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Literary Prestidigitations on Display

15 Questions: An interview with Deborah Meadows

 

BlazeVOX Interview with Deborah Meadows

 

Tell me about your book. What influenced this book?
 
Three Plays extends work I’ve had published as a poet by exploring argument, logic or absurdity, human frailty, and disintegrated categories. Guide Dogs: because I live close to city hall, I frequently walked over to Occupy LA, and that was tremendously attractive for its energy, original approaches to old injustices as well as current economic problems that press on us. Some Cars and Speech Acts with Trees both extend long time considerations of justice, violence, the role of art and knowledge.
 
 
 
Where does this book fit into your career as a writer?
 
This follows ten books of poetry and many years of teaching university courses with a progressive pedagogy, union work, and other social activism.
 
 
 
If you had to convince a friend or colleague to read this book, what might you tell them?
 
Convince? I might give a free copy, sit in a restaurant and read page 47-49 to my friend or colleague, might mention my own work as a cleaning lady as a younger person.
 
 
 
Tell me about the last literary reading you attended.
 
I am part of the Padua playwrights group, and for the past several weeks we had staged readings of our work (including my play published by BlazeVox Some Cars) in a nearby warehouse converted to living quarters where an actor has a studio area. All actors who generously gave of their time and talent were great, plus it was a chance to think about the writing, about a possible future production.
 
 
When did you realize you we're a writer?
 
I began as a small child but not until later did I think it possible, due in part, to social shaping along lines of class and gender. 
 
 
 
Tell us about your process: Pen and Paper, computer, notebooks ... how do you write?
 
Mostly pen and paper, then onto the computer.
 
 
 
How do you handle a bad review of your work?
 
You can send one because I haven’t seen something utterly damming. 
 
 
 
Which writer would you most like to have a drink with, and why?
 
Maybe a party of drinking ghosts could include Arkadii Dragomoschenko, César Vallejo, Samuel Beckett, Inger Christensen, and Italo Calvino. Their works are fascinating, their innovations in language, in the very definition of literature.
 
 
 
What's the biggest mistake you've made as a writer?
 
Maybe being too solitary even though I was very engaged politically outside of literary communities. Maybe that has changed, yet there is something ultimately solitary about writing for those who are condemned to take it very seriously.
 
 
 
What's the worst advice you hear authors give writers?
 
Maybe I don’t listen to such, because advice does not stand out as something I’ve heard from writers. I focus on their written works, and learn (or not) from those.
 
 
 
What scares you the most?
 
Not having enough time to do all the works I hope to complete in this life.
 
Where do you buy your books?
 
In recent years, I order many books online late at night when stores are closed – mostly I aim to buy direct from small press publishers themselves avoiding the goliaths in the book business. I use the library on campus and Link+ all the time, too.
 
 
Who are you reading now?
 
Parallel Presents: The Art of Pierre Huyghe by Amelia Barikin and The Radicant by Nicolas Bourriaud. I was really taken with the recent Huyghe “retrospective” at LACMA that is more a site-responsive re-creation than the usual plan for bringing together works across time that can be mounted in any city identically. This was an idiosyncratic array.
 
 
What is your favorite TV show at the moment? 
 
When not in downtown Los Angeles, my husband and I have a place in the mountains where we spend time. It is so remote there is no tv or cell service, so we bring dvd’s and are now midway through Treme having completed The Wire.
 
 
 
 

  

 

 

 

 

15 Questions: An interview with I Goldfarb

15 Questions For you to Answer:

Tell me about your book.
 
K: A 21st Century Canzoniere is a book of love poetry, inspired by Petrarch’s Canzoniere for Laura, but quite a bit longer. Most of the poems are sonnets, and the 590 poems (15 of which have been removed for privacy reasons) were written at a rhythm of nearly one per day over a bit less than two years.
 

What influenced this book?
 
The book tells the story of a chaste or “Platonic” love relationship between a professor around 70 and a beautiful graduate student in her early twenties. I first wrote one or two poems, then decided to write a cycle of ten, then a hundred, then Petrarch’s 366, and finally just kept going until my Muse broke off our relationship
 

Where does this book fit into your career as a writer?
 
