Interview Series

 

Interview  of  Arbind Kumar Choudhary with Dr.Ashok K.Yadav, Associate Prof. of English,Arts College, Shyamalaji, Gujarat,India.

 

Arbind Kumar Choudhary who has been awarded with the crown of Universal Ambassador of Peace from Poetry in 2017  by Gabrielle Simond, the president of Geneva based duo organizations—Universal Circle of the Ambassadors  of Peace & Universal Embassy of Peace -has been popularly called the  pioneer of the Phrasal  Movement  and  Indianised Version of Arbindonean Sonnets  in  Indian English  poetry  for the spiritual whirlwind  for Tom,Dick and Harry in general and the versifiers in particular inspite of the materialistic monarchy infecting the society.He  has been perfuming  the  poetic passage  with his nine poetry collections in English, dozens  of  literary awards  in America, China, Geneva  and  India, and, above all, more  than  sixty interviews published in Malta, Romania, Albania and India.His Arbindonean Racy Style of Versification, cluster of the phrasal passages and Indianised Version of  Arbindonean Sonnets  speak volumes about his magnetic poetic personality in Indian English poetry.

Dr.Choudhary  who  has been incorporated  in Cambridge Dictionary of English Writers  in England,Penny Poetry in America, World Poetry Almanac in Mongolia ,World Poetry Yearbook  in China, Four Indian English Poets in Romania  and Sahitya Akademi  in Delhi  has been included as an  editorial  board  member of  a  number of  literary journals   in America,Tunisia, Nigeria and several literary journals  of India.Mahatma Gandhi Education and Welfare Society sponsored maiden national poetry award entitled Phrasal King Arvind Choudhary National Poetry Award 2018  has been instituted to honour an Indian English poet annually  for the promotion of English verses in India  that has been given to Dr.Brajesh Kumar Gupta  Mewadev of Banda,U.P  on 17th February 2018 in the International Seminar held at Bharat Ratna  Maulana  Abul Kalam Azad Research Center,Aurangabad,India.


 

Q 1 : When did you start writing ?

AKC: Versification has become my  passion rather than profession that comes out as naturally as the water flow of the river. I have been composing verses and turning in to pieces for want of proper atmosphere of flourishment around my surrounding. But the germs of creation that  was planted long ago  through the Hindi poems of great poets -Dinkar, Maithili Sharan Gupta, Mahadevi Verma, Jay Shankar Prasad  and many others started to flourish with the passage of time while started the job of a lecturer in a college. I  have not seen behind since the publication of  Eternal Voices, maiden poetry book, in 2007 that has been followed by eight more poetry collections.


 

Q2: Who are your biggest inspirators/ your favourite writers ?

AKC : Shakespeare, Milton , Spenser, John Keats and several  English others have remained  the  captivating  spirits while Tagore, Aurobindo, Ezekiel ,Sarojini Naidu, and  Kamala Das from Indian English poetry, Kalidas from  Sanskrit  literature  and  Dinkar, Maithli  Sharan  Gupta, Jayshankar  Prasad, Mahadevi  Verma   and  several others  from  Hindi  literature have been adding fuel to the poetic flames  from  time  to  time.

 


 

Q3: What time of day do you do most of your writing ?

  AKC: Morning  is  the  spring  for the  creative  wing  because  silence becomes  the  monarch  during  morning period.

 


 

Q4: Why do you write ?

AKC :  Versification that runs wild from one day to another is the emotional eruption rather than mechanisation.It is my passion rather than profession that sends  my creative  spirits in the seventh heaven.


Q5 : Do you have any favourite quotes from writers ?

AKC :  The most striking quote that haunts me time and again for the sake of the deprived voices of the world community as a whole is  quoted from The Elegy of Thomas Gray.

Full many a gem of purest ray serene

The dark unfathom’d caves of ocean bear:

Full many a flower is born to blush unseen,

And waste its sweetness on the desert.

 


 

Q6: What is one piece of advice you would give new/aspiring writers ?

AKC : The essence of patience will knock your  door sooner or later in literature.The essence of patience breeds florescence of conscience sooner or later before the last resting place .

 


 

Q7: Do you have any collections chapbooks ?

Or other books available for people to purchase ?

AKC :  Here lies a list of published poetry collections.

1.Eternal  Voices,2007,PBD,Bareilly,UP

2.Universal  Voices,2008, IAPEN,Begusarai.

3.My Songs,2008,IAPEN,Begusarai.

4.Melody, 2009, IAPEN,Begusarai.

Interview with Kelle Grace Gaddis 

Q: When did you start writing?

A: I was one of those kids that could read at age three. My love of reading quickly lead me to writing. I was given a diary in kindergarten and I’ve been writing ever since.

Q: Who are your biggest inspirations/your favorite writers?

A: There are so many I can’t list them all so I’ll list the most recent inspirations. I love Lance Olson’s work, particularly theories of forgetting and Dream Lives of Debris and Katy Bohinc’s recently released collection Scorpio.

Q: What time of day do you do most of your writing?

A: I can write anytime. If I have time in the morning I write in the morning and if I don’t I make time to write at night. If an idea comes to me while I’m working at my other job I’ll send a text message to myself so I remember the idea when I get home.

Q:  Why do you write?

A: I don’t think I could stop myself. I’ve written my entire life. For decades I didn’t even care if anyone read my work, I wrote for the sake of writing, this changed after I began submitting work for publicaton. I became addicted to acquiring publishing credits because it felt like I’d finally been heard and understood. So, now, I also write because I want to see how people respond to my work. It’s a way to relate the world and to change it.

Q: Do you have any favorite quotes from writers?

A: I have many, but I’d like to share a Lewis Caroll line because it’s one of the truest things ever written. “I can’t go back to yesterday because I was a different person then.” Caroll wrote it for the character of Alice in Alice in Wonderland but I think everyone feels like this, we’re all Alice.

Q: What is one piece of advice you would give new/aspiring writers?

A: Write as often as you can and avoid long breaks. Long breaks don’t help writers, writers write.

Q: Do you have any collections, chapbooks, or other books available for people to purchase?

A: My first book My Myths was published by Yellow Chair Review in 2017. I sold 547 of the 550 copies printed in ten months. I was disappointed that YCR wasn’t financially able to produce a second edition. I’m going with a larger publishing house next time. While supplies last My Myths is available at Open Books: A Poem Emporium in Seattle, Washington; they can ship anywhere. Right now, I’m publishing short stories in literary magazines for my new collction. I wish I had a title to give you but I’m struggling with that right now and can’t bring myself to commit to one yet. My work is also in Dispatch Editon’s Resist Much Obey Little and the Brightly Press’s anthologies Shake The Tree 2017 and 2018 (the latter will be out in May). My Chicken Soup for the Soul: Dreams and the Unexplainable stories were published by Simon & Schuster, it’s available on Amazon and at Barnes & Noble. It was edited by Amy Newmark and Kelly Sullivan Walden. I annouce my book launches on Facebook, so, if anyone wants to join me online they’re welcome to do so. I’m listed by my full name Kelle Grace Gaddis.

Q: Do you have any upcoming books or projects you’d like to talk about?

A: I’m excited about all of my projects! For now, I’ll talk about one. Most of the 1000 – 10,000+ word short stories in my forthcoming collection have been published by small presses in the United States, England, and Australia. I adore short story collections with diverse themes so I’ve aimed to create one where each story is dramatically different from the last. I want to take my readers to many places, possibly because I’ve been obsessed with the Best American Short Stories series since I was nine and every story in it is unique. Of course that collection is written by many different authors rather than one, but, since I understand a lot of different perspectives, I felt I could take up the challenge. To some extent, a range of voice comes naturally to me because I’ve acted in plays since I was ten-years-old and have stood in many a character’s shoes.

Thank you for the interview!

Interview with Zachary Dilks

Q: When did you start writing?

A: I started writing pretty early on in my childhood. I’ve always had a fairly healthy imagination and I suppose making up stories and exaggerations just came naturally to me. I remember writing a bunch of crappy songs in the fourth grade that I was sure were pure gold. The first time I ever wrote a poem was about some girl I had a crush on. I remember I read it to my mom and sister from the back seat of our car and my mom, very sincerely, told me it was good. So naturally I wrote two sequels to it and they were terrible. I dabbled with writing all of my life, but I never took it too seriously until about junior year in high school when I knew for sure I wanted to spend the rest of my life writing. Thanks, Holden Caulfield.


Q: Who are your biggest inspirations/your favorite writers?

A: My biggest inspirations are not necessarily who’s, but what’s. Sitting in nature and watching animals and plants and connecting the stars and talking to the moon and laughing about the contradictions in life; these are what typically give me inspiration to write. The natural world is my greatest motivator. I find if I try to take too much inspiration from a certain writer then I start to steal their style. My words may be garbage, but at least they’ll always be in my own dumpster. With that being said, my favorite writers are J.D. Salinger, Poe, Whitman, Tom Robbins especially, Bill Watterson of Calvin and Hobbes fame, Lewis Carroll and a lot of others that might make this list too long. However, and I’m sure I’ll catch hell for this, I really don’t like Ernest Hemingway. His work bores me to no end. Also, although I enjoy his sarcasm immensely, I’m not that into Shakespeare either.


