Category Interviews

New 5-in-5 Interview with Mohja Kahf

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Love interviews with writers? How about bite-sized ones? Don’t forget about Glass Mountain‘s weekly 5-in-5 series. The series gives established writers 5 minutes to answer just 5 questions.

On April 15, they published their interview with Mohja Kahf. Kahf is the author of My Lover Feeds Me Grapfruit, winner of several awards (including a Trailblazer Award from the Radius of Arab American Writers), and her writing is available in Arabic, Turkish, Japanese, Korean, Italian, French, and German translations.

One of my favorite parts of the interview is how she expresses erasure poems as her least favorite trend, but how she values those who can devote themselves to the genre.

Erasure poems is my least favorite because it means you have to devote a lot of time to a piece of writing you want to undermine by strip-mining it to create a counter-statement that exposes the ironies of the original text, or its ambiguities or moral flaws or whatever.

Mohja Kahf, 5-in-5 interview with Glass Mountain

Stop by their site to learn who Kahf is reading right now, what work by someone else she wished she had written, what was the best money she ever spent as a writer, and what she would do if she wasn’t a writer.

Colorado Review Podcast: In Conversation with Cynthia Parker-Ohene

Colorado Review podcast image

This month Editorial Assistant Sara Hughes sits down with Cynthia Parker-Ohene to discuss her debut collection Daughters of Harriet, part of the Mountain/West Poetry Series published by the Center for Literary Publishing.

In a wide-ranging discussion, Cynthia and Sara talk about the legacy of black women, namely Harriet Tubman, how the labor of black women is perceived and performed in the US, the meaning of working for others during the pandemic, food’s role in poverty across gender and race and class, as well as how our ancestors call on us today to speak in poetry.

New 5-in-5 Interview at Glass Mountain

Glass Mountain has a new 5-in-5 interview up at their website. This interview series features five questions answered in five minutes by established writers.

Big Poppa E was interviewed this week, and the questions asked were:

  • What work (by someone else) do you wish you had written?
  • If you could tell your young writing self anything, what would it be?
  • Which book have you reread more than any other?
  • What are some common “traps” writers should look out for?
  • If you didn’t write, what would you do for work?

Stop by Glass Mountain‘s website to see Big Poppa E’s answers.

Biology and Connection: An Interview with Lauren Taylor Grad

The Woven Tale Press – Volume 9 Number 9, 2021

Lauren Taylor Grad’s work was featured in Woven Tale Press Volume XI Number 9. Jennifer Nelson, WTP feature writer interviewed Taylor Grad recently on the meaning and thought processes behind several of her works along with her pursuit of an MFA.

From using found items to create sculptures to utilizing her undergraduate work in biology to create paintings, Taylor Grad’s work is diverse. One of the most interesting pieces is Tethered which is comprised of used clothing made to create two concrete boulders and a connecting line between them. She also created a video art piece to accompany the sculpture about moving these boulders around a curving path.

Nelson: Why did you feel it was important to earn an MFA?

The decision to go to graduate school and earn my Masters in Fine Arts was not one that I took lightly. It is a huge investment, both in time and money, and I wanted to be sure that it was the right path for me to take before I made that leap. I personally really enjoy academia; I think that the amount of growth and nurturing that occurs in an individual throughout art school in such a short amount of time is transformative, and unlike anything that you can get elsewhere.

Taylor Grad also talked about taking time off after earning her undergraduate degree to try out being a living artist and other avenues before ultimately going back to earn her MFA so that she can also become an art instructor.

Read the full interview here and look at some of Taylor Grad’s amazing work.

Sarah Moore Interviews Noémi Lefebvre in WLT

In the Autumn 2021 issue of World Literature Today, Sarah Moore interviews Noémi Lefebvre. The two corresponded in May 2021 shortly after Poètique de l’emploi had been published in English and Parle had been released in France. The interview immediately had me interested with as they discuss the English translation of Poètique de l’emploi‘s title:

Sarah Moore: Your most recent work to be translated into English, Poètique de l’emploi, considers the question of employment. The English translation of emploi, which variously means “employment,” “use,” and “labor,” into “work” already shows the tension that you explore between how we earn a living and how we spend our time. How do you feel these different aspects relate to each other? Why were you interested in the subject?

Noémi Lefebvre: First, it’s a subject that affects me. I don’t understand the link between work and salary or why, when I work, I’m not earning much of a living. For example, when I write, I don’t earn much money, but that’s my real job. There isn’t a clear connection between the money we earn and the work we do. Also, work is a social condition that we’re all supposed to accept but one that often significantly restricts freedom. That’s what I wanted to consider. When a baby is born we don’t think, “Oh, super, it’s going to have a wonderful job,” unless, of course, you’re very narrow-minded. We think first about life and freedom, not in terms of paid work. I wanted to explore what remained childlike in me and what retains the desire to always be free in life, while work is often restrictive or creates living conditions that are just impossible—not for everyone but, still, often.