It is a unique departure. As a professor I have written over a dozen books, but no volumes of poetry. I have written poetry before, some of which I am proud of, but after sending out some poems to magazines about 18 years ago and getting all rejections, I stopped thinking about publishing them. But the Canzoniere is far more poetry than I had written in my life until then. As I said in one of the poems, “In past lives I wrote poetry / you a poet have made of me.”

If you had to convince a friend or colleague to read this book, what might you tell them?
 
I honestly think this is a major work of poetry. It maintains a high level throughout and contains some beautiful lines and sequences. Above all, it is a unique work in the modern era; you have to go back to the Renaissance to find a volume of this length and quality dedicated to the glorification of the poet’s Muse.
 

Tell me about the last literary reading you attended.
 
I don’t go to many readings. We used to have a little group nearby populated largely by people of my age and social situation that met monthly in a little theater, and I would read a couple of sonnets there. Unfortunately the hostess of the group (something of a poet herself), who didn’t live nearby, lost the service of her assistant and decided to move the readings back to her home area, about 40 miles away, which put an end to my participation.
 

When did you realize you we're a writer?
 
I used to think of becoming a novelist, but never got beyond a novella. Poetry isn’t something I really thought much about as a career until now. But I have always written books of scholarship and “theory.”
 
Tell us about your process: Pen and Paper, computer, notebooks ... how do you write?
 
I used to write out everything by hand and have it typed up. After using a computer for several years, I became able to compose expository prose at the keyboard. But for poetry, I almost always write a poem out on a pad, small or full (not legal) size, then type it into a “draft” file, and after working on this, transfer it to a file for “finished” poems, which I often continue to tweak.
 

How do you handle a bad review of your work?
 
As a “new” poet I haven’t had much of this, except for rejection. I have always kept a low profile rather than seek publicity for my work. Virtually everyone I know who has had even a small dose of celebrity has become the worse for it; it is extremely hard to avoid vanity and a sense that visibility somehow confers an excellence that those less known cannot attain. If people start to notice this work, I think I’m old enough now to handle it, but I don’t expect it.

Which writer would you most like to have a drink with, and why?
 
I guess I’d say Baudelaire, since I know his work well and, as so many do, find him the greatest, most human artist among lyric poets. I wouldn’t mind talking to Homer or Sappho either, over a glass of ouzo.
 

What's the biggest mistake you've made as a writer?
 
In my non-fiction works, some people tell me I should have tried harder to appeal to the public, but I don’t like to pander. In poetry, I haven’t written enough to make any mistakes; I might have tried harder with the mags, but I was struck by how mechanical the process was: every single rejection (in a SASE, this was before the Internet) arrived on a nearly identical “pink slip.” It just seemed like a mechanical system where you have ten packets of poems you submit to ten journals, and when they get rejected you send packet 1 to journal 2, etc., and after a while they recognize your name and start accepting your poetry. I got some advice from a real poet who told me, just take the whole thing and publish it as a book, and that’s what I did; we’ll see how that works.
 

What's the worst advice you hear authors give writers?
 
Playing the game; you have to eat, but a real writer has to remain faithful to his star, or to his Muse, as in my case.
 

What scares you the most?
 
Less death than a prolonged half-death. Not being able to write anymore would make life unbearable even without physical pain and disability.
 

Where do you buy your books?
 
I used to buy lots of books, French mostly; lately, I buy very few, some on a Kindle, others usually online.
 
 
 
Who are you reading now?
 
I just finished reading lots of old novels I hadn’t had time for before retiring: Walter Scott, Fanny Burney and many other woman writers of that era. Having exhausted that domain, I haven’t found much to enjoy lately. I’ve always meant to reread Dostoevsky, whom I loved as an adolescent, but I’m a little afraid I’ll be disappointed, as occurred recently on (re)reading Don Quixote.
 

What is your favorite TV show at the moment?
 
Ah, since Seinfeld I never watch TV. The Sopranos, Breaking Bad—I can’t agree that this is “literature,” somehow as good or better than film. There’s no comparison between those shows and even a halfway-decent movie. I’m not a huge fan of Coppola, but how can you even begin to compare The Godfather with The Sopranos?


Bonus Round:
What do you want the world to know about you? Make it juicy ....  
Goldfarb respects the privacy of his Muse, but his aim in writing the Canzoniere is to immortalize, not her worldly self, but her essence, her soul purified of the weakness that I should have recognized before sharing my feelings with her. I want readers in a hundred, in a thousand years, to say: how wonderful she must have been to inspire all that poetry. I hope the poetry is good enough to make that happen.
 

