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*Submissions are now closed for our new print journal “The Whiskey Mule Diner” named after our online anthology that was inspired by Tom Waits. This journal has now expanded to become a new print journal endeavor that includes poetry, art, writings, photography and more inspired by musicians, artists, writers/poets, movies & actors/actresses see this link for more Introducing a new print journal dedicated to poetry, writings, art & more inspired by music, artists, movies, and writers “The Whiskey Mule Diner”email@example.com (all poetry/writings/essays, art, photography will need to be submitted by June 1st for one of the first 2 issues) please put in Subject the artist you are submitting poetry/etc inspired by. Include bio. No need for cover letter. Only in word doc, pdf or body of e-mail for writing submissions.We do NOT send rejection e-mails if you want to withdraw anything or have any questions on your work please send us an e-mail. We DO send acceptance e-mails however. Also, for editing/curating reasons we will most likely add a considered piece(s) to the website prior to any print publications. We are unable to pay contributors however you will receive a free PDF of the journal. (Even the editors have to pay for a copy for themself) Please consider donating to our PayPal at firstname.lastname@example.org
*WEB SUBMISSIONS ONLY* (Couldpossibly will be used in future print journal anthologies) For editing/curating reasons we will most likely add a considered piece(s) to the website prior to any print publications.
We are open for Poetry Showcases for anyone to send 3-5 poems/prose. If not all pieces are accepted. I will post the 1 or 2 poems but will not be considered a showcase.
We are unable to provide compensation at this time contributors. We have to reach out through the year for donations just to keep the site going. This is for the art of poetry, music, art & other creatives.
Some poetry/art published on this site could periodically be taken down if space is running low. You will be guaranteed at least 6-8 months exposure on our website. No promises after that and don’t take it personal.
Themes we are Looking for Poetry/prose/articles/other styles of writing are for Adhd Awareness, Mental Health, Anxiety, Culture, History, Social Justice, LGBTQ Matters/Pride, Love, Poem series, sonnets, physical health, pandemic themes, Trauma, Retro/pop culture, inspired by music/songwriters, artist, inspired by classic & current writers, frustrations.
OnlineSubmissions could include Poetry, Art, submitted Book Reviews, culture pieces, rants, pre-published poetry from self-published materials, defunct lit mags, pieces from other lit mags/books/blogs with permissions. We prefer 3-5 poems sent unless you are sending for a writing prompt. There could be exceptions to this rule of course. If we take 3-5 or more poems from you will we feature you as a poetry showcase on the website.
We prefer submissions with a bio to help promote your work. Please let us know if something has been previously published, we will make a judgment call on whether able to include. I don’t love the idea of sending rejection letters. If you don’t receive acceptance assume we passed up this time and send something else. If you have simultaneous submissions out there, please keep this in mind. If not accepted at first, Just try again…We will not accept pieces that we deem racist, sexist, homophobic, or have pornographic themes, photos, or any type of nudity in submissions.
Here what several important great people have to say about this upcoming book by editor/poet/writer David L O’Nan
Writings by David O’Nan is a special treat to poetry lovers. He often uses prose-style openings to draw in the reader, such as “I met the supernatural near this river by Osage Mint on a wet June day, fertile ground full of footprints” (from “The River Near the Osage Mint”). Then just as we start to get comfortable, O’Nan has a certain knack for dropping in piercing lines such as, “Our moment became shrapnel” (from “Noah and Satchmo”), or “Love like the sad” (from “Cardiac Weekend”), that becomes a sort of push and pull technique, moving the poem and reader along on the evocative journey each of his poemsprovides. –Samantha Terrell, Author of “Vision, and Other Things We Hide From” and “Keeping Afloat” among other books and creator of the poetic trinitas style of writing.
David O'Nan is an artist, a poet who explores the interesting and sometimes astounding facets of life through his work. In 'Cursed Houses' David writes in a style that is immediately engaging, sometimes humorous, always thought provoking. In his poem 'Utopian Window Blinds', he writes: "Beautify my broken heart. Look into my mind and tell me. I am Magical." That is precisely what David gives us, the reader. – Jay Maria Simpson is a published Australian Poet out of Perth, Western Australia who loves poetry, art, music, satire and dark comedy.
Cursed Houses by David O’Nan swirls with dynamic imagery at a manic pace. Its long probing lines are propelled by maddening spirals of rhythm and rhyme. These poems bob and weave, teasing dreamscapes out of rich details inhabited by a host of characters and situations earthly and un-. Love, lust, loss, bewilderment – degradation of the human spirit coupled with the uplift of having experienced something wholly holy. Cursed Houses offers room after room of astonishment wrapped in acute observations: standing outside, lonesome and creepy, a piercing inward gaze.
