Peter Milne Greiner's work has been featured in Motherboard, Dark Mountain, Fence, SciArt Magazine, and elsewhere, and has been lauded by the likes of Jeff VanderMeer and Claire L. Evans. He studied poetry at The New School under Sekou Sundiata, and is a scholar of the history of the Roaring Forties. In July of 2013 he sent a poem into space through the Jamesburg Earth Station in Carmel Valley, California. He is the author of the chapbook Executive Producer Chris Carter. LOST CITY HYDROTHERMAL Field is his first full length collection.Read More
Poet and performer Valerie Hsiung is the author of three full-length poetry collections: e f g: a trilogy (Action Books, 2016), incantation inarticulate (O Balthazar Press, 2013), and under your face (O Balthazar Press, 2013). Her poetry and interviews can be found or is forthcoming in an array of places, including American Letters & Commentary, Apiary, Black Nerd Problems, Cloud Rodeo, Cosmonauts Avenue, Bone Bouquet, Denver Quarterly, DIAGRAM, Diode Poetry Journal, Hayden’s Ferry Review, Mad Hatters’ Review, Moonshot, New Delta Review, PEN Poetry Series, Prelude, RealPoetik, Tammy, and VOLT. She has performed at Casa Libre en la Solana, Common Area Maintenance, Leon Gallery, Poetic Research Bureau, Rhizome, Shapeshifter Lab, and Treefort Music Festival, among elsewhere. Born in Cincinnati, Ohio, Hsiung studied literary translation at Brown University and is currently based out of Brooklyn, New York, where she works as a modern-day matchmaker. She serves as an editor for Poor Claudia.Read More
Everyone seems to know who Michael J. Seidlinger is, even if just by name. Seidlinger is a ghost — the kind of ghost who messes up you book case and reorders everything so you can't actually find what you're looking for. But then when you actually look back at all of the reordered books, you find something beautiful stuck in there that you hadn't seen before.Read More
Marcus Bowers, also known as Lateef Dameer in music circles, is a force of nature. He blends music and poetry together seamlessly. He collaborates with poets and writers to create music alongside writing (which you can listen to here) with the collective Brooklyn Gypsies. Over the past few years, Bowers has been working on "First Kiss," which is best described as a music, poetry, and documentary album, Bowers wrote lyrics, recorded music, and interviewed people on what they think love is. And that's a question worth asking - and answering.Read More
Much has changed between my generation and the time period my mothers generation terms of technology, politics, gender norms, but most notably with dating. In her new book, Girls & Sex, journalist and mother Peggy Orenstein interviews over 70 women and discusses sexuality with experts to reveal some shocking (and often overlooked) truths about the reality of girls and sex.Read More
Roberto Montes’ "I Don’t Know Do You" was named one of the Best Books of 2014 by NPR and was also a finalist for the Thom Gunn Award for Gay Poetry from the Publishing Triangle. This says a lot for a first book. But there is so much more here. Montes’ poems speak eloquently on the trials and travails of living in our modern society, of growth and change, of politics and poetics, and mostly of love in its many forms and formats. I consider myself lucky to call Roberto a friend and colleague. We graduated together in 2013 from the New School’s MFA program. Lucky ‘13 – I like to call it. Our graduating class of twenty-seven poets has already made great inroads, at least seven of us have books out or forthcoming; and we’re all forging forward in our own ways while learning how to navigate the strange and exciting world of Poetry and Publishing.Read More
BY JOANNA C. VALENTE
If there was ever a poet who was dedicated to craft, it would be Anthony Cappo. Recently, his first chapbook “My Bedside Radio,” was published by Deadly Chaps Press--which is a collection that explores the nuances of family dynamics, and what happens when the family structure disintegrates. What makes the collection so unique is the fact that the poems rely on music, particularly '70s music, as a way to reflect the speaker's own mental state and time period.
I was lucky enough to interview him on craft, how he chose the soundtrack, and more:
JV: Why did you choose to tell the story through songs and popular music of your childhood? How did you actually choose the songs?
AC: Well, it kind of started accidentally. The first poem was one that didn’t even mention a song. But it was a very early childhood memory of (mis)hearing a radio news report about guerillas escaping prison. I guess that got me in an early childhood space and thinking about the radio and all the songs I remembered listening to. Music has always been very important to me, and song lyrics and childhood memories are always popping up in my poems anyway. So, I started writing about memories directly associated with certain songs, and soon, I had a number of poems like that. Then, I realized it was a theme and just kind of went with it. After a couple of months, I had a draft of a chapbook-length work.
I didn’t choose the songs in any organized way. I just thought about songs that were important to me at the time. And I’m not in any way saying that all of these are good songs, or are ones I would choose to listen to now! But they were important or memorable to me then, and they really brought back the feelings of growing up. Some of the songs are associated with very specific memories, and others kind of more evocatively brought me back to certain places or times.
What is your writing and editing process like? I know you value editing tremendously. Would you say the poems come alive more after the editing process? How do you know when a poem is done?
I’m a big editor of my work. I looked back on the early drafts of these poems and some are so different from the final versions, but one or two are surprisingly close. In general, I like to write as much as I can in the first draft, which can sometimes be as little as one or two lines if I’m rushing off to work in the morning. Then, after I’ve written a full first draft, I read it over, and look for things that are unclear or words or images that fall flat. And from there it’s just a process of chiseling away. After I feel like I’ve gotten as far as I can with the poem, I put it away for a while. Eventually, I come back to it and tighten it up even more.
I really do liken writing poetry to sculpting—chipping away until I feel like I’ve arrived at the “essential poem.” I know the poem’s done when some time has passed and I feel like there’s nothing else I can do to make it better—the rhythm fits, the images are interesting, and there aren’t any excess or leaden words. But I work very slowly; it can take months to get to that point and even then, I’m always looking to change a word here and there. I follow the old Orson Welles ad line: “We will sell no wine before its time”!
Other than other writing, what influenced and inspired you during this time?
I went back and listened to some of the songs I remembered. I was listening to a lot of ‘70s songs on YouTube during this period. Not exclusively, of course, but I was allowing myself to indulge in a little nostalgia.
But really, I’ve been blessed (and cursed, haha) with a really good memory and have vivid recall of many things that happened during my childhood. And because I did listen to music so much during this period (and yes, I did have a bedside radio) it was easy to recall songs that went with the memories, and vice versa.
On the subject of writing honestly about childhood and family secrets, I’ve always been in awe of Louise Gluck’s “Ararat.” I read that book literally with my jaw open, thinking I can’t believe she just wrote about that. In some ways, I’d say that book was a permission-giver.
What part of you writes your poems? What are your obsessions?
My poor little battered heart! But seriously, I try to suppress intellectuality and rationality as much as I can when I’m writing first drafts. For me, poems are primarily an emotional expression (“Since feeling is first”!) and that’s what I want to convey. But, of course, on revision the head enters the picture in a much bigger way.
Obsessions? Well, I read an article once that recommended that in ordering a manuscript it was a good idea to group poems into different themes. I did this with mine and one of the biggest themes was “personality disintegration,” so there’s that. But I also write a lot about the search for love and intimacy/loneliness, God/childhood religiosity, and, of course, music and childhood memories.
What are you working on now? What's a dream project for you?
I’m working on revising a full-length manuscript that started out as my MFA thesis, but has been through several iterations since. I’ve sent it out, to no success, and I really want to get it right. So I’m in the process of picking off my darlings, replacing them with newer work, and trying to come up with a manuscript that reflects the best work I’ve written.
I’ve also started on what might become another chapbook, which features kind of an alter ego character through whom I can make light of my obsessions and misadventures. I’ve started out on a handful of poems, but have been largely bogged down at the moment with other things. But I plan to get back to them. Mostly, because they’re so much fun to write.
Anthony Cappo is a poet living and working in New York City. His poems have appeared in Prelude, Stone Highway Review, Connotation Press – An Online Artifact, Pine Hills Review, Yes Poetry, and other publications. His chapbook, “My Bedside Radio,” is published by Deadly Chaps Press. Anthony received his M.F.A in creative writing from Sarah Lawrence College.
Joanna C. Valente is a human who lives in Brooklyn, New York. She is the author of Sirs & Madams (Aldrich Press, 2014), The Gods Are Dead (Deadly Chaps Press, 2015), Marys of the Sea (forthcoming 2016, ELJ Publications) & Xenos (forthcoming 2017, Agape Editions). She received her MFA in writing at Sarah Lawrence College. She is also the founder of Yes, Poetry, as well as the chief editor for Luna Luna Magazine. Some of her writing has appeared in Prelude, The Atlas Review, The Huffington Post, Columbia Journal, and elsewhere. She has lead workshops at Brooklyn Poets.