15 Questions: An interview with Luke McMullan

15 Questions  
 
 
Tell me about your book.
 
John Kinsella has written that this book is ‘prising the nails out of the lyric’. That’s true. And while the book’s will to contradict the lyric appears anti-lyrical, I wonder what in fact could be more lyrical than that genre’s distress? If we believe that the lyric articulates formal, linguistic, politic, histrionic—some constellation of all predicates—distress, then the articulation of its own distress might be said to be both supremely lyrical and anti-lyrical at once. And this distress need not be that of the writer—I don’t believe in the childish and convenient equivalence of ‘the lyric I’ with the capitalist subject made by some for whom that simplification is self-valorising. It’s this tendency of the lyric to capture and recuperate its own escape attempts, like the event horizon of a black hole, that has interested me in the writing of Dolphin Aria. There’s a certain eternal gravitational pull to the lyric, which is also profoundly odd, alienating, given its apparent historical specificity. Wordsworth wrote that poetry makes the familiar unfamiliar, I think this is analogous to the process undertaken by every good writer of the lyric today—they make the form alien, perhaps uninhabitable. We should think of the scene in Independence Day when the denizens of Earth have this sublime experience of the alien motherships viewed from below: the whole thing cannot be viewed at once, only glimpsed in the gaps between skyscrapers, a sublimity that of course gives the lie to their centrality and desacralises their subjectivity. The humans triumph in the end by uploading a virus to that sublime form from a captured flying saucer—and perhaps the metaphor of the virus or of the fifth column is an appropriate descriptor for lyric engagement.
 
The book is called Dolphin Aria/Limited Hours: A Love Song. Perhaps I can disclose something of the book by parsing its title. For me, the aria is an apex moment of the aesthetic, in which the training of a singer and so many members of an orchestra in the pit, the competence and vision of the composer, the structure and needs of the work, become momentarily crystalline. The aria bespeaks aesthetic refinement in the same way that pure iron signifies the refinement of haematite. The aria is also, of course, the crystallisation of a certain social text; in terms of inclusion and exclusion I think we are all clear on what opera, as phenomenon, precipitates. Simultaneous with our own moment, there is speculation on whether and how dolphin/delphic language will ever be understood, which is one of the things I was reading about when I was in the poem. This idea of performing something for which one might be said to be truly maladapted, like a dolphin singing an aria, but performing it nonetheless out of perverse formal obligation, is my nightmarish and honest vision of poetry: ‘cry out elocution and become draped heroes’, which is both the garlanded soprano and the flag-draped coffin. Hence also the opening of the book with the semi-choral script of ‘ALL’, in which decoding is instantly converted into the spectre of accomplishment. The book is partly concerned with the exploitation of animals, the supremacy and surety of the human; so ‘Dolphin Aria’ is a pun on ‘dolphinarium’. I’ve written too much already. I’ll just say that ‘Limited Hours’ might refer to the visiting periods in hospitals and prisons, and the countdown in which endangered animals (all animals) unknowingly live; and that ‘A Love Song’ following the colon is meant to suggest or question the conditions that enable and inflect the possibilities for certain kinds of aesthetic form and experience (experience is form; and the love song is the form of experience). What kind of love, being-together, repair, is possible in a horrific world? And what else?
 
 
 
What influenced this book?

I was working for a software company that moved me to their new office in New York in January of 2013. The company had software that ingested vast amounts of electronic documents (the whole internet) and then looked for statistically significant words and phrases within that corpus in order to figure out, at scale, the languages and topical contexts of those documents (webpages). I didn’t understand it in any great detail, I just sold it to other companies; and then for a while I managed the development of new applications for it. As a way of thinking language, it was quite productive for me.
 