- Tony Brewer, author of psithurism and Pity for Sale
David O'Nan's poems are beautifully haunting, a landscape of Historical and Pop Culture memories. From death to Sunsets to homes of broken glass and even Andy Warhol, O'Nan's poetry will shake and stir you as the colors of his rhymes will resonate long after you devour each one, with verses like "The Feast" you will be craving a taste for more.
- Adrian Ernesto Cepeda, author of La Belle Ajar & We are the Ones Possessed amongst other collections.
The willpower is a long highway.” ~an immortal line, akin to Tom Petty’s But love is along, long, road.” David O’Nan has rock and roll in his soul.
“Spending nights in plastic neon blue and wondering why you didn’t know who’s hand was the knock on your door. Was it Mr. Peasant or Mr. Posh? All that you knew was a new daughter was calling you a mom.”
Like no other, David understands and exposes the plight of a runaway mother, perhaps a fixture of the 1980’s, the unsung heroines, the debris of the 1970’s
“I paint pictures for the cages of silence”
David O’Nan speaks for a disinherited generation left to suffer the sins of parental and cultural disintegration
“Old Satchmo at 49 smells vaguely of gasoline and some extinct cologne from 1989”
David O’Nan captures the zeitgeist of the crumbling American west, it’s bravado on it’s knees, still trying to please some long lost need.
“The devil has your shoelaces tied to the wrong feet”
An apt description of a runaway on the streets struggling to find their footing. An epic and strong poem describing what happens to the disinherited, disenfranchised in American society. Thrown out, as Jim Morrison said “like a dog without a bone.” Better than any other poet living, O’Nan describes the struggle of losing in a pre-apocalyptic America.
“We are powerless and the army has no artillery.”
Reminiscent of Neil Young’s “Helpless” lyrics is O’Nan’s vision of a dystopia left to carry on alone, abandoned and helpless, it’s government having long abandoned the field.
“All You see is the bones rise up when the moon hits the shine of the lake”
O’Nan describes perfectly the perfidy of the illusion of normalcy in what is in fact the toxic waste dump of America’s forsaken landscape.
“Maybe the king lives within the waters to drown your narcissistic glare. The River, the River near Osage Mint”
O’Nan reflects tangentially on the tortured history of the rivers cutting through the heartland of America, how they meander, the dangers they pose, the dams that feed them, while soul searching and reflecting on the American dream, much like a latter day Jack Kerouac. One wonders what chain of events drew the poet to leave near this place. The nameless “River near Osage Mint.”
If you were to read only one poem from David O’Nan, I would suggest Mandolins and Shrapnel. I personally find it on a level with Ginsberg’s best exuberant howlings. Mandolins is a tour de force. One feels oneself spinning with the poet down the highways and through the wastelands of post-industrial America littered with billboards proclaiming hell and damnation, torn through the middle by predatory birds, symbolic of lives shattered and scattered like shrapnel on a battlefield.
“Oh, those billboards by the way are just a hole for the vultures to fly through. listen to the breaking Mandolins, as our skeletons become shrapnel.”
- Elizabeth Cusack -Poetry on the Rocks for Lonely Hearts, a poet/writer traveler from Los Angeles. A recovering actress.
"David’s worlds always open new channels for looking at life. They are so often inventive stories that hold a spilling of truth – like the hull of a ship sloshing about on an unpredictable ocean – a world with a multifaceted cargo, perfect in every detail – in fact, a fusing of all details – making them oil each other to enhance their experience and their free passage. They are a generator of energy for the listening ear. From lyrical and beautifully sung – to hard and colourful poetry, told "like it is" – and that "is" always leaves me thinking I have moved forward in life’s puzzle of experience by reading these poems. So many wonderful lines – so many wonderful characters and their various situations – whatever your interest in poetry, you will need to read these poems to pass go.
David L O’Nan is without a shadow of a doubt one of the best poets of this moment and due for greatness in the longterm. – Peter Hague author of Summer With the Gods, Gain of Function, Hope in the Heart of Hatred & more.
