with Joseph Fulkerson:
Q1: When did you start writing and first influences?
Joseph: I started writing seriously about ten years ago. I had just gone through a divorce and found it helped to write down the wide variety of emotions I was experiencing. That and bourbon.
Q2: Who are your biggest influences today?
Joseph: It’s always been Charles Bukowski and always will be, but there are some great contemporary writers out there as well; whether poetry or fiction. Frank Bill, Brian Evenson, Donald Ray Pollock, Jonathan Shaw, Ron Whitehead, John D. Robinson, A.S.Coomer, Rudy Francisco, just to name a few.
Q3: Where did you grow up and how did that influence your writing? Have any travels away from influence your work?
I grew up in Western Kentucky, which is in the “Bible Belt.” My parents were real religious, so when we weren’t going to church, it was tent revivals, Bible studies, and prayer meetings at people’s houses. I was homeschooled all through middle school, then I attended a Christian high school. It took a while to figure out what I actually believed, versus what I was taught.
I say all that to say I tend to write from a place of cynicism and enjoy laughing at things that probably shouldn’t be laughed at.
A couple years ago I took a trip to Phoenix to visit a friend and we drove up to Southern California. We visited Charles Bukowski’s grave. It was an amazing experience.
Q4: What do you consider the most meaningful work you’ve done creatively so far?
I enjoy writing poetry, haiku, and I’ve been dabbling in short fiction. It is great watching a project take shape, whether that be a poem or an entire book. I started Laughing Ronin Press earlier this year because I love the entire process of writing and wanted to help bring to the forefront great writing that pulses with authenticity.
Q5: Any pivotal moment when you knew you wanted to be a writer?
Joseph: Not just one moment, but a series of moments. The feeling of accomplishment after that first publication, submitted on a whim, was pretty great. Getting to know other writers like myself, who value the word as I do, was both affirmation and confirmation that I was going in the right direction.
Q6: Favorite activities to relax?
Joseph: Watching films, reading, taking my doggos to the park. A good glass of bourbon.
Q7: Any recent or forthcoming projects that you’d like to promote?
Joseph: Yes, as I said I started Laughing Ronin Press this year. It’s been both thrilling and exhausting.
I have a quarterly journal, Seppuku Quarterly, coming out August 1st. So many great writers in this first issue.
I’ve released a few chapbooks as well. In the fall, Kevin Tosca has a great collection of short stories about his time in Romania coming out titled Ploieşti.
I also have a full-length collection of poetry coming out in the fall titled Snout Chasing Tail. You can find these on the site as well as my social media accounts.
Q8: What is a favorite line/stanza from a poem of yours or others?
The question, O me! so sad, recurring—What good amid these, O me, O life?
That you are here—that life exists and identity,
That the powerful play goes on, and you may contribute a verse. ~ Walt Whitman
Q9: Who has helped you most with writing?
Joseph: I can’t thank one person as it is a continual collaboration between everyone in my life. My brothers/sisters in arms are constantly challenging me to reach higher, and I’m humbled to be counted in their ranks.