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Literary Prestidigitations on Display

15 Questions: An interview with Alexis Ivy


Author:  Alexis Ivy

BlazeVOX book: Romance With Small Time Crooks

Read more on BlazeVOX  |    Buy it on Amazon   | Kindle Edition available at the Amazon Kindle Store

Bio: Alexis Ivy is a student of literature at Harvard University. Her poems have appeared in a variety of publications, including Main Street Rag, Tar River Poetry, Eclipse, and J Journal. She has worked in the kitchen of a homeless shelter, invented names for wallpaper designs, served as poetry editor of Coin Flip Shuffle, and is the operations manager for Poem Works: Workshop for Publishing Poets. She grew up in Boston Massachusetts, and currently lives there. 


15 Questions 

Tell me about your book.

Somewhat of a story of a girl, a poet getting into trouble, then how she got herself out of that trouble.  You could call it a hero’s journey, an adventure of the road with drugs and men and how far she can go with it until she grows out it.

What influenced this book?

My experiences are the raw bones, then stealing from all kinds of troublemakers, pretty much meaning the poets.  Poets like Bob Dylan, anything that came out of the Beats, Langston Hughes, Auden, Gwedolyn Brooks, Edna St. Vincent Millay, H.D. to name a few.

Where does this book fit into your career as a writer?
I can now take myself more seriously as a poet and be taken more seriously as a poet.

If you had to convince a friend or colleague to read this book, what might you tell them?
The thing you know I have been working on for the past ten years is finally here.

Tell me about the last literary reading you attended.

AWP—Jill McDonough, Kim Adonizzio. Great to hear the literal spoken voice of a poet, Always blows my mind.

When did you realize you we're a writer?
When I needed to find the thing that would save my life.

Tell us about your process: Pen and Paper, computer, notebooks ... how do you write?

Pencil in a journal.  Freewriting is how I get the start of a poem, then pick out the language from that mess on the page, then revise, workshop, revise, revise.

How do you handle a bad review of your work?

I haven’t had one yet, but I’ll let you know if I do.   Well, I guess here is something like a bad review.  I have a reading coming up at a library and I was told not to read the poem on page forty-five.  Censorship? Made me want to read it all the more. But I won’t. I took it as a compliment.  If that poem makes people feel uncomfortable, then I must be doing my job as an artist.  

Which writer would you most like to have a drink with, and why?
Charles Bukowski if I was still a drinker.  But these days John Steinbeck.  Meet a man who can write humanity so well.  Cup of coffee at a roadside diner somewhere out West.  Always wondered how fictional his fiction was.  But I wouldn’t ask him questions about his work, just want to get to know him, his humanity.

What's the biggest mistake you've made as a writer?

Asking advice about an unfinished poem from someone who isn’t a writer.

What's the worst advice you hear authors give writers?
Not sure, but the best advice is:  find a workshop and challenge yourself with form.

What scares you the most?

Losing my muse.

Where do you buy your books?
Ma and pa bookshops.

Who are you reading now?

Lucile Clifton.  Her old-old work.

What is your favorite TV show at the moment? 

Bonus Round
What do you want the world to know about you? Make it juicy ....  
I always play pocket deuces in poker.