David O’Nan is a poet but he may be a sorcerer in his Cardiac Weekend. Or into a world of dreams in Screams, Tears, Tennessee Voodoo. In Small Deaths and My Burning Bedsheets, he fashions his death and exhorts us to give a reason for him to continue his furtive imaginings in word and paintings. Do you have the power or are incited to provide reason for such as him? In Noah and Satchmo he colorfully tells a story of two grimy men in a way that MUST make you feel better. It is a story of confirmation, to send you on your way of superiority, as you love their place, so much lower than your own. Love Thy Neighbors describes a region of hell… Of voyeurs with horns and long tails being forced into your face. This is the world of O’Nan in fantasy and grime, incitement, and torment. You were minding your own business and this magician named David came along. Watch your step.
We are thankful no heaven can control or manage David O’Nan’s poetry. His work is not designed for the comforts of heaven or the torments of hell. David’s poetry breathes with us, and sustains our present, that we may whisper our lives to one another. – Giulio Magrini is a longtime writer living out of Pittsburgh and is receiving wonderful reviews on his new book “The Color of Dirt”
Having elsewhere demonstrated his prowess and capability in shorter forms in this collection prolific poet David L. O’Nan proves definitively he is every bit as skillful and interesting with more substantial, robust constructions, applying his inventive flair for language and provocative willingness to delve deeper into the fecund muck of Americana than the majority dare, exposing our culture's at times less savory underbelly in a manner which is never dull, but rather consistently as thrilling as it is in equal measures illuminating. Through diverse approaches and fearless examinations of subjects deeply personal as well as endemic of societal concerns, rooted in the immediate and timeless both — harkening back occasionally at, paying exciting homage to our era’s most qualified bards and lyric laureates, from Cohen to Dylan to Joni Mitchell, in the most constructive, charged manners — readers will be hard pressed to find a finger more firmly pressed to, descriptive of the stilted, erratic pulse of Western ennui and the dark winter of postmodern societal discontent embroiling contemporary existence than in the pages of Cursed House. In our age of urgency and desperation, David L. O’Nan emerges resolutely from the fetid swamps of struggle with an important viewpoint and mission which our imperiled species would be well served by reviewing and reflecting upon mindfully at length. A rousing book of works appreciative of the gravity to our prevailing crises, by a poet who twigs well there is not a moment to lose.
– Jerome Berglund is a writer and has worked in Cinema-Television production and worked in the entertainment industry before moving back to the Midwest. Jerome writes many haiku, senryu and haiga online and in print. He is an established award-winning fine art photographer, whose black and white pictures have been shown in galleries in New York, Minneapolis & Santa Monica.
"When I read a rational, well reasoned, logical, objective argument I laugh and sing and dance through the gaping holes.
What fools we are to stand pounding our chests preaching to the sun and everyone else that we are right, we have the truth.
What is truth? Do you know? We move forward by the aid of created symbols and we change those symbols as we move forward.
What gives you the right to deny the beauty, the honesty of poetry. There is no such thing as an endless straight line.
The shortest distance between two points is poetic distance. Poetry is the way. No one makes it through any black hole of night
without the morning light of poetry. The debate over whether formal or informal, Latinate or colloquial is best is meaningless.
Critics and Judges are the greatest fools. Poetry is the journey, the adventure in and through the valley of the shadow of death.
Poetry is birth, the journey, and death. Poetry is Alpha and Omega. Poetry is life. Life is poetry. The word was the same
in the beginning as the word is now. Say the word. Be the word. Be poetry. Be the poem you write. What else is there?
In his brilliant new book, CURSED HOUSES, David O'Nan is the poet of birth, the journey, and death.
David O'Nan is an original. One of a kind. I can't recommend his work highly enough."
--Ron Whitehead, Lifetime Beat Poet Laureate https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ron_Whitehead
"David L O'Nan's Cursed Houses is a lyrical poetry book that carries so many themes, it's hard to select a few. O'Nan transmits storytelling, narratives, and short story genres within his poems with brilliance. Poems about love, society, death, loss, small town Americana, and loneliness stand out the most. At the heart of these poems is O'Nan's ability to make you feel how the memories of past loves can still be felt in the present time."
- Christina Strigas, “for all the lonely hearts being pulled out of the ground”
David L O’ Nan’s new book, Cursed Houses, from it’s haunting spooky cover to the end prose-piece, is a scorcher – a work of narratives and lyrics, an anxious mythic exploration of landscapes of broken shattered people; some likeable, poignantly portrayed, others monstrous, the walking-living Dead; their political screed like larvae spreading hate, the drunk military fathers, farmers, drifters and grifters, the abject young women and older matriarchs, full of hope and lies. Almost Biblical, its a book of character studies exploring upended toxic glamour, hopelessness, the cracks inside America where people fall.
The book richly escorts questions and trades in entropy, about the lives lived in adrenaline-fueled fantasy where excess drugs, false promises, hallucinations, and lament intersect. In Sinking Prison the narrator’s pain and violence follows him right into the afterlife: “You/were found and punished and/ become a nameless gazelle/in a jungle full of hungry/lions on your trail.” Ruminative and ferocious, David exposes families, meditates on life-lessons, draws from the personal, revels in a search for metaphysical meaning. The lines are alternately clipped and expansive, musical, Intuitive, folk tales told by a raconteur for a lion’s den.
We see ourselves and others, our stories and-our-not-stories in a calm-frenzy of bardic, balladic currency and lyrical leaps. In a poem to a dead brother, the narrator speaks beyond despair, of “Popping firework amphetamine pills, dragons watch the alleys/The abusive and abused in corners and in jars./Oh lonesome traveler, a blood kissed jewel.” Tangled and mournful – this book’s rapid-fire pulse is a circling, uniquely crafted, blistering collection. Bite down hard, get one, roam through its outlaw pages. –
- Robert Frede Kenter, author, visual artist, publisher of Ice Floe Press.
I assume no impartiality as I sit to write this acknowledgement and blurb for David. Having known David the editor, the poet, and the human has been the best creative gift of creative brotherhood I’ve grown to treasure and proudly parade. Cursed Houses is a world on its own folded neatly into a book cover waiting for you to unfold like a handkerchief concealing delicacies. Forget what you know about titles foreshadowing content and even casuistic usage of natural elements to convey sentiments as metaphors or similes because David layers natural elements to give you poetic suspense in every piece and theme. He is the magician’s tarot card of allure and demure – yes because poetic talent is in strategically controlling your subject’s emotional experience. Clarity is nice but with David, heavy and surreal is the vogue because Cursed Houses is a hex that will keep your mind spellbound as your lips pitter patter with magic, nature, love, mentality, and life’s other themes on duality. Cursed Houses is a book of personal causes for both the empath and the introvert as well as the curious and the bratty. In this book, his styles vary in tone and emphasis in a manner that gives symbolism and personification another dimension one that is holistic not elemental. The power of his imageries are not localized in a stanza or a part but throughout the whole piece. Have you seen a mood unfold like a jalousie window controlled with two lines to control shadow and light? David’s poems give out this effect because the first time you read a piece, you read it to take in the meaning trying to coin the aesthetics with what you’ve seen previously. However, upon reading his work for the second time, you will realize your heart and mind are the ones controlling what you are seeing whether they be extremes of light and shadow or even pain and beauty. For instance, in his piece “Womanizers”; David allows the reader to explore his subject’s cares and sentiments by showing how their antagonists envision or deal with them. By doing so he reveals his subjects’ points of strengths, advocates for them and showcases them in the light of humanity. Meanwhile in his piece “The Whole Mythology is Collapsing” David’s musings of spirituality are inclusive of dallying in engaging activities whilst touching base on the struggles of finding balance between the material world’s circumstances, the people’s expectations and prejudice and his desire to find peace and clarity. In this vein, the piece “If Masterpieces Were Bloodshed”, has left me in awe because If brushes had hurricane categories for thickness and aftermaths for handles; this piece is the epitome of the creative mind’s agony. He is able to take elements of magic and nature to project anguish and struggle for perfection. And last but not least in “A Botched Sunset”, David’s piece offers a lover’s despair as a palette of experiences in shades of confusion, denial, and unrequited love. Elements of nature speak in this poem for the poet’s lack of visibility and his reluctant bitter surrender to accepting the fate of being forever invisible and rejected like a sunset that was botched. My only wish is that everyone who stumbles upon Cursed Houses gets cursed with awe from David’s work. So, there you have it, Cursed Houses, your new poetic dopamine. Now go and get yourself a copy because you deserve it. With my Utmost Poetic Respect
Pasithea Chan (poet, contributor, artist)
David O’Nan creates mesmerizing imagery throughout Cursed Houses with lines like “You popped bubbles in the hot flames,/in flamenco streets with bleeding trains that lead you/from the whistles to the cheating rainfalls.” It’s easy to want to savor the poem 10 Years “We Are Hummingbirds in the South Wind” with its haunting stanzas that contain potent prose “Through Winter roses and the bleeding Spring flowers,/the Summer storms and the Autumn leaves rustling/Each with a threatening torch in our blessed hearts.” This collection is a must read.
Marisa Silva-Dunbar, author of Allison, and When Goddesses Wake
Bio: David L O’Nan is a poet, short story writer, editor living in Southern Indiana. He is the editor for the Poetry & Art Anthologies “Fevers of the Mind Poetry and Art. and has also edited & curated other Anthologies including 2 inspired by Leonard Cohen (Avalanches in Poetry & Before I Turn Into Gold) and Hard Rain Poetry: Forever Dylan Inspired by Bob Dylan. He runs the http://www.feversofthemind.com website. A wordpress site that helps promote many poets, musicians, actors/actresses, other writers. He has self-published works under the Fevers of the Mind Press “The Famous Poetry Outlaws are Painting Walls and Whispers” “The Cartoon Diaries” & “New Disease Streets” (2020).”Taking Pictures in the Dark” “Our Fears in Tunnels” (2021) a collection of poetry called “Bending Rivers” a micro poem collection “Lost Reflections” and new book “Before the Bridges Fell” & “His Poetic Last Whispers” (2022) David has had work published in Icefloe Press, Dark Marrow, Truly U, 3 Moon Magazine, Elephants Never, Royal Rose Magazine, Spillwords, Anti-Heroin Chic, Cajun Mutt Press, Punk Noir Magazine, Voices From the Fire among several other litmags. He doesn’t enjoy the process of submitting constantly however. Twitter is @davidLONan1 @feversof for all things Fevers of the Mind. Join Facebook Group: Fevers of the Mind Poetry & Arts Group .
Not of the flowers, nor of the wilds,
Not of the gentle streams,
Not of the rainbows,
On a clear blue sky,
Not of the beauteous.
It is but, a form of madness,
A tumultuous sensation,
That bridges the heart and mind,
That takes one on a caravan of bumps and rides,
On a journey of unearthing
Of self and the “other.”
The Perfect Love is within
The folds of carelessness and sensitivity,
Within the boundaries of
Smiles and tears,
Within the pounding of a heart’s sensible fears.
There she goes, running, tripping falling,
Her heart beating,
Keeping in step,
Her pace within the capricious intake of breath.
Her mind unencumbered,
There is that freedom of being in love.
He wills it, even if her steps falter,
His love binding,
Even though the storms of his heartbeat.
He waits, a vision of tenacity.
The shimmer of the setting sun glistens against crimson clouds, its façade, unblemished. The lighthouse stands regal, as a stoic witness. The waters create a contrasting veneer on an evening of nostalgia. Nothing can disturb its peace, not even eager tides beating against quiet sands. People have walked, embracing, on those tacit sands. There came an uprising, turbulent tides washed away remnants of a past, of a bygone era; where devoutly the setting sun danced with shadows on pristine waters, plagued thoughts, indulged in a panoramic composition of art and symphony, as the lighthouse watched the tides turn in its wakefulness.
Q1: When did you start writing and first influences?
David: I believe I began writing after having my older brother read his poetry to me. I would constantly read his stuff. He was always obsessed with song lyrics (Prince, U2, The Cure, The Smiths, The Beatles, etc) I really got into the Beatles around 12 years old, and began to write bad love songs & songs against war that were pretty cheesy. I’ve always had a storytelling imagination. I began reading Anne Sexton as a teenager and always have been a big song lyric absorber. With A.D.D. I wasn’t always the most patient with reading.
Q2: Who are your biggest influences today? Well once I started writing & reading aloud more at coffeehouses, I began learning & reading more poetry & writers. Burroughs, Kerouac, Sylvia Plath, Tom Waits, Townes Van Zandt, Phil Ochs, Bob Dylan, my favorite Leonard Cohen, Ilya Kaminsky, so many contemporaries I interact with in the Poetry & Writing Community.
Q3: Any pivotal moment when you knew you wanted to be a writer?
David: I still want to be a writer/poet. I am still learning at 41 years old the ins and outs. I guess I had that inkling around 12, then again at 20 writing angsty stuff (mad about women letting me down) and then 24/25 when I began frequenting a coffeehouse in Evansville. I began writing a scrapped up novel “The Bible Belt Bachelor” in the same vain as “On the Road” I had a break in writing through most of my 30s and then when my dad got sick with ALS I began writing more & more. Self published some stuff & began Fevers of the Mind.
Q4: Who has helped you most with writing?
David: My brother, my wife, the Penny Lane Coffeehouse, Reading aloud for several years (not so much anymore), Jean Kizer, Jerry Masterson, Heidi Krause, Twitter vss 365 getting me motivated again, Poetry Community, Leