Home » NewPages Blog » Interviews

NewPages Blog :: Interviews

In these interviews, writers who also teach discuss publishing, teaching, the business of editing and managing literary journals, and, of course, their own work and process. They offer advice and hard-won wisdom for burgeoning writers and their teachers. We also ask them about their favorite music, and who knows, maybe a favorite writer or two, and a great coffeeshop or beer to add to your “must try” list.

New 5-in-5 Interview with Mohja Kahf

Glass Mountain logo

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.”

The Boiler Under Pressure

Online literary magazine The Boiler has an exciting interview series “Under Pressure.” This series highlights previous contributors and focuses on elements of craft and process – excellent reading for both writers and readers.

You can currently find interviews with Dana Alsamsam, Esteban Rodriguez, Kayleb Rae Candrilli, Jenny Molberg, Stephanie Cawley, Alyse Bensel, Dorothy Chan, Anthony Cody, Lena Khalaf Tuffaha, Marlin M. Jenkins, Todd Dillard, K-Ming Chang, Michael Torres, Dorsey Craft, Tatiana Ryckman, Alan Chazaro, Malcolm Friend, Sara Lupita Olivares, Roberto Carlos Garcia, Melissa Wiley, Jody Chan, Naima Yael Tokunow, Kelly Grace Thomas, and Jessica Abughattas.

“The Purpose of Translingual Poetry Centers on Going Beyond”: A Conversation between Haoran Tong and Ilan Stavans

On August 17 literary magazine The Common featured a conversation between Ilan Stavans and Haoran Tong on poetry and the use of multiple languages. Besides talking on how language is used and how they consider it in their own work, you also get to learn how they grew up and learned their languages from it being completely natural with no dominance of one language over the other to acquiring a new language as being an invasion.

My English education, in contrast, focused more on practical dialogues than on literature. English was taught to me as a useful tool to acquire more knowledge, but Chinese was me. This probably explains my initial reluctance to use English elements in Chinese poems, or vice versa. Moreover, I seriously scrutinized my poems, out of guilt, for any “latinized” syntax that sounded “unChinese.”

Stavans and Tong also talk on “decidophobia” and how common it is now when in societies today choices are constantly demanded and their is always the underlying fear that you may make the wrong one.

Decidophobia is a common social trait, especially in capitalist societies: we are constantly demanding ourselves to make a choice. This, obviously, comes with the fear of making the wrong one. Is it possible to have too many choices before us? Should one try to avoid such a situation? Probably not.

And if you are interested in translation versus translingualism, Stavans and Tong have a lot to bring to the table on the subject as well: “Whereas translation tells, explains, or instructs, translingual writing shows, infuses and liberates.” Check out the interview in it’s entirety.

10 Questions from The Massachusetts Review

The Massachusetts Review aids readers in learning more about the writers they publish on their MR Online component. In a section called “10 Questions,” contributors answer the same ten questions. Because these are the same ten questions and are not personalized, the interviews are all pretty casual, but they do offer insight into writing rituals and inspiration.

Contributors also answer the question, “What did you want to be when you were young?” I loved seeing the variety of responses and especially appreciated Amanda Hawkins’s answer:

When I was seven I wanted to be sixteen so I could drive. When I was ten I wanted to be a writer. When I was thirteen I wanted to be an English professor. When I was seventeen I wanted to be a person who kept lentils and and rice in jars. When I was twenty I wanted to be a baker. I’m not sure looking back if I’ve been determined or just unimaginative, because I’ve done all these things to some degree, but not exactly in that order.

Other recent interviewed contributors from the Summer 2021 issue include Mike White, Bettina Judd, Adrian Matejka, and Joshua Garcia.

