Category Interviews

An Interview with Rachel Mallalieu in SPLASH! “Rooted in Truth”

painting of a woman with a raven perched on her shoulderHaunted Waters Press features online content including fiction, poetry, author interviews, and occasional news from the press itself in SPLASH!

They have recently published an interview with Emergency Room doctor and writer Rachel Mallalieu whose work has been featured in SPLASH! as well as in the 2020 issue of their literary magazine From the Depths, which is currently open to submissions along with their annual fiction anthology Tin Can Literary Review through August 31.

Just start writing. It doesn’t have to be perfect; in fact, it won’t be. But if it doesn’t find its way to paper, the poem will never exist. . . . First and foremost, you’re writing for you! Don’t be held back by other’s expectations.

Mallalieu talks about her introduction to poetry, writing schedule, how the pandemic has affected her as a writer, what she’d say to a young poet, and what she’d tell her younger self. At the end of the interview there’s even a fun “Lightning Round” of 10 bonus questions from what bores Mallalieu (TV!) to which fictional place she’d love to visit (Narnia!).

Check out the interview here and read her poems “The Taste of Grief” and “A History of Resurrection.” If you’re thirsty for more, pick up the 2020 issue.

Camille T. Dungy Interviewed in The Missouri Review

The Missouri Review always has plenty to offer readers. Aside from the usual poetry and prose, there are art features, a “curio cabinet” feature, and an interview. In the Spring 2021 issue, Jacob Griffin Hall interviews poet, essayist, professor, and editor Camille T. Dungy. The two discuss everything from types of research to environmental writing to poetic beginnings. There is plenty to take away from this interview, but what I enjoyed most was the portion on “experiential research,” excerpted here:

HALL: In an interview with Arkana, you talk about “experiential research”—”Listening to the world, paying attention, watching and looking” is just as important as, say, digging into archives. What habits or practices do you have that help you be attentive to the world around you?

DUNGY: Ha. It’s not a habit or practice. It’s a way of life. I suppose it could be taught. I suppose we all have to learn to slow down and pay better and different attention from time to time. But I also think that an artist, a writer, must look at the world more attentively, more closely, more patiently and carefully than people who are not artists tend to look. It’s just how I move through the world. I can stop and hear myself thinking if I want to, but I am always thinking in this way. “How would I describe the color of that grass?” “Oh, look, that rabbit has a bit of russet on its scruff.” “I wonder when they first release Subarus in the US?” “Do you think that woman’s eyes are naturally gray? Those are all questions I asked out loud or in my head today.

An MFA in the Pandemic

Guest Post by Samantha Tucker

Ohio State University logoWhen I applied to MFA programs, it was with the intention of finding a writing community. During my time at The Ohio State University, I was lucky to foster strong relationships with my classmates through our shared experience and dedication to the written word. To this day, I continue to edit and be generously edited by a group of talented writers, most of whom I met in my very first class, a nonfiction workshop with the writer Lee Martin.

But what is a writing community when the people sharing their art are only able to do so virtually? And when writers find themselves in the middle of so many American catastrophes, where do we find the urge to create at all? I asked Lee Martin, College of Arts and Sciences Distinguished Professor of English at Ohio State, for insight on his teaching and writing life during a pandemic.

How have your workshops/classes adapted to being online?

Lee: We seem to be adapting well. I love my students, and the level of engagement seems to be high. It’s not quite the same, of course, as sitting around a table, but we’re doing fine. I’ve had some students comment on how our Zoom meetings give them a chance to feel a part of our writing community, so that’s a good thing. I just wish we could do the things we used to do—go out for $4 burger night at Brazen Head Pub, have spaghetti dinners at my and Cathy’s house, have bowling parties, etc. Ah well, I hope we’ll be able to do those things and more very soon.

How has your writing changed, if at all?

Lee: I find myself writing steadily as a way of escaping the reality of what’s going on in the world around me. It’s a comfort to me to escape into the worlds of my own making in novels and stories set before the pandemic. I’m only now working on something more current that, of course, will eventually have to face the pandemic head-on.

What are your words of wisdom as to finding the space in this chaos to create art?

Lee: I’ve been thinking a lot about how to stay in the present moment of what delights me rather than thinking about all that depresses me or makes me fear for the future. Silence is a good thing. If we can find those places of silence we can fill them with the efforts of our own choosing rather than the worries and the fears that the current climate places upon us. Today, for instance, Cathy and I went out to Inniswood Metro Gardens and disappeared into the natural world and immediately felt our breath coming more easily. Such places and moments are all around us. All we have to do is look for them.


Reviewer bio: Samantha Tucker is an anti-racist essayist in Columbus, Ohio. Find her words at www.theamericandreamstartshere.com.

Eastern Michigan University Alumni wins the Sawtooth Prize

Eastern Michigan University Graduate Program in Creative Writing websiteThe creative writing program at Eastern Michigan University is distinguished as one of the only interdisciplinary programs for creative writing in the country. They provide a rich space for exploring relationships between poetry and poetics, experimental prose, cultural translation, community service, pedagogy and contemporary arts. Their goal is to nourish the development of rigorous and imaginatively engaged writing.

Rosie Stockton, who graduated from their MA program in 2017 is currently pursuing their PhD at the University of California, Los Angeles. Rosie has become the recent winner of the Sawtooth Prize. Their book Permanent Volta will be published soon by Nightboat Books.

Christina-Marie Sears, current blog writer/admin staffer for EMU’s online journal BathHouse sat down with Stockton to discuss their work, current practice, and time at Eastern Michigan University.

One of my daily rituals is- I get up and I journal. It’s not narrative. Journaling for me is a stream-of -consciousness and image-focused practice. I have a really active dream life and I just wake up and write before I even look at my phone, but of course on some days that doesn’t always work.

Check out the full interview here.

David Chorlton Interviewed in The Bitter Oleander

The Spring 2020 Issue of The Bitter Oleander includes a special feature. Editor Paul B. Roth interviews poet David Chorlton. Readers can also find a selection from Chorlton’s Speech Scroll. Below, check out an excerpt from the interview and visit The Bitter Oleander website to get a taste of Speech Scroll.

PBR: In your Speech Scroll, a sampling of which follows this interview, you’ve put the urban and the desert world together so expertly over some 158 poems. Did this particular project start off with that in mind or was it just your current ongoing consciousness of where you were in that environment and who you are that brought it forth?

DC: . . . While there are the times I sit down to commit words to paper, the actual writing of poetry is never turned off. Without placing a title or thinking of a poem’s shape, I had an ongoing path to follow and that helped me shift a little in the way I see images come together. Thinking about the political happenings of our tumultuous time might become too consuming, and for some people it is. Others seem to remain oblivious to anything that goes on in that realm. Writing poetry, being the most natural form of communication for me, has been a good place in which to scatter comments and observations that, I hope, provoke more thought than argument. Life encompasses a wide range of pleasures and frustrations, comfort for the fortunate and responsibility toward those who are not, and so with the help of various bird and animal species, plus a view of the sunrise from our front door when I’m up early to see it I take, as I mentioned earlier, what is given, and transform it the best way I can.

Lise de Nikolits Interviews Nora Gold

The Dead Man by Nora GoldFind a newly posted interview with Nora Gold at Lise de Nikolits’s blog. The two discuss Gold’s 2016 novel The Dead Man, her writing process, and her favorite ways to relax and unwind.

Gold is the editor of Jewish Fiction .net which just produced its 24th issue this past March. Visit their social media for curated lists of work relating to a similar theme that the journal has published in previous issues if you’re looking for even more good reads.

De-stigmatize Uncomfortable Realities: Interview with Aby Kaupang & Matthew Cooperman

NOS coverElizabeth Jacobson sat down with Aby Kaupang and Matthew Cooperman to discuss their 2018 release of NOS (disorder, not otherwise specified). The book, published by Futurepoem Books, documents the odyssey into a foreign environment of hospitals, doctors, and diagnoses. Terrain.org published an excerpt from the book along with this interview.

Interviewer Elizabeth Jacobson starts the interview with the question about choosing to make the decision to let your child live or die and explains that she grew up in a family where a different choice was made.

Aby responds, “thank you for sharing your story a bit. I hope to hear more. I say that because I care, but also because I wish more people would write/speak about the difficult choices. De-stigmatize uncomfortable realities.”

She and Matthew Cooperman go on to explain how the book started as a private journal of Aby’s and transformed into something completely different. They also talk about how their lives have changed since its publication and what new challenges they face with their daughter who is now thirteen. Check out the full interview here…and maybe prepare a tissue or two.

Literacy Teaching Informed by & Mindful of Stress & Trauma

The National Writers Project Radio recently posted a podcast version of their interview and discussion with Richard Koch and Elizabeth Dutro who have both recently authored books in regards to teaching in an age of stress and trauma. The interview was conducted on February 18, 2020.

Richard Koch, now retired, is a former English professor from the University of Iowa and Adrian College (my alma mater), and is the author of The Mindful Writing Workshop: Teaching in the Age of Stress and Trauma. Elizabeth Dutro is a professor and chair of Literacy Studies at the University of Colorado at Boulder and author of The Vulnerable Heart of Literacy: Centering Trauma as Powerful Pedagogy.

” . . . the space we’re in with all these proliferated programs around trauma and that they can be one more way that certain children are marginalized in school, seen as damaged rather than full of knowledge that should count in schools . . .”

NWP Radio is also offering a free download of The Mindful Writing Workshop on their site. Do check out the full discussion. It’s an interesting conversation on education, children, and teaching and definitely worth a listen to in these stressful times.

Interview with Native American Writer CMarie Fuhrman

Did you know online literary magazine High Desert Journal features an exclusive podcast interview with Native American writer CMarie Fuhrman? If not, definitely go check it out. You may need to really crank the volume so you can hear her responses to the interviewer’s questions.

And I think that says something, too, about our culture not wanting to face death.

Listen to the the full interview here: www.highdesertjournal.com/podcast.

There Is No Memory That isn’t Tinged with Darkness

José Angel Araguz
Photo of José Angel Araguz featured on Southeast Review’s website

In Southeast Review‘s special Online content, John Sibley Williams interviews José Angel Araguz, a CantoMundo fellow, author of several chapbooks and collections, and the Editor-in-Chief of Salamander.

Araguz talks about how place, specifically Corpus Christi, Texas and Matamoros, Tamaulipas, has defined him, his work, and his politics.

Not only is my family’s story scattered across these two places, but some of the essential issues of our times play out on this border: immigration from a variety of countries (not just Mexico), narcotraffico, and the ensuing violence against women, children, and the poor. There is no memory that isn’t tinged with darkness, with threat and danger.

Since Araguz’s work does feature a lot of his own culture, he is asked how he approaches work to make it universal to readers of all cultures and his response is great: “I tread carefully around the word “universal.” There’s so much instability to language that to count on a poem alone, the mere words on the page, to be universal, is to invite failure.”

Learn more about José Angel Araguz, how he crafts his poetry, and how his experiences helped form his work.