Check out the rest of the interview at WLT‘s website.

Chloe Yelena Miller Interviews Lindsay Merbaum

Guest Post by Chloe Yelena Miller.

Chloe Yelena Miller, author of Viable (Lily Poetry Review Books, 2021) interviews Lindsay Merbaum, author of The Gold Persimmon (Creature Publishing, 2021).

I so enjoyed reading your book, Lindsay. I was curious to understand what “feminist horror” meant, and these two, interwoven, gender-focused storylines offer a clear definition. The psychological horror of loneliness and loss and the distance between self and the mother figure felt tangible throughout the book. The characters were seeking physical and emotional comfort, despite or because of what’s happening around them. I admire how easily the characters’ mothers’ voices interject in scenes where the mothers would not otherwise be present. Continue reading “Chloe Yelena Miller Interviews Lindsay Merbaum”

Danielle Geller Interviewed in Superstition Review

In Issue 27 of Superstition Review, readers can find an interview with Danielle Geller conducted via email by Grace Tobin. The interview centers on Geller’s memoir Dog Flowers published by One World/Penguin Random House this year.

The interview opens with the story of how the title of Dog Flowers came to be. The two go on to talk about the decisions Geller made while writing the memoir: what to include or leave out, writing in a nonlinear storyline, and which diary entries and real life photos to include. Continue reading “Danielle Geller Interviewed in Superstition Review”

Carlos Soto-Román in SRPR

Each issue, Spoon River Poetry Review features one SRPR Illinois Poet. The Summer 2021 issue features Carlos Soto-Román. His work, translated by Daniel Borzutzky, spans 16 pages and is followed by an interview conducted by Borzutzky.

The two discuss Soto-Román’s forthcoming book 11, the interview beginning with the question, “How was the book written?” Soto-Román answers:

First, I wouldn’t say the book was written, at least, in the traditional sense. Maybe just a couple of “poems” included in the book were actually written by me. The whole process was more about compiling different fragments, quotes, and excerpts from multiple documents related to the Chilean dictatorship period and combining them within a new context in order to configure an alternate narrative of events, one that is intentionally veiled, which forces the reader to confront the past in a different way, encouraging the exercise of personal and collective memory to therefore complete the gaps.

You can learn more about Carlos Soto-Román and his work in the current issue of SRPR.

Trish Hopkinson Chats with NewPages’ Denise Hill

Our own Editor-in-Chief Denise Hill had a conversation with Trish Hopkinson for Hopkinson’s Tell Tell Interview Series. The two talk about “importance of community and process for writers and poets,” as well as the equally important topic of which IPAs to try out.

On the value of literature: “But when I just think about the value of literature and our society, Why doesn’t it have a greater place? Why doesn’t it have a greater value where there’s millions of us? So where is the movement for this? How do we get that?”

Check out the entire video interview at the Tell Tell Poetry website where you can also find a transcript of the conversation.

An Interview with Leslie Blanco

Sometimes after reading a story, I want to know more about it—what the inspiration was and what went into writing the piece. Southern Humanities Review quenches that thirst for answers in their “Features” section on their website, providing the occasional interview with a contributor of their print journal. Right now, readers can find an interview with Leslie Blanco, whose short story “A Sane Person Doesn’t Do Something Like That” is in Volume 54 Number 2 of Southern Humanities Review. The story “examines the strain in the marriage of Yvelis and Hector during the Cuban Revolution.”

Blanco and interviewer Caitlin Rae Taylor discuss the motivations behind the actions of the story’s characters, and the research that went into writing this piece. Here’s what she says about her attitude toward research:

The truth is, I love research. I love the melodrama of history and the magic of stepping mentally into another time, so I did a ton of research. Even as I type the answers to these questions, a vast “sensory” landscape covers one wall of my office, representing research for a novel set just after the revolution. It is a map of Havana with pushpins in all intersections of significant historical moments, surrounded by photos depicting the everyday people swept up in those events, complete with their glorious beehives or their iconic beards.

The interview finishes in a more general area. Taylor asks Blanco what she’s currently reading, what current projects she’s working on, and what advice she’d give to writers “who want to write fiction set against historically significant events,” making this interview an interesting read even for those who have yet to take in “A Sane Person Doesn’t Do Something Like That.”