Frances Riddle Interviews Claudia Piñeiro

cover of Elena Knows by Claudia PiñeiroTranslator Frances Riddle sits down to interview Argentine author Claudia Piñeiro about her writing life and new book, Elena Knows (Charco Press, July 2021). Piñeiro talks about how she believes writing came formatted in her DNA as she felt the need to express herself with the written word. She also talked about how she couldn’t study writing or humanities at college as the military dictatorship in Argentina had closed all humanities departments. Her writing education was informal workshops taught by well-known, important writers at houses, cafes, or bars. She personally recognizes Guillermo Saccomanno as her mentor as she studied with him the longest.

If I could sum it up: my formation has been just me seeking out things I could add on to learn to write better.

Piñeiro talks about how you cannot make a living as a writer in Argentina and how she had to write surrounded by her kids, the doorbell ringing, and other distractions. She also talks about her writing practice.

I don’t have an outline. . . . But I do have an idea—a global idea—of where the characters will go and what’s going to happen. And I do imagine the ending. Then, during writing, sometimes I take those routes, or sometimes I veer off onto other paths. Often the ending changes.

Read the full interview online in the Southwest Review.

At The Festival Review: Rachel Lynn on Songwriting and Activism

Visit The Festival Review for The Inkhorn, home of weekly online exclusives. There, you can find a recently published interview with singer-songwriter Rachel Lynn. The interview discusses her song “She Tried to Drown me” and activism. Half of the proceeds of “She Tried to Drown Me” will be donated to the Audre Lorde Project.

Interviewer: The last time we spoke, you said you weren’t interested in promoting, or even creating, during the pandemic. What’s changed?

Rachel Lynn: We’ve been sitting on this release since the beginning of the quarantine. It was supposed to have been released in early June. The content was already created. This is a project I’ve had for a while, and I’ve been ready to move forward creatively. But I didn’t want to take up space. I still don’t want to take up too much space. One of the things I realize is that the fight for racial justice has to be woven into our lives. I thought, if I do this release and donate to an organization that is fighting for Black Trans lives, that is one way to incorporate the fight into my life.

I put out a song one year ago about veganism and animal rights, another system of oppression. And all the proceeds from that song were donated to Mercy for Animals. I definitely feel like it’s one way I can connect art and my work to activism and social justice. I am kind of a broke artist and this is a way I can make a donation, by linking it to the sales of this project. I probably won’t be doing anything new though, like creating new content.

You can find the full interview and links to Rachel Lynn’s music at The Festival Review‘s website.

Off the Coast Interviews Fiona Sze-Lorrain

abstract painting of differing blue shades covering a wooden frameOnline literary magazine Off the Coast features a regular interview series where they correspond with a writer about their latest book. In the Summer 2021 issue, you will find an interview with Fiona Sze-Lorrain. Her book Rain in Plural has been shortlisted for the 2021 Derek Walcott Prize for Poetry.

Interviewer A.E. Talbot discusses poetic lineage, the writing process (“I don’t have a writing process, in part since I fear it may encourage me into romanticizing or fetishizing the act of writing.”), Sze-Lorrain’s roles as both poet and translator (” I work more at being a human being”), and more.

They also talk about Sze-Lorrain’s collaboration with composter Peter Child and her thoughts on “underrated” poets. You can also read three poems by Sze-Lorrain in this issue.

Too bad that the mainstream media and publishing cares more for the “show” than poetry, thought, and reflection.

Check out the full interview.

At Chinese Literature Today: An Interview with Liu Cixin

On the Chinese Literature Today website, find an interview with Liu Cixin by Okuma Yuichiro translated by John Broach. In this interview, the two discuss Liu Cixin’s The Three-Body Problem trilogy and how it connects to China’s past as well as the present day approach to COVID-19.

Okuma Yuichiro: Isn’t humanity being threatened by an unknown virus similar to aliens using communication as an attempt to invade Earth?

Liu Cixin: [ . . . ] From a broader perspective, the pandemic has revealed a non-linear historical model: history can change directions at any moment. This unpredictable state of the future gives sci-fi fiction a vast imaginary space and many potential narratives.

