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"To talk on and on". "Meandering". Bring It.

Leah Angstman

Leah Angstman has been at this for years, producing books and spaces and relationships between writers and artists. Some of the answers cover things you know, and some might just surprise you. We threw Leah a few curve balls here because we knew that she would rise to the challenge and we knew that she would bring her independent spirit to the process and we weren’t disappointed. Interviewed by Lynn Alexander, for Full Of Crow, December 2012. 

LA: I’m sure many people want to know, in your words: Why do you want to be part of the small press?

Leah: It’s cliché to say it feels like family, but the small press is this all-encompassing entity that functions like its own little village.  It has the town criers, the town gossip hens, the angry, the depressed, the incarcerated, the good, the bad, and the ugly.  I can open a small-press publication and read a fresh, new author right alongside 94-year-old poet laureate Ed Galing, and it doesn’t feel forced or out of place.  The playing field is leveled; the authors are all different and quirky—but eternally grateful; and, while a lot of the writing is daring, all of it is honest because the writers don’t hide behind extensive contracts, big paychecks, and high expectations.  They are self-aware and write for the love of it, knowing they may never make a buck. Continue Reading…

Posted 4 years, 6 months ago at .

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Michael Grover

  Michael Grover is a Toledo-based poet, activist, and editor. He is the head poetry editor at Red Fez and author of the recently released chapbook “American Eyes”, which I just finished reading prior to this interview. It’s a great collection of poems, and I find Michael’s unapologetic attitude about political poetry to be refreshing and bold. He is willing to write what he sees, and say what he thinks. He seemed like a good choice to kick off the new series here at PRATE. -Lynn Alexander

LA: Tell us about what you are doing right now: your poetry, new books, upcoming projects, editing roles, reading series- tell us a little bit about where you are at right now.
MDG: I have a new book coming out sometime next year on Tainted Coffee Press called “A Shotgun Does The Trick”. I’m really proud of that. It’s my first book. I have a new chapbook coming out on CFDL press in February. It’s called “Some People Go Crazy”. It’s about a bad relationship I recently went through. The woman just drowned in her problems literally. There was nothing I could do. I’ve got a huge poem that I’ve been working on for three years now. It’s called “Confessions Of An american Outlaw”. It’s up to number two eighty something right now. I really do feel that is my best and most defining work. Once the book comes out, I plan on looking into getting that published as a whole. It’s just the Poem that never ends. It will follow me to the grave.
As far as editing goes, I am the current head Poetry editor of Red Fez. I have been for over two years now. A couple of months ago my friend Matt and I were lamenting at his kitchen table the death of yet another print Poetry zine. I used to do a punk zine, so I told him we could do a print zine ourselves. That night Mixolydian Blues was born. Matt came up with the name. It has something to do with the Beatles. I don’t know, I hate The Beatles. Always have. I just let him name it. We are having a launch for that at the open mic at The Black Kite in January.
Which brings me to the reading series at The Black Kite. Pretty much I had been hosting readings here at the Collingwood Arts Center for four years and that changed. Suddenly I was on the outside politically and no one would tell me why. It was a tough time, I had put everything into this place. Suddenly then from out of nowhere, this coffee shop opens up right on the corner in this ghetto assed neighborhood that has nothing but churches. It was actually a really cool coffee shop. It was like a sign that it should be my next move. So I talked to the owner about doing a reading once a month. She was not crazy about the idea but said we could try it out. By the end of the first reading she was begging to do it twice a month. So now I host an open mic on the first Monday, and features and an open mic on the third. It’s going great. We have our first out of state feature coming in February, it’s Michele McDannold. She was in town for one night and we went there that morning for breakfast and she decided she had to feature there. She fell in love with the place, which is not hard to do. The reading is evolving. Last night we streamed it on U-Stream for the first time. It’s exciting and Toledo needs the culture. Continue Reading…

Posted 4 years, 6 months ago at .

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Full Of Crow Interview Series

We will once again revive the Interviews section at Full OF Crow for Fall, with many interviews coming up from poets, writers, and publishers in the independent press as well as artists, musicians, and people of interest. The goal of PRATE is to explore the person behind the projects and creative work, to raise the curtain, to let the subjects tell their story. Please check back in a few weeks for new content here! Have a suggestion for a person to interview? Check out the “About” page for more information.

Posted 4 years, 9 months ago at .

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John Swain, From 2011

This was one of my favorite interviews with one of my favorite people, poet John Swain. This is a repost from a year ago, before I met him in person, before I could really call him a friend, when all I really knew was the work. I loved his poems then, and love them even more now. -Lynn Alexander

LA: When did you first call yourself a poet, or describe yourself this way? How did it feel, using the term applied to what you do?

JS: The appellation, “Poet,” is to me an honorific, much in the same manner as a title or an esteemed degree, earned through, as you have said before, “the service of words.”   While for as long as I can remember I held an inward sense of myself as a poet or rather one who creates or transforms, I could not coronate myself like a tyrant.  The term only held legitimacy once it was bestowed by another in recognition of the quality of the work itself and not any mysterious quality in me as a person.  Therefore, I struggled toward the name “Poet” like a mask to inhabit.  The process is long and full of pain and loneliness and doubt and it still continues.  It is also the greatest joy, a dream I strive to live in and maintain and overcome so as to keep discovery anew. Continue Reading…

Posted 5 years, 3 months ago at .

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Robert Masterson

Robert Masterson is a poet and teacher, and we are happy to present his interview here at PRATE.


1. Do you think that a formal education in the arts – i.e. Poetics, Literature- is important for an aspiring writer? What do you think a prospective student gains from an academic experience?

 

This question has bothered me for a long time. Prior to World War II and for even some years after, if one expressed interest in becoming a writer, the last advice in the world would have been to go to school. Writers need something to write about, experiences that will be of interest to a reader and, honestly, there isn’t much of that in college. Instead, aspiring writers sought out experience by joining the navy, becoming a lumberjack, hitchhiking across Peru, working as a bouncer in a whorehouse, and just about anything other than sitting around brooding about term papers and midterm exams. Continue Reading…

Posted 5 years, 3 months ago at .

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Josh Cicci

Artist and comedian Josh Cicci, interviewed by Aleathia Drehmer for PRATE. Mostly self trained, Joshua is a published artist/illustrator. His work has been featured in the Connection newspaper and you can see “The Prickly Pair” comic strip running monthly in the Tubac Villager.

AD:  What were your favorite cartoons and comics as a kid?  What really planted the bug in you to want to start drawing?

Josh Cicci:  I can’t recall the exact age, but when I was about 6 or 7ish I cut the tips of my two middle fingers off on a family camping trip (funny story, you had taught me earlier in the week or so what the middle fingers mean, when we found a carved-wooden middle-finger by meme’s shed). Continue Reading…

Posted 6 years, 5 months ago at .

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Richard Godwin

Richard Godwin is a London-based writer of dark crime fiction, and his first novel “Apostle Rising” will be released this spring from Black Jackal Books, and it can be ordered here. Richard Godwin’s Website: http://richardgodwin.net

Interviewed by Lynn Alexander for FOC Prate
LA: I will start with the usual items that writers are asked about: current projects, books, the things that need to be promoted and where to find them. Please give me a brief rundown, and then we will focus on “Apostle Rising”, your forthcoming novel, specifically. After that, I hope that you will indulge my curiosity about some other matters. So, to start with an introduction, what is going on with Richard Godwin? Continue Reading…

Posted 6 years, 5 months ago at .

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John Swain

John Swain is the author of several books of poetry, most recently “Handing The Cask” from UK based erbacce press. You can order it here.

LA: When did you first call yourself a poet, or describe yourself this way? How did it feel, using the term applied to what you do?

JS: The appellation, “Poet,” is to me an honorific, much in the same manner as a title or an esteemed degree, earned through, as you have said before, “the service of words.”   While for as long as I can remember I held an inward sense of myself as a poet or rather one who creates or transforms, I could not coronate myself like a tyrant.  The term only held legitimacy once it was bestowed by another in recognition of the quality of the work itself and not any mysterious quality in me as a person.  Therefore, I struggled toward the name “Poet” like a mask to inhabit.  The process is long and full of pain and loneliness and doubt and it still continues.  It is also the greatest joy, a dream I strive to live in and maintain and overcome so as to keep discovery anew.

LA: What would you say about how much of your identity it comprises? I know you as a poet, but there is much to know about John Swain, “creator.” What are your other interests, and what might you be interested in exploring in the future? What else are you anxious to try, if anything?

JS: My totality.  While I tend to compartmentalize my life and I believe each individual is necessarily comprised of several, even infinite, aspects, these are part of a unified mind-soul-and-body consciousness that flows in and through each other ultimately toward the expression of reinvention and fulfillment.  There are many varied points along the way to be investigated, broad as the scope of human experience.  Poetry cannot be conceptualized in the economics of Continue Reading…

Posted 6 years, 6 months ago at .

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Andrew Bowen

Andrew Bowen, editor of Divine Dirt Quarterly and immersed in the Conversion Project, interviewed by Lynn Alexander.

LA: I often start by asking about current projects, books, collections, the “work”. Can you run down some of your projects, such as Divine Dirt Quarterly?

AB: Sure.  I started Divine Dirt Quarterly (DDQ) in the Fall of 2009 because I was just beginning to write theological fiction—that is, fiction that deals with religious issues within a secular context, and found that the work either had too much religion for more secular markets and not enough for the religious markets. DDQ was my offering to folks like me who wanted to explore theological issues through fiction, poetry, art, non-fiction, and even film without fear of censorship. Continue Reading…

Posted 6 years, 7 months ago at .

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William Brian MacLean


William Brian MacLean produces and distributes independent comics, and his work can be found at Rooster Tree, here. Interviewed for PRATE by Lynn Alexander.

LA: Could you start by describing Rooster Tree, and your current projects?

WBM: RoosterTree is the name I use when self-publishing comics. There was a time when I was excited about the prospect of bringing my talented friends together as a collective, but it sputtered. Now RoosterTree is an effort in self-reliance, & I branch out from here to work with others.

Currently, I’m passionate about non-fiction. The trampling of rights, gender bias & sexual ignorance, age bias & generational ignorance, these things in particular gall me to no end. I’m compelled to sculpt them into the comics form.

LA: I remember some of our discussions at Outsider Writers, where I first came across you and your work. OWC is a collective of diverse, creative individuals who share a sense that they are apart in many ways from mainstream or established institutions or communities, many are self taught Continue Reading…

Posted 6 years, 8 months ago at .

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