Q: What time of day do you do most of your writing?

A: Unlike a lot of writers, I don’t ever set out a time that’s dedicated to only writing. I’m a full-time father, husband and tool maker on top of poet and so many other things. At any given time, my attention is being pulled to a thousand different places. So really, I’m an in-between kind of writer. I’ll shoot for in between machine time, in between diaper changes, in between grocery shopping and family time. The easiest time for me to write is late into the night after everyone is asleep. I can sit and stare at the moon and give my thoughts my full attention. However, with that being said, I can never force a poem to come out. It either comes to me or it doesn’t and I never write anything that I wouldn’t want to read, so there are plenty of times that I have to shut down what I’ve started and walk away from what I think is inferior writing.


Q: Why do you write?

A: The why is an ever-evolving thing for me. Sure, it’s easy to say that I do it because I can’t not do it; because my every fiber compels me to do it, but that’s not the whole truth. The rest of it is because I truly feel like no matter how well I might mesh with a society or situation, I still always feel like a bit of an outsider. Like I was put here for the sole purpose of observation instead of interaction. I guess it’s me reaching out, hoping to be understood. Hoping to make that connection I was never able to. I’ve got a lot of pain and joy and anger and sadness and love inside of me that I know others have too. I just want to share those feelings and be open to others sharing theirs as well. Simply put, writing is the place where I feel fully and most unabashedly me.

Q: Do you have any favorite quotes from writers?

A: Ah, we literary types love a good quote, don’t we? I feel like there is this obsession with writers to have a meaningful quote on standby for any occasion. As if to say you’re not a real writer unless you can recite a word of wisdom by Twain or Poe or Chaucer. I used to be that guy. I used to quote Faust to anybody that would listen. You know, “Vi Veri Veniversum Vivus Vici”. I’m just not that person anymore. My favorite quotes are really lowbrow movie lines that make me laugh. The one that sticks out right now is from Blazing Saddles when Bart, as the new sheriff, goes over to the Waco Kid in his cell and says “are we awake?”

Waco Kid says “that depends, are we black?”

Bart nods yes and the Waco Kid says “then we are awake, but we’re very confused”.

However, if you’re interested in a more serious quote, one that I’ve turned over in my mind many times is from, I’m fairly certain, Grendel by John Gardner. “Does not the lion wish to become a man”. To this very moment, that line still trips me up. I know it’s meant to be taken as the savage beast aching to be more than that, but I can’t help but think that the lion has a bit more sense than to want to become an even more savage human. If I were the lion, I’d eat the man, take a nap and move on. That’s elegance in its simplest form.


Q: What is one piece of advice you would give new/aspiring writers?

A: Stop trying to be the quintessential writer and just write. Don’t write for anybody but yourself. That’s the pit fall of most writers in the world. We get so hung up on whether or not a piece of work will be well received that we overlook the fact that it needs to be well delivered. If you aren’t putting any passion into what you’re doing then perhaps you shouldn’t be doing it; writers and otherwise.


Q: Do you have any collections, chapbooks, or other books available for people to purchase?

A: I have one chapbook of poetry called Wire My Scars Electric. It’s available on Amazon and the wonderful people behind Alien Buddha Press helped to make it come to fruition. It’s my first published collection of work and dedicated to my first daughter who sadly passed away too soon.


Q: Do you have any upcoming books or projects you’d like to talk about?

A: I’m in the middle of a couple of things, at the beginning of a lot of things and near the end of very few. I like that chaos though. I do have one project that I’m particularly excited about. It will be another collection of poetry and themed around nature and human interference. The tentative title is If The Lion Doesn’t Eat You, Something’s Wrong. I don’t have much to say about it other than I hope to get it to a rough draft by the end of this year and when and if I do, I really hope people will dig it. Other than that, I’m just trying to focus on being a better writer and a worse procrastinator.


Interview With Weasel Patterson

Q: When did you start writing?

John:  I started when I was in the 8th grade. I was introduced to haikus in an English class and was drawn to the structure of the poems. I didn’t write often, but continued to grow.

JoAnna: My mom and my older sister (twelve years my senior) used to read to me several times a day. When I was two years old, even with learning disabilities, I started to read to them. It wasn’t a surprise to me that I became a writer. When considering writing, the surprise came when I was in seventh grade. While attending a new school, during a placement exam, I tested out of reading, as a result, my instructor assigned me writing assignments to have a grade for that subject. Though long ago, I strongly believe these advanced writing exercises helped me immensely to fine tune and prepare my writing skills for the future.

Q: Who are your biggest inspirations/your favourite writers?

John: My favourite writer is Steven King. The vibrant details in his novels have always painted pictures in my mind.

JoAnna: Devouring short stories from readers digest, also, greatly poetry . When I was between the ages eight and ten years, I started to seek out pieces by Maya Angelou and Helen Steiner Rice. Still today, they are my absolute treasures.

Q: What time of day do you do most of your writing?

John: It comes to me at all hours of the day. Sometimes I have to make notes to come back to a thought. It could be a sound, a smell, or something I see every day that sparks an idea.

JoAnna: As a two years veteran of writing full-time, I don’t have a favorite time. When every the muse strikes me is when I sit down forget everything else, and start to write. I have learned the more I stay away from TV and Social Media sites the more inspired I become.

Q:  Why do you write?

John: It gives me a sense of accomplishment and closure. Something inspires a thought, and I need to express it in such a way as I feel it is finished.

JoAnna: I am unaware of ever having a choice. I will need to contemplate this question further. Perhaps, I will be prepared to answer it sometime in the future.

Q: Do you have any favourite quotes from writers?

John: Friedrich Nietzsche said “That which does not kill us makes us stronger.” I’m not sure who said “No one said life was fair.”

JoAnna: While I was raising my children and before the internet became a big deal, I used to study quotes. I loved them. I have too many favorites to mention. I will conclude this answer with I loved inspirational the most.

Q: What is one piece of advice you would give new/aspiring writers?

John: read, Read, READ! Our vocabulary is vastly improved when we read. Our understanding of all things is enhanced by reading.

JoAnna: Read, read, read. Pay attention to the occurrences when you are motivated to write, do it often. Mostly, regardless of where you start, never give up because you will improve.

Q: Do you have any collections, chapbooks, or other books available for people to purchase?

Our first book is available on Amazon in eBook and Paperback.

The Little Black Book of

Poetry and Prayers:

MILK AND HONEY, Volume 1

by John and JoAnna Poster et al.

eBook

Link: http://a.co/59u9w8C

Paperback

Link: http://a.co/fWwVPBi

Q: When did you start writing?

A: I don’t even know, man. I guess I’d have to say I started back in grade school, writing small poems, but I didn’t actually take it seriously until I started college. In my last year of community, I took a couple of writing courses and those teachers kicked my ass. But damn it felt nice to have a couple of things published that year. I still keep the worn-out prints as a reminder.


Q: Who are your biggest inspirations/your favorite writers?

A: When I was in high school, I loved Lovecraft. It made me want to be a horror writer, which never worked out because I opened Ginsberg’s “Howl,” and Kerouack’s “On the Road” and I ain’t never been the same since. Buddy Wakefield has been a good inspiration, I hope to catch one of his shows some day.

My husband, Sendokidu. We’ve seen so much shit together, and he’s gotten me out of some rough spots. I don’t know where I’d be without him.

Damian Rucci is definitely an inspiration. I see him post on Twitter, see him workin’ his ass off and I always think, “man, I need that kind of fuel.”

I can go on forever talking about people, but I’ll list a few more and keep it short. Folks like Thurston, LuLynne Streeter, Emily Ramser, David E. Cowen, Neil S. Reddy, Chris Wise, and Mary Margaret Carlisle have really pushed me over the years, and I couldn’t thank them enough.


Q: What time of day do you do most of your writing?

A: I don’t really pick a specific time of day to write. My brain is scrambled most of the time so I write when I can. I can say though, that I enjoy writing early in the morning, when sun is just barely rising.


Q:  Why do you write?

A: It’s cathartic.


Q: Do you have any favorite quotes from writers?

A: “I am standing like shoe polish on an overstocked shelf hoping that one day someone will pick me to make things better.”

― Buddy Wakefield, Live for a Living

“It’s not that I wait for you.

It’s that my arms are doors I cannot close.”

― Derrick Brown


Q: What is one piece of advice you would give new/aspiring writers?

A: Read. Write as much as you can, when you can. Study submission guidelines before submitting your work. And don’t take shit from nobody.


Q: Do you have any collections, chapbooks, or other books available for people to purchase?

A: I’ve published seven books so far. Mostly chapbooks. My last three projects are, “a warm place to self-destruct” (Poetry, WZL Productions), “We Live for Half-Moons” (Novella,  Thurston Howl Publications), and “Jazz at the End of the Night” (Short Story Collection, WZL Productions). Everything is available on Amazon, and you can find all my books at www.poetweasel.com

I’m working on a chapbook of fiction called “Honey & Fire” as a prequel to my novella, and I hope to have my chapbook of poetry titled, “We Don’t Make It Out Alive,” out by April (But we’ll see how that goes, depends on the cover artist and illustrator).


Interview with Red Focks

Q: When did you start writing?

A: I remember being in first grade, and my teacher Ms. Carpenter had us
writing stories. I wrote a story about my sister and I going through a tunnel in
our basement and finding a bag of money. I don’t remember many details,
except that it made everybody laugh. The next year I had the same teacher
for second grade, except she married the janitor during the summer and was
now Mrs. Cohen. I would get in trouble a lot that year, and when Cohen would
chastise me, she’d always bring up the story I wrote in first grade. Something
must have clicked, because I started writing little stories at my house around
that time.


Q: Who are your biggest inspirations/your favourite writers?

A: Stephen King is a big modern inspiration as a fiction writer. I love how he
uses settings and other subtler aspects to allow his many masterpieces to
exist in the same canonical universe. He has a simple formula, but he does
it damn well. What I learned from King is that if you want to scare the reader,
you need to develop characters properly. Make up a person that we’ll care
about, and them put them in absurd danger………………….……. As a poet,
I have been moved many times by the work of Charles Bukowski. I also must
mention the poets I read the most of all. The many talented poets in the Alien
Buddha Press, Pressure Press Presents, and Wingnut Brigade networks.
Q: What time of day do you do most of your writing?
A: As of late, between noon and the time I go to sleep. I get up, drink coffee
until I BM, eat 4 eggs, drink more coffee and check my messages related to
my work as a publisher. In my down time between jobs, I write.
Q: Why do you write?
A: It’s simply what I like to do. Everybody has their unique deck of tendencies.
If you’re lucky, you’ll find an outlet that pairs with your deck. I think that
anybody who writes a lot would agree with this on some level. Some guys
like to golf. People who golf tend to golf a lot. I would never be a “golf person”,
but I believe I can understand why it would pair well with somebody else’s
deck.


Q: Do you have any favourite quotes from writers?
A: George Carlin is the most quotable writer for me. His whole bit about
“nature getting even” is full of killer lines


Q: What is one piece of advice you would give new/aspiring writers?
A: Explore the part of your psyche that you keep on the downlow. Take
psilocybin. Take Kratom. Ingest THC. Get drunk. Drink too much coffee. Go
off the grid and live in the woods for a couple of months. Dip your feet in the
ocean. Listen to classical music. Be anything except boring.


Q: Do you have any collections, chapbooks, or other books available for
people to purchase?

A: I am on the verge of releasing a collection of short stories titled “Duffy
Street & Other Dubious Incidents”. The stories are interconnected and range
over the course of two-hundred years, from the late 1800s and into the future.
It’s all about the mechanics of conspiracy theories, and murder…. I would
also like to mention American Antihero, a graphic novel I have been
developing over the last two years. Issues 1-5 are available with writing
contributions from Mike Zone and Jay Minor, and art by Ammi Romero and
Carman Benoit. The long version “first canon” set to be over 300 pages
released in Black and White is in production.


Interview with Timothy Mbombo

When did you start writing?
 
I started writing fully in 2012. But before then, I had scribbled a few poems and two manuscripts which are still to be revisited.
 
Who are your biggest inspirations/your biggest writers?
 
Many writers have inspired me. More continue to do so. Some of the writers who readily come to mind are Chinua Achebe, Can Temba, Buchi Emecheta, Ngugi Wa Thiong’o, Dennis Brutus, Ola Rotimi, Doris Lessing, Cyprian Ekwensi, Linus Asong, John Nkemngong, Ayi Kwei Armah, Thomas Hardy, William Shakespeare, Jonathan Swift, Geoffrey Chaucer, Richard Wright, Edgar Alan Poe, Ernest Hemingway, Harriet Beecher Stowe, and Gabriel Garcia Marquez.
 
What time of day do you do most of your writing?
 
Even though I usually do not have a specific time to write, experience and records show that I do most of my writing early in the morning and late at night when I am all by myself. I am usually inspired when writing in my library.
 
Why do you write?
 
There are many reasons that keep my ink flowing. Besides the joy of it, I like the world or a wider audience to feel the way I do and to be influenced by my ideas. I like as many people as possible to see things the way I see them and to share in some of life’s ups and downs as experienced by my characters. Though my stories are richly entertaining, most of them carry the dystopian tone, which, according to me, is just the reality of life. I therefore write to entertain, philosophize, and teach the world.
 
 For example, in my latest novel The Last Bush Faller, I focused on wanton immigration of Africans to America or the West in general. My intention in this novel is to paint the true gloomy picture of what Africans in the Diaspora do to eke out a living. I think that the mass exodus of young and talented Africans to the West in quest of “manna” is illusory. With some focus, hard work, and commitment back in Africa these dreamers, who only think the pasture is greener on the Other Side, can make it too. This will safe them the heartaches of debts they accrued to cross over, the mean and multiple jobs they do to survive, and the falsehood they relay to others in Africa to maintain a certain echelon and aura.
 
In Natasha, My Love I took on the doctrine of free will and destiny; arguing that even when we cross our T’s and dot our I’s, misfortune will still be lurking around. Even Shakespeare contends that “as flies to wanton boys are we to the gods.” The gods play around with us as heartless schoolboys incapacitate insects.
 
Do you have any favorite quotes from writers?
 
I have a bunch of favorite quotes from writers. Some of these quotes serve as background or premise to my works. Some of the quotes that readily come to mind are: “Happiness was an occasional episode in the drama of pain” by Thomas Hardy, “Call no man hardy until the day he carries his happiness down to the grave in peace” by Sophocles, “For whom is it well? For whom is it well?” by Chinua Achebe, “Life moves on” by Robert Frost, “Joy has a slender body that breaks too soon” by Ola Rotimi, “Life is what happens to us while we are making other plans” by Thomas la Mance, “Some of the worst things that happened to me never happened” by Mark Twain, “Man is a little odious vermin that nature ever suffered to crawl upon the surface of the earth” by Jonathan Swift, “Woman is man’s ruin” by Geoffrey Chaucer, and “A writer is a person for whom writing is more difficult than it is for other people” by Thomas Mann.
 
What is one piece of advice you would give new/aspiring writers?
 
I would tell them to keep writing, and writing, and writing because perfection, fame, and maybe fortune come with constant writing.
 
Do you have any collections, chapbooks, or other books available for people to purchase?
 
Some of my novels that could be purchased at Amazon and other outlets are Till Date Do Us Part, Natasha, My Love, and my most recent novel: The Last Bush Faller. I have just reduced the price of The Last Bush Faller so as to attract a wider readership. I remember when Achebe was asked which of his books did he like most; he replied that it would be sheer invidiousness for a father to classify his children in order of importance. However, Achebe pointed out that the book he would be caught reading most often is Arrow of God. I think the novel I will be caught leafing through again and again is The Last Bush Faller.
 
Since the ink of my pen is so eager to flow, my audience should be expecting to hear from me soon!

 

Interview with Ryan Quinn Flanagan

Q: When did you start writing?

A:  My first published poem was when I was ten.  A horrible little piece about my teacher for the school competition that I had to keep reciting for people until I forgot it.  I remember being SO nervous…probably has a bit to do with my social anxiety disorder now.  But as for any real writing attempts they came much later in my late teens and on.  Still clumsy fumblings of course, but it is hardly ever a pretty process I should imagine. Probably quite the horror show when viewed from the outside, but boy do we like to stew in our own dark little cocoons.  I’m 38 now, so mine has been going on for quite some time.  No butterflies at the end.  Just the magic of some half decent words with any luck.


Q: Who are your biggest inspirations/your favorite writers?

A: I don’t know about inspirations, but I do have many favourite writers: Kafka, Fante, Orwell, Hamsun, Joyce, and Dostoevsky in terms of prose and novels.  When it comes to poetry: Richard Brautigan, Leonard Cohen, Bukowski, William Blake, early Ginsberg, Al Purdy, E.E Cummings, Siegfried Sassoon, Auden, etc. Basho is fantastic for economy of verse.  I’m normally not a fan of haiku, but Basho is amazing!  I also enjoy Roald Dahl stories very much.

Ben John Smith out of Melbourne, Australia is the best modern writer out there today in my opinion.  I also enjoy the work of Rich Wink and Wayne F. Burke and Steven Storrie among others.


Q: What time of day do you do most of your writing?

A:  I used to write at night.  I would start about 8 in the pm and go until about 3 in the morning.  Then I would make dinner, eat, and go to bed.  Now I write during the day whenever I can.  Life gets in the way as it does for all of us but I was diagnosed with PTSD and Major Depressive Disorder (among other things) so the medications I have to take throughout the day at specific times ensure that I have to stick to a more normal schedule than I used to.  Still, writing is more of a compulsion for me than anything else, so whatever is going on in my life I always seem to find time to write even when it seems I don’t have it.  I’m often reminded of Monet standing over his dying wife’s deathbed and studying the colour gradations of death so he could paint it later rather than mourning properly.  Not that I am Monet or anything, but it really does become that kind of self-absorbed sickness.  Writing is a selfish thing to do.  Outside of it, I try to be a better person when I can.


Q:  Why do you write?

A:  Like I said, writing is a compulsion for me…a sickness of sorts.  I believe they call it Hypergraphia.  I write all over everything: mirrors, old newspapers, oatmeal packets, envelopes, the computer, yellow sticky notes…whatever.  I know others write as a form of therapy and others still for enjoyment but it is just a compulsion for me; a repetitive mechanism more than anything.  I remember when writing used to make me happy, that feeling you would get, that great swelling inside when you knew you had done good – better than any drug in existence!  But I don’t feel that anymore.  I feel good for those that do.  If writing is therapeutic in some way or makes you happy than do that.  It is good to be happy.  There is much too much of the other in the world.


Q: Do you have any favorite quotes from writers?

A: Plenty:

“I don’t need an alarm clock. My ideas wake me.”  – Ray Bradbury

“The earth laughs in flowers” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Reduce intellectual and emotional noise until you arrive at the silence of yourself, and listen to it.” – Richard Brautigan

“All my life, my heart has yearned for a thing I cannot name” – Andre Breton

The summit sings what is being spoken in the depths” – Tristan Tzara

“Even when we sleep we watch over one another” – Paul Eluard

“Some people never go crazy.  What truly horrible lives they must lead.” – Charles Bukowski

“Remember: Plot is no more than footprints left in the snow after your characters have run by on their way to incredible destinations” – Ray Bradbury

“We’re past the age of heroes and hero kings…Most of our lives are basically mundane and dull, and it’s up to the writer to find ways to make them interesting” – John Updike


Q: What is one piece of advice you would give new/aspiring writers?

A:  You will most assuredly begin with some form of mimicry based on what you have read and how you have come to it but you must find your own voice and be uncompromising in that voice.  Also, do not be so worried about what others will think.  Write fiercely and with a brutal honesty that will lose you friends and put strains on your personal and familial relationships.  Lastly, never forgot to inject your work with humour.  You either laugh at the joke or you become the joke…I choose to laugh.


Q: Do you have any collections, chapbooks, or other books available for people to purchase?

A: I do.  If you are interested in checking out some of my work you can find it at the usual haunts: Amazon, Chapters/Indigo, Barnes and Noble etc., as well as at lulu.com or from many of the individual publishers directly.  The easiest way is probably from my personal website: http://ryanquinnflanagan.yolasite.com/

Interview with Matt Duggan


When did you start writing?

I started writing around the age of 13 and started submitting to journals when I was 21 the first poems I had published were in Decanto, Carillon, Poetry Express, Chimera, Connections. The editor of Connections Jeanne Conn was wonderful at giving me advice with hand written acceptance letters, as then the only way to submit to magazines was via snailmail.


Who are your biggest inspirations/favourite writers?

I suppose who inspired me was a dear friend of mine, she inspired me to play with form and imagery and to write about experience and the imagination, it’s a shame as she died many years ago now and never got to see any of my poems being published. I’m sure she would have been most proud of me now. Favourite writers range from Auden, Rimbaud, Pound, Henri, Coleridge, Garcia Lorca, Tony Harrison, Weldon Kees, Simon Armitage, Brendan Kennelly, Pablo Neruda, Verlaine, and so many more.


What time of day do you do most of your writing?

It all depends really, but a lot of the time I write in the early hours usually between 3 – 5am


Why do you write?

I write for several reasons sometimes because I think certain subjects need to be addressed, and nobody seems to be writing anything on these themes, highlighting important issues like politics, media, propaganda, periods of history that have been forgotten. Sometimes I like to write about travel, and the more personal aspects in my life like love and experience.

  


Do you have any favourite quotes from writers?

“To gain your own voice, you have to forget about having it heard” Allen Ginsberg

“Style is to forget all styles” Jules Renard

“To defend what you’ve written is a sign that you are alive” William Zinsser

“We are all apprentices in a craft where no one is the master” Hemingway


What is one piece of advice you would give new/aspiring writers?

I’d say support artists/poets and read and buy as many books as possible and never give up, no matter how many rejections you receive. Rejections for me inspire me even more, that one day that editor will take something from me in the end. Plus, never be intimidated by others this is only a sign of their weakness and envy that they want to undermine you in some childish way.


Do you have any collections, chapbooks, or other books available for people to purchase?

Yes I do I won the prestigious Erbacce Prize for Poetry last year from 5,000 other poets with my first full collection Dystopia 38.10, which was published at the beginning of this year, the book has received many ***** reviews in poetry journals. You can pick up a signed here

http://erbacce-press.webeden.co.uk/#/matt-duggan/4590351997

Plus this year I have promoted the book with many invitations to read with book launches in Cheltenham, Cirencester, Bristol, Middlesbrough, London, I was also asked to read my work in Greece recently, and have also been invited to read at the Poetry on the Lake Festival in Italy at the beginning of October. I have a few more invitations coming up later on this year in Newport and Swansea, and I’m also working on my next collection of poems which should be finished by the end of next year.

Born 1971, Bristol, U.K. 

Matt Duggan won the Erbacce Prize for Poetry in 2015 with his first full collection  Dystopia 38.10. His poems have been published worldwide in magazines such as Prole, The Journal, The Seventh Quarry, Ink, Sweat, and Tears, Carillon, Harbinger Asylum, Apogee Magazine, A New Ulster, The Dawntreader, Illumen, Page and Spine, Lunar Poetry Magazine…
Matt also runs his own poetry evenings which started with ‘An Evening of Spoken Indulgence at Hydra Bookshop from 2013 -2015, and Page and Performance 2015 -2017. Also this year Matt was offered the position as one of six members at Erbacce Press, where he helps and supports new poets to the press.   

Interview with Sarah NorthWood

Interview with Sarah NorthWood


Q: When did you start writing?

A: Apart from stories in school, I started writing a little over 2 years ago. Although looking back I had always used writing as a therapeutic outlet.  Writing with intent started one morning, I was frustrated finding myself redundant and unable to find a job that would fit my work/life balance. The kids were kicking up a fuss, you can imagine the scene, one of those mornings? I sat down and a poem came bursting out. I’ve never looked back. Now I have published a children’s poem book, a romance novel and escaping shortly is The Volunteer, a Horror Novella. As well as this I’ve written a couple of hundred poems that I’m proud of!


Q: Who are your biggest inspirations/your favourite writers?

A: I was and am an uneducated literary individual. Not one of those who could point to a famous poet and say, yes its them, they inspire me. I loved to read children’s books, all the obvious, Enid Blyton, AA Milne and Road Dahl when I was younger. My tastes these days are darker and I prefer psychological stories and emotive ones. As for poets I’m constantly inspired by my fellow poets from the website All poetry as well as the wonderful facebook groups I am in. I read obsessively and watch a huge amount of films and series. A big influence for me in terms of Poetry writing comes musically as I also like to write songs and lyrics. Some of the finest poems are in fact songs.


Q: What time of day do you do most of your writing?

A: I would say it is not so much a time of a day as a space in my head. Late at night, when my brain is trying to process the thoughts from the day is often productive. I do have to sit down at other times and force myself to write to fit in with family life and working part time. Sometimes I prefer total isolation, quite often in fact and other times I like to be surrounded by family. I’ll often find a tune and lyrics come to me when I’m not thinking about them, and I’m doing something routine. Hoovering is a favourite for this! I think perhaps it’s my minds way of telling me I don’t like housework..


Q:  Why do you write?

A: I write primarily for myself. It satisfies a creative need I’d been searching for all my life. Until I put pen to paper I didn’t realise that it would be writing, now I can’t imagine it being anything else. A lot of things held me back earlier in life, lack of confidence the most obvious one. As I can’t sing and I am not artistically inclined I could never find that thing, I guess sometimes you have to wait until later in life to realise your dreams. Writing poetry conveys and captures so many different things, it is a way to deal with emotions, capture a memory, or find out what you are thinking. It’s a tool to create something positive out of a bad situation and a place to take you where only dreams can go. I love it!


Q: Do you have any favorite quotes from writers?

A: Yes and far too many too write here. One recent one is almost a motto rather than a quote, “the only limits we have are the ones we put on ourselves.” I’m making this my mission statement.


Q: What is one piece of advice you would give new/aspiring writers?

Not everyone can be as lucky as I am and are able to write freely and have the time available to them. I’m not sure I can stick to just one, but as a bit of general advice I’ll try! Write with freedom and confidence, push deeper and further than you think you can, experiment but most of all write what drives you, your passions will keep you going when times get rough.