We should anticipate possible crises, for example, what would happen if there is a breakthrough in Artificial Intelligence that makes AI smarter than humans? How do we deal with a situation in which medical advancements allow people to escape their limited lifespan and live forever? The problem is that no one person or country is truly thinking through these issues. Only sci-fi fiction sometimes mulls over these potential crises.

The interview ends with a message, Cixin saying, “But again, if we want to survive we have to change, this is, I hope, what readers can get from my work.” Stop by CLT‘s website to check out the full interview.

“The Paper Drinks the Ink” – An Interview with Sam Roxas-Chua in Bellingham Review

In Issue 82 of Bellingham Review is a feature on asemic art: “To Those Whose Eyes Wander.” This feature includes work by Sam Roxas-Chua who was interviewed by Stephen Haines. In this interview, the two discuss Roxas-Chua’s asemic work in the issue and elsewhere, and it wraps up with a list of music, books, and film that have moved the poet lately.

Haines asks Roxas-Chua about the work found in Issue 82:

STEPHEN: New Beak and Exhale is another favorite of mine from the work you contributed to Issue 82. I have read that you often use processes like ekphrasis in your work, and I can’t help wondering about that act of creating art in response to other art. Is the asemic writing in the right panel of New Beak and Exhale a direct response to the image on the left? The other way around? Or is this entire piece in conversation with something else entirely?

SAM: I was abandoned as a baby, but was fortunate to have a birth certificate and for some causes and conditions I was able to locate her in 2012. It didn’t have an Oprah show ending. A second rejection happened. I could go on and on about this story but find that it’s best to focus on the two images in hopes that it will let me narrate what I find difficult to tell. The two images are in conversation. Thank you for giving voice to that.

Coming up to that anniversary, I drew the bird image using collected soot made into ink, together with drops of squid ink. I wanted to write a poem by drawing an image. I mean, who is to say what a poem is and isn’t? In the tree where I was abandoned, I imagined I was fed by birds. When I was adopted, I was malnourished and had worms living inside my stomach. I was bloated like an egg. I believe the natural world was answering major questions. “Am I good? If I am good, why was I relinquished? What is wrong with me?”

The asemic writing on the right was a letter to my mother in asemic form where I was trying to exhaust everything I wanted to say. The image of the bird and the letter put together in conversation translates to “I am made of new beak and exhale.”

Check out the rest of the interview for poetry, information about asemic writing, and a great list of recommendations, or see what Issue 82’s asemic writing feature has to offer.

Colorado Review Podcast: In Conversation with Brandon King

Screenshot of Colorado Review PodcastPodcasts are still all the rage and literary magazines are supplementing the work they feature in print and online with podcast series. Colorado Review has it’s very own podcast series available in Apple Podcasts or the iTunes store.

They list the archive of their episodes, dating back to 2011, online. The most recent episode, posted on June 7, features podcast host C Culbertson sitting down with Brandon Krieg, author of Magnifier and winner of the 2019 Colorado Prize for Poetry. They talk ecopoetics, environmental thought, and how the practice of walking calls on us to notice the world around use.

To start with the walking. . . it’s such a practice for renewal of my own sort of mental state. It helps me get out of my head in a way. . . . You’re moving through a landscape, you’re noticing, you’re in your senses. . . it’s a way of getting out of thoughts for me.

You can also hear Krieg read a few poems from his book Magnifier.

Don’t forget to read the Spring 2021 issue of Colorado Review & subscribe today if you haven’t already.

Four Writers Answer Four Questions

At the end of every Hampden-Sydney Poetry Review issue is the “4×4” section. Here, four writers are asked the same four questions in a series of quickfire mini-interviews.

This year’s questions touch on corresponding with other writers, solitude and writing, finding a balance of beneficial and less beneficial reading, and how shock-resistant each poet’s writing process is. The writers interviewed are Noor Hindi, Hailey Leithauser, Cheswayo Mphanza, and Jon Kelly Yenser.

Work by these four poets can also be found in the 2020 issue.

