out.

 

  1. First, when an idea or image or line from another writer

(thinking here often of Pessoa, Lorca, Neruda) strikes

home and I have to do something with it. Then, later on,

the moments when the poem seems finally rounding out

and I get the confidence that I can bring it in.

 

  1. In another life I taught writing workshops and giving advice

went with the ice cream—but I back away from that now,

would rather leave it to others who know much more than I.

Something like figure out if writing is your love, your passion

And if it is go for it full speed, meaning both through the

Garden times and the blocks!  There may be wonders down

That rabbit hole.

Check out Doug’s work in the issues Volume 2, Issue 1 and Volume 3, Issue 1.

 

2016 Pushcart Nominations

I am so proud of our 2016 issues, and it was very difficult to choose only six pieces for the Pushcart Nominations. Congratulations!

A Quick Lunch from the Noodle Stand by Lisa Stice (Volume 2, Issue 1)

A Straight Line through the Labyrinth by Elisha Holt (Volume 2, Issue 1)

Into the Ease by Joshua Daniel Cochran (Volume 2, Issue 2)

Penny Altars by Teressa Rose Ezell (Volume 2, Issue 2)

Pinning by Lindsay A. Chudzik (Volume 2, Issue 2)

Spark Plugs by Scott Blackburn (Volume 2, Issue 2)

Lisa Stice

Lisa Stice is a poet/mother/military spouse. She is the author of Permanent Change of Station (Middle West Press, 2018) and Uniform (Aldrich Press, 2016). While it is difficult to say where home is, she currently lives in North Carolina with her husband, daughter and dog. You can learn more about her and her publications at lisastice.wordpress.com and at facebook.com/LisaSticePoet. @LisaSticePoet

A Quick Lunch from the Noodle Stand, Volume 2, Issue 1 (Pushcart Nomination)
When Your Substance Is Drained Away, Reduction, and Afternoon One Day When You Were Young, Volume 3, Issue 1
Interview
Judge of The Magnolia Review Ink Award, Volume 4, Issue 1
Book Release, Permanent Change of Station, and Review, Volume 4, Issue 2
Resolutions, Deliver Us, The Selkie, Eat, Not, and Pie Astronomy, Volume 5, Issue 1