This was my first time in New York, even my first time outside Europe, and my impression was of an inhuman city. Anyone who has ever spent time in the Javits Center, at industry ‘get-togethers’ in the media world, watched the horses pull carriages around Columbus Circus, or done business lunch or drinks would agree with that impression without a second thought. It also seemed a city predicated on an enormous amount of suffering, both there and elsewhere. New York is made possible by impoverishment. I found this work stimulating on a day-to-day basis—‘fun’—but in the long run both profoundly alienating and totally inhibiting. Readers who have worked in an office environment or in software development or media and many others might ‘get’ things like the SCRUM SONG and the poem’s incessant intrusion of jargon. I would write absurd poems entirely out of things overheard on conference calls, or things I found myself saying at work. It was hard not to get the sense that language can be subjected to perversion by economic forces—something like the Lacanian sense of the pervert, so that one gets the sense that it ‘knows’ everything, totally. So essentially, I felt economically propelled in different manners—there was the necessity of work, I lived in Babylon, but I’d be dishonest if I didn’t also say that I had money in my pocket then, too. I was feeling nostalgic for home (Northern Ireland), too: nostalgic for a relation to place which was not possible for me in New York and was no longer possible in Northern Ireland, either.
 
At the same time, I drew parallels between what I saw in my Arbeitswelt, my work-world, and in the social world surrounding poetry. I began to equate my alienation from work with a burgeoning revulsion for the social text of poetry, for the way its producers jockeyed and scrummed and marketed their too-obvious signals. This book is influenced by and evinces disgust with poetry. This was late 2013/early 2014. I don’t feel quite the same way quite so much of the time now. But I’ll reserve the right to turn over a new leaf.
 
I was reading a biography of Walter Benjamin. I was reading some of the poets I had met and come to know and love in New York. I was watching helicopter gunship footage and thinking about Karl Kraus. I was translating bits of Mayakovsky and Khlebnikov and vestiges of those found their way into the poem throughout. I was thinking about Kant’s teleological argument from the apparent purposiveness of nature.
 
 

Where does this book fit into your career as a writer?

I should like not to have a career, except perhaps in the sense of the verb. This is the second volume I’ve published. It takes a lot of emotional effort for me to settle on publishing anything. Actually, that’s wrong. I expend a lot of emotional effort on trying not to publish. It is when that will is exhausted, that things slip out. I am a perfectionist until I am wrong-footed. I’m now working on a series of translations of an Old English poem called The Ruin, which have been gestating for some time. It’s an elegy in which the speaker comes across the stone ruins of a (probably) Roman city, long after the Roman Empire has ceased to meaningfully exist in the West. It makes me think of the American embassy in Baghdad. I am thinking of calling it IMPERIVM, or just Ruin.
 
 

If you had to convince a friend or colleague to read this book, what might you tell them?

Cajole them endlessly ‘til they relent and purchase. I learnt that trick from my work in media.
 
 

Tell me about the last literary reading you attended.

I don’t have much of use to say. I hate the idea that someone might look at me while I’m listening to poetry; consequently I can’t always concentrate. I have no problem performing; that’s something else.
 
The last reading I went to was my partner, Sophie Seita, with Ron Silliman, at Segue. Ron read to us about Wikileaks. I had two martinis and a few beers, went to a bar that begins with S, and argued with Josef for a long but indeterminate time. Somehow we got home half a pizza richer. I call that a good reading.
 
 

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

I do everything in notebooks. I do not usually set out on ‘projects’. I write what I’m thinking without specific intent and a set of concerns emerges, around which the work later organises. I’m a sonically driven writer; that is, the sound-patterns called for by the preceding lines drive what happens next. The necessary sounds arrive first, then constellate into words and phrases. I edit on the computer. I have lost a lot of those notebooks already. I scavenge. I like to cover my tracks. There are no rituals. Translation is a fallow field.
 
 

How do you handle a bad review of your work?
 
I’ve only ever had one review of my work. It was mostly bad, and I’ve forgotten what it said. So I suppose I do that.

 

Which writer would you most like to have a drink with, and why?

The ones I drink with now are the ones I most want to. I won’t name names. Partly because it’ll look like I’m doing coterie, which I hate; partly because it won’t be credible; partly because of my love for, nah just kidding. Maybe I’d like a drink with David Jones, so I can tell him he’s still being read and what his work is to me right now.
 
 

What's the worst advice you hear authors give writers?

‘Write every day.’
 
Oh, and ‘The line comes from the breathing of the man who writes’. That is Cracker-Barrel dogshit.
 

Where do you buy your books?

Borrowed from the library or bought at readings.

Who are you reading now?

Gavin Douglas’s Eneados. Sam Newton’s The Origins of Beowulf and the pre-Viking Kingdom of East Anglia. There are writers whose work I return to over and over. Timothy Thornton’s Jocund Day. Prynne. Pound’s Cathay. Sophie Seita. Mina Loy’s ‘Anglo-Mongrels and the Rose’. I admire Loy’s wholesome sense of disgust for poetry. I was looking again at the first part of Hamlet. David Jones’s Anathemata, which should be more widely acknowledged as equal to Finnegan’s Wake. Various commentaries on The Anathemata. Rome’s Wreck by Trevor Joyce. Everything Ian Heames has ever done in his delightful life.

 
 
Bonus Round
What do you want the world to know about you? Make it juicy ....  
 
When I was a kid I was the Ulster under-16 chess champion. I wanted to be a professional chess player.
 
I hate astrology (sorry, New York poets).
 
15 Questions: An interview with Susan Lewis

15 Questions: An interview with Susan Lewis

Susan Lewis lives in New York City and edits Posit (www.positjournal.com).

She is the author of How to be Another (Červená Barva Press, 2014), State of the Union (Spuyten Duyvil Press, 2014), The Following Message (White Knuckle Press, 2013), At Times Your Lines (Argotist Ebooks, 2012), Some Assembly Required (Dancing Girl Press, 2011), Commodity Fetishism, winner of the 2009 Červená Barva Press Chapbook Award, and Animal Husbandry (Finishing Line Press, 2008).

Her work has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and published in such journals as The Awl, Berkeley Poetry Review, BlazeVOX, Boog City, Boston Review, The Brooklyn Rail, Cimarron Review, Dusie, EOAGH, Fact-Simile, Fourteen Hills, Gargoyle, The Journal, Lungfull!, The New Orleans Review, On Barcelona, Otoliths, Phoebe, Ping Pong, Pool, Propeller, Raritan, Seneca Review, So To Speak, SpringGun, Truck, Verse, Verse Daily, and Word For/Word.

Susan received her B.A. and her J.D. from U.C. Berkeley, and her M.F.A. from Sarah Lawrence College. She has worked as an editor at several publications and taught creative writing at SUNY, Purchase. Her flash fiction has been performed in Denver’s Stories on Stage series, her collaborations with composer Jonathan Golove have been performed at the Kennedy Center and Carnegie's Weill Hall, and her collaborations with artist Melissa Stern have been exhibited in galleries and museums across the U.S.

www.susanlewis.net

  

15 Questions:

 

 

Tell me about your book.

 

What influenced this book?

 

My last book was a collection of prose poems, which required me to focus on compression and condensation as both means and ends. After that, I wanted to stretch out a bit — to open my poems across the page, to shape and incorporate the white space, to explore the elasticity of the line. The collection’s unifying preoccupation is with mortality: our lives conceived as visits — to the earth, to consciousness. The lineation hopefully evokes the isolation, and brevity, of ‘this visit:’ the sparse and fleeting presence of the truncated lines, their irregular and episodic trajectory down the page. At the same time, almost all of my work seems to address relation — its necessity and impossibility. Hence the couplets.

 

 

Where does this book fit into your career as a writer?

 

Although I have published quite a number of chapbooks, including two verse collections, this is my second full-length poetry collection, and my first collection of lineated poems. Although every book comes out of the exciting but frightening impulse to stretch, this one was constructed on a substantial enough foundation of writing and publication experience — and hence, confidence — to be great fun to write, even if the content is not exactly light-hearted.  

 

 

If you had to convince a friend or colleague to read this book, what might you tell them?

 

That as a physical object, anyway, it’s beautiful! —thanks to the cover art by Michael Janis, and the gorgeous design by Geoffrey Gatza. Also, the poems in this collection do not need to be tackled en masse — they can be sampled, visited (ha!) and revisited. And the words are sparse on the page, which can be easier on the eye and mind. Also, these poems are leavened by humor and playfulness.

 

 

Tell me about the last literary reading you attended.

 

The last reading I attended was my own! And I was nervous about it, because it landed smack in the middle of 24 hours of wintry, unrelenting rain, and I thought no one would want to come out on a night like that to hear poetry. In fact, people ended up sitting on the floor and crowding the doorway! It’s encouraging and inspiring to be reminded that poetry is alive and well, and of continuing relevance to our contemporary lives.

The readings I attended before my own were all at the iconic and incomparable KGB Bar: Patricia Spears Jones and Shanna Compton; Lewis Warsh; Matthea Harvey and Brett Fletcher Lauer.

 

 

When did you realize you were a writer?

 

I had been writing poetry, short stories, and plays since I was a young child, and I was the very definition of a bookworm. But I didn’t ‘become’ a writer until I had ‘become’ a lawyer, which I pursued as a tool to promote social justice, but with which I discovered I lacked much intellectual and emotional affinity.   

 

 

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

 

Any way I can! I’ve written quite a bit by hand, in a small notebook, while walking, riding the subway, etc.  Often I ‘hear’ lines in my head, which I jot down any which way, to explore and expand on at my desk. Other poems get born right onto my laptop. Recently, Siri has helped me start a few new pieces, while walking in the woods! But no matter how or where they start, all of my poems get worked over, countless times, on my laptop.

 

 

How do you handle a bad review of your work?

 

So far I haven’t had to face one — but I hope that when I do, I’ll be open enough to the negative feedback to learn from it, without letting it unduly undermine my creative momentum.  

 

 

Which writer would you most like to have a drink with, and why?

 

Octavio Paz. The breadth of his imagination, and the pleasure he seems to have had in the writing process, are just plain exhilarating.  I would also love to sit across a table from Samuel Beckett, who I think was actually a surprisingly happy man. I’d probably be too star-struck to have a drink with the living authors I most admire… Michael Palmer, for instance, or Bin Ramke, Rosemary Waldrop, or Lydia Davis.

 

 

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

 

That’s a hard one, because I tend to believe that our mistakes can be valuable to our development as writers. Plus, there’s the fact that we can only talk about the mistakes we have recognized as such! But I am sometimes sorry I decided not to go for a PhD, despite my natural affinity for scholarship, because I thought it would dilute my commitment to my writing.

 

 

What's the worst advice you hear authors give writers?

 

I differ with those who might prescribe workshopping as some sort of magic bullet for carrying creative writing across the finish line. I remember Grace Paley once saying that every writer is a beginner at writing every new piece. Since we are talking about original work, no one but the writer can possibly find the way to blaze that particular trail. Which is not to say that workshopping is never useful — especially for diagnosing problems, if more rarely for prescribing solutions.

 

 

What scares you the most?

 

The same thing that excites me: the blank page.

 

 

Where do you buy your books?

 

Mostly I buy my books online — directly from small press websites, but also from Amazon.

 

 

Who are you reading now?

 

Bin Ramke, Claudia Rankine, Bernadette Mayer, Lewis Warsh, Jane Lewty, Joanna Fuhrman. Plus all the writers who submit to Posit!

 

 

What is your favorite TV show at the moment?

 

My favorite series is Breaking Bad. I think it’s downright Shakespearian — and widely misunderstood. I also like The Knick. Steven Soderbergh is such an interesting director, and the subject matter (an early 20th Century New York City hospital) is fascinating.

 

 

Bonus Round:

 

What do you want the world to know about you? Make it juicy ....  

In my household, food and drink are honored pleasures! I love handling beautiful ingredients as much as eating them. This includes growing what I can, as well as foraging. Over the years, my husband and I have eaten over eighty species of wild mushrooms — and lived to tell the tale! I also barrel-age my own cocktails, and make my own block ice.

 

 Preview and Preorder This Visit by Susan Lewis here



 

15 Questions: An interview with Chuck Richardson

 

 
Chuck Richardson is the author of three novels, Smoke, So It Seams, Does the Moon Ever Shine In Heaven? A Tale of the Bardo Plane, the collections Dreamlands: 3 Fictions and Trust Me [& other fictions], all from BlazeVox [books]. His short-fiction, poetry, socio-political-economic rantings, etc., have appeared in Thieves Jargon, eccolinguistics, Reconfigurations, Atticus Review, Blood Lotus Journal, Crisis Chronicles, Countercurrents, The Kafka Project and elsewhere. Follow him at his blog: http://chuckrichardson.blogspot.com.
 
 
 
 
1. Tell me about your work.
 
I write fiction to see what I think and poetry to articulate my feelings and make them more precise. I explore my thought-feelings by getting out of their way. For instance, I try very hard to plumb those areas where there's a voice inside my head screaming you can't write that. Because that voice is the mind's gatekeeper. If I feel embarrassed, I must be on to something. Being adopted, I need to un-cover myself and see what's actually there…who and/or what I might really be…I can't help it. And having PTSD has forced many re-discoveries and re-cognitions. As soon as I think I really know myself, I know I actually don't. Writing is my effort to peg this wildness and corner the terror of it all.
 
2. What influenced Trust Me and other Fictions?
 
An inability to attain the acceptance stage of grief. I get there briefly once in a while, then something else always occurs to me. Having an overactive imagination doesn't help. I think another, rather obvious influence on this book are my biological and adopted mothers. Each haunt and agitate the narrative voice into expression…the difficulty of the male-female coupling when the psychic connections don't match where they should…resulting in a sense of profound alienation, both on the part of the man and woman…the inability to truly connect…to get through…the fundamental fact of aloneness.
 
3. Where does this book fit into your career as a writer?
 
It's the end of the first of three phases or stages if I'm lucky enough to live long and well enough to get the work done. It's likely the last work by Chuck Richardson. Ziggy Fumar narrates phase two, which is poetry. Chuck Richardson explores what he thinks through fiction. Ziggy Fumar explores his feelings via poetry. Phase three will be narrated by John Andrew Blake, my birth name, the person I otherwise might have been. Blake will blend thought-feelings with fiction-poetry. Blake and Fumar are already hard at work on their projects. Chuck's wrapping up his work and ready to further dissociate himself from their reading-writing. Hopefully, Chuck will now be free to meet a woman he can live, work and play with to make their final years livable. As you can tell, my identity isn't a solid one. I'm not sure, but I think Chuck might be my superego, Ziggy my ego, and Blake my id. Or maybe Chuck's animus, Ziggy's anima, and John's syzygy. Ziggy was originally intended as a play on syzygy, but it's not in the proper evolutionary position to attain the necessary mindful capacity to function on that level…So believe me, in many ways Trust Me represents the best of my thinking…I know Chuck just shot Ziggy in the foot, but John won't realize It until much later. Maybe this is what Kathy Acker meant when she said she was "fascinated by the Situationists" and had assumed as her primary goal the "exploding of duality." I think a tripartite psyche might demonstrate such a situation if it makes dualism impossible. No more questions on that…we'll just have to wait and see…
 
4. If you had to convince a friend or colleague to read this book, what might you tell them?
 
If you want to read things from an alien perspective, this book and my others will interest you. Human beings aren't the center of the universe. The universe exists to its own ends on its scale[s]. So do we. Of course, this is all between the lines, but that's how my friends and colleagues read anyway. Basically, I'd just say this is fresh material. You won't read anything else anywhere remotely like it. It hails from parts unknown.
 
5. Tell me about the last literary reading you attended.
 
I recently read, along with you and several other BV writers at 100,000 Poets for Change at a certain location. I can’t name that location because the Buffalo International Film Festival told me to cease and desist using the name of that place on FB because they own the name [if not the place itself]. Also, the Big Night readings have ended for some reason at WNYBAC. It seems that there’s some encroachment into the local literary scene of a certain capitalist, ownership mindset that forms cliques and divides things up in order to control, or keep down, any kind of revolutionary or counter-cultural happenings that might begin to gain steam and cause serious problems for the political-economic status quo. All I’m saying is that I sense things are getting a bit frayed on the local lit scene as certain changes appear to have taken place. I miss Mike Kelleher’s cohesiveness, the way he brought people together. I’d like to see a big party where all the major and minor people get drunk together and decide to party on a regular basis. And if they feel like reading to each other along the way, great! That’s the way to grow things, not saying this is mine and that’s yours so you better watch out, cease and desist, etc. Good god. Love your brothers and sisters. Share. I mean, why can't you walk into Talking Leaves or Rust Belt Books and see prominent displays of Starcherone and BlazeVox? Why don't these stores and others do more to promote the local literary scene? Why are they so hepped up on the Capitalist top-down regime of marketing and sales? Let the corporations hawk their stars. The locally owned stores and lit groups, libraries, colleges, universities, et al, should show much more support for the local scene, which is more and more also part of a global scene, thanks to media these dinosaur outlets and organizations seem rather slow to, er, capitalize on…That said, readings too often seem geared toward self-promotion and the hope of selling a book or two in a top-down model…this motivation too often defines the social framework of the reading…I just can't get excited about such things. Most readings are boring as hell. That said, I'd go see Kent Johnson or Michael Basinski perform their work anytime. They're anything but boring.
 
6. When did you realize you were a writer?
 
When certain people started introducing me to strangers that way.
 
7. Tell us about your process: Pen and paper, computer, notebooks…how do you write?
 
I'm constantly trying to figure that out. I use all the above media and more. The main thing is to throw everything you got onto the page, get say, a hundred-thousand words, then begin carving out the 30,000 that seem to make their points most succinctly. And then once I discover those points I try to find an appropriate way of placing them or ordering them to construct a text that precisely states whatever it's saying, exactly performs what it does. The main thing is nothing happens if you don't show up. I write four hours a day, six days a week. I read four hours six days and eight on Sunday. I keep notes that become points, refined constantly by re-writing them. And it's all intuitive. Whatever I think feels right [whereas Ziggy's poetry is whatever he feels thinks right]. Each book requires a different method. Each book must express its truth its own way. Each project is its own dot, being comprised of many dots, etc., scaling up and down and all around. I have no agenda regarding the truth, only a method stabbing at various forms of discovery.
 
8. How do you handle a bad review of your work?
 
I don't care. It's to be expected. Oscar Wilde said "criticism's the best form of autobiography." The critic reveals more about herself than the texts she reads…I don't expect anybody to get it. I know I don't, and that's the motive—to find out what It is, and what It's actually doing. In fact, I think if I had a work that answered its own questions I wouldn't publish it. The only reason to publish is to possibly hear other, equally or more plausible answers to the hopefully unanswerable questions it raises. A bad review would be written by someone unable or unwilling to figure something out about it, but then again, that bad review might actually be a good one.
 
9. Which writer would you most like to have a drink with and why?
 
Melville, because I think he was a rather lonely guy hungry for contact with other writers. I can imagine sitting by a bonfire on a cool autumn night, getting ripped with Herm and playing devil's advocate, hopefully getting him to riff on all the mysteries in his work…Oh man, the mind's beginning to swirl round the savage spirits. This may become something…I should say more, but would prefer…
 
10.                What’s the biggest mistake you’ve made as a writer?
 
Thinking there was even just a tiny bit of money to possibly ever be made anywhere writing necessary things. There isn't. Nothing is necessary.
 
11.                What’s the worst advice you hear authors give writers?
 
How to get published and market yourself. Who cares? If you do what the work itself requires, things will happen. Otherwise, you're just adding more shit to a giant heap of crap.
 
12.                What scares you the most?
 
The fact I can't protect my loved ones from death forever…that we won't be together forever…that this time we share is finite. It's why I write fiction and poetry, The Fact scares the shit out of me. Fiction helps me think about it, poetry helps me feel the best way I can about it…each re-cognizes the situation, hopefully transforming the dying into something survivable…and the fact we're all Quixote saddens me most…perhaps.
 
13.                Where do you buy your books?
 
SPD, directly from the publisher, Rust Belt and Talking Leaves. Also at readings, whenever I go I buy the reader's book. I try not to put a nickel in a corporation's pocket, but of course that's impossible these days. It seems my life's filled with impossible dreams and tasks.
 
14.                Who are you reading now?
 
The Swerve: How the World Became Modern by Stephen Greenblatt, From Absinthe to Abyssinia by Rimbaud/Spitzer, North by Celine, re-reading Dante's Inferno, Tyrant Banderas by Ramon Del Valle-Inclan, Europeana: A Brief History of the Twentieth Century by Patrik Ourednik, A Question Mark Above the Sun by Kent Johnson, My Body in Nine Parts by Raymond Federman, [[there]] by Lance Olsen, and my vocabulary did this to me: the collected poems of Jack Spicer. Right now, most of my other reading of articles, essays, etc., are part of the necessary research for a future novel, tentatively called Rapture of the Ziggies Fumar, which I envision as the story of Earth's most heinous invasive species—the human being.
 
15.                What do you want the world to know about you? Make it juicy.
 
I want the world to believe the lie about me. I am not the voice on the page.

 

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