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.

Runestone Interview with John Ostrander

John Ostrander
Photo Credit: Hieu Minh Nguyen

Runestone Volume 6 was released at the end of February and features an interview with John Ostrander, prolific writer of comics in the the DC, Marvel, and Star Wars universes.

Ostrander answers questions about comics he loved as a child (he had to hide super hero comics from his mother), the challenges of joining an already well-established comics universe, and how involved in the process he was for his comics being adapted into films.

In terms of working minorities and more diverse characterization in, I’m very proud of that.  One of the characters I created was Amanda Waller for The Suicide Squad.  There was no one like her at the time, and really not many like her since then.  When I was first working on it, I knew that as the head of it I wanted someone who was not super-powered, I wanted someone who was African American, I wanted a female, I wanted someone slightly older, and I wanted them to be tough as nails.

Read part one of the interview with Ostrander here.

Superstition Review Author Talk with Todd Dillard

Photo from Superstition Review

If you didn’t already know, online literary magazine Superstition Review offers a wonderful series called Authors Talk. The latest installment in this series features Todd Dillard going to Twitter to answer questions by his followers. Topics range from writing to craft to cats to . . . Ninja Turtles.

Todd Dillard’s debut poetry collection “Ways We Vanish” is currently available for pre-order. Checkout the podcast to learn how Todd curated this collection and his thoughts about poetry and craft in general.

Promiscuity Is a Virtue: An Interview with Garth Greenwell


Garth Greenwell interviewed by Ilya Kaminsky in The Paris Review.

I don’t know how much these distinctions exist for me. Certainly I think the conversation of art doesn’t care about them very much. I’ve always been turned off by a kind of assertive Americanism, and the American writers I love best, from Hawthorne and James and Baldwin to Alexander Chee and Yiyun Li, have all been cosmopolitan in their tastes and views. Of course, America is important to my writing—the landscape of the American South, the rhythms of American speech, the expansive, sometimes-redemptive, sometimes-toxic sense of American selfhood.

What it means to be American is one of the subjects of my books, as it is of any book about Americans abroad. Bulgaria is important to the books, too. I was speaking Bulgarian every day as I wrote What Belongs to You. Often enough, I spoke only Bulgarian. The rhythms of Bulgarian—the most beautiful, the most musical language in the world, so far as I’m concerned—are part of those sentences, as is the cityscape of Mladost, the quarter of Sofia where I lived, which I also think is very beautiful, though maybe with a difficult kind of beauty.

Main Street Rag – Interview with Cathryn Cofell

Main Street Rag - Fall 2019The Fall 2019 Issue of The Main Street Rag includes an interview with Cathryn Cofell. The interview touches upon career, inspiration, and the Cofell’s submission process.

Cofell was named the winner of the 2019 Main Street Rag Poetry Book Award and readers can also find three of her poems in this issue: “Rush Hour,” “What I Learned from My Father,” and “Resignation Notice.”

Stick Figure with Skirt, the winning book, was released in November 2019 and is available at the Main Street Rag bookstore. Readers can also find additional sample poems from the book at the store.

Three Questions for Joy Harjo in WLT

World Literature TodayLearn a little more about current U.S. Poet Laureate Joy Harjo in the latest issue of World Literature Today. In addition to a featured poem by Harjo, “Bless This Land,” there is also a mini, three-question interview with the poet.

Harjo answers the questions:
What recent book has captured your interest?
What outside the realm of literature has drawn your attention of late?
What current writing projects do you have underway or have planned in the near future?

The interview is brief but informative and gives readers jumping off points for what to pick up next.

Interview with Robert Fanning

FanningheadshotRobert Fanning, professor of creative writing at Central Michigan University, shares his manuscripts in process as well as the methods and sources of inspiration he used to draft them. His advice for burgeoning writers, poets in particular, is not the standard cookie-cutter words of wisdom you’ve heard elsewhere, and his refreshing approach to publishing will help you rethink Submission Sundays. And if you need a new playlist for writing, we have it.

Continue reading “Interview with Robert Fanning”

Interviews Archive

NewPages Interviews Archive

This is an archive of interviews done with editors, publishers, and writers exclusively for NewPages. While many of these interviewers have gone on to other projects, we have chosen to keep their work here. We hope that in the future we will have more interviews to fill this page. If you’re interested in conducting an interview for this site, please contact us.

Interview with Robert Fanning by Trish Harris

Interview with Paulette Licitra by Tanya Angell Allen

Interview with Matt Bell by Jessica Powers
Interview with James Englehardt by Jessica Powers

Interview with Margarita Donnelly by Jessica Powers

Interview with Gina Frangello by Robert Duffer
Interview with William Pierce by Jessica Powers
Interview with Sam Hamill by Jessica Powers
Interview with Allan Kornblum by Jessica Powers
Interview with Alexander (Sandy) Taylor by Jessica Powers

Interview with M. Allen Cunningham by Tim Davis
Interview with Mary  Vermillion by Tim Davis
Interview with Stephen Policoff by Tim Davis
Interview with Pari Noskin Taichert by Tim Davis
Interview with c.c. dust by Tim Davis

Continue reading “Interviews Archive”

Interview with Paulette Licitra

I don’t even think of Alimentum necessarily as “food writing.” Alimentum is this funny thing in the middle because it’s fiction and creative writing and it’s poetry, but it’s about food—so some people think of it as “food writing.” The magazine started as a bridge between literary writing and food, since they were a big part of my life. Some lit mags do food-themed issues once in a while, but I wondered: why not a journal that was food all the time? We started in 2005 and we still get terrific submissions from writers who somehow incorporate food as a catalyst or character in their stories and poems.

Continue reading “Interview with Paulette Licitra”

Interview with Matt Bell

Art is important. Art isn’t an extra for society, it’s something we have to have. When you edit a magazine or edit a press, if you’re good to the people who submit to you and you’re good to your contributors, and if when you edit, your goal is to help them not only make this piece great, but help them be a better writer down the road—because that’s what people did for us—then maybe those things are making the world better.

Continue reading “Interview with Matt Bell”

Interview with Margarita Donnelly

We are just serious readers in my family, and I grew up imbued with the love of literature. I am also a feminist and a humanist and believe in equality. So discovering and publishing new and emerging women writers and giving voice to those who haven’t had the chance fits. None of us who does CALYX does it for any other reason than our commitment to women and our love of literature and art. We certainly don’t do it for financial gain.

Continue reading “Interview with Margarita Donnelly”

Interview with Gina Frangello

I’m always floored and confused when I hear people say how they sit down everyday for, like, two hours even if they only get a paragraph out. When I write I’m writing nine or ten hours a day, turning out a lot of material. But then I’ll have down time between projects—at first I don’t want to write because I’m still in the last project; those are the people I’m with, the voices I’m with. Then slowly I’ll start fixating on something new. It gets to be so I’m constantly hearing dialogue in my head, whenever I’m in my car I’m thinking of lines, and I start maniacally making outlines on the back of napkins. Then I know it’s time.

Continue reading “Interview with Gina Frangello”

Interview with Sam Hamill

As presses age, as it were, the major problem is dealing with boards of directors and the eternal fundraising problem, and it’s cyclical, and it’s infinite, and it’s consuming, and it really isn’t very healthy, this perpetual begging for money. I’m not opposed to it—I’m a good Buddhist—but I also think you need to work in the garden. The “garden” is the labor- and time-intensive investment in our future, whether as working artists or as publishers. What I plant and nourish this year may bear fruit five years down the line. It’s work done for its own sake, for investment in one’s convictions.

Continue reading “Interview with Sam Hamill”

Interview with William Pierce

Ironically, this is an era in which books are not prominent in the culture. But they remain of utmost importance to a diverse subset of the population—and no doubt will rise again. I don’t know if the physical book will ever dominate as it once did. But the book in the wider sense, the edited thing that is put together and stays together—we’re living through a momentary, experimental time when technology has made us particularly hungry for new forms, but nothing can displace our need for objects consciously built, for words, images, and characters chosen and assembled into works of art. The problem with a world that publishes 100,000 books is the same as the problem with a world that has an infinite number of websites. You need some help negotiating the variety.

Continue reading “Interview with William Pierce”

Interview with Allan Kornblum

A publisher is providing a service to writers and to a community, and that community can and should be partly local, and it can and should be partly a community in/through time. I want our books to reach readers today, and readers in some future I can’t imagine. As a publisher, I’ve tried to use my abilities and the resources that have been made available to me to turn words in a manuscript into books, and to get those books in front of readers. I’ve tried to use the capabilities of a publishing house to make a difference in the lives of the writers we’ve published, and to make a difference in the communities in which I live, both local and national. I think the impulse to publish is the impulse to share enthusiasm and that is universal. Continue reading “Interview with Allan Kornblum”

Interview with Alexander (Sandy) Taylor

Curbstone started with the publication of James Scully’s poems Santiago Poems, published in 1975. That was the book that really got us off the starting blocks. We had been considering starting a press for some time. I had done magazines, Patterns, way back in the 50s, and Wormwood Review in the 60s. I wanted to do something that was a little bit more permanent. This book exposed the human rights violations in Pinochet’s Chile. In 1975, that was political and hard-edged. Because of the content and small size of the book, we felt that it might not have much of a chance in commercial publishing.

Continue reading “Interview with Alexander (Sandy) Taylor”

Interview with M. Allen Cunningham

I have very little anxiety about being influenced. In fact, I tend to seek out influences and I’m fairly transparent about my mine, as I’ve shown by listing a handful of them above. I guess I tend to view literature as a collective celebration of sorts, in which the strengths of one generation or school are freely hailed or reincarnated or played upon in another. I think that to fear influence is to let the electrical currents of art, cross-generational and cross-categorical, go astray, instead of harnessing them and letting them galvanize new work in powerful ways.

Continue reading “Interview with M. Allen Cunningham”

Interview with Mary Vermillion

Ever since I could read, I wanted to be a writer. Words seemed powerful and magic, and although I wouldn’t have put it this way, I was in awe of the writer/reader relationship. I wanted to introduce total strangers to new worlds, new feelings, new ideas. I also wanted to create books. I loved their physicality, their seeming permanence. But on a less lofty note, I probably started my writing career with a bad poem about autumn that all elementary students are forced to write. I also have a clear memory of writing my own Encyclopedia Brown stories.

Continue reading “Interview with Mary Vermillion”

Interview with Stephen Policoff

I was one of those annoying child writers. I wrote weird animal stories when I was 7, I wrote the class play in 5th grade, satirical stories and skits about my school all through high school. I was (who knows why?) much praised for this stuff, so I suppose that encouraged me to keep going. I started to take writing seriously in college (Wesleyan University, in Connecticut); my senior thesis was a slender and absurd rock musical called Two Dwarves in a Closet. It was a huge (and some might argue inexplicable) success; people danced in the theater at the finale. This fostered the delusional belief that I might be able to make a living as a playwright.

Continue reading “Interview with Stephen Policoff”

Interview with c.c. dust

I guess I would call the novel schizo-fiction. Since bookstores don’t seem to have a schizo book section, I guess I would put it on a shelf called science fiction or, more to my taste, general fiction, subcategory post-modern, addled fiction. You ask about the cyberspace/gaming/virtual reality motif. Just stand in the middle of Times Square, NYC, and you’ll get a pretty good feel for the pace of the modern media world. We’re hit with overt/covert messages all the time. And sometimes it seems hard to tell the difference between reality and advertising. The “game” (if you want to call it that) might be in deciphering all these strange and conflicting signals. Continue reading “Interview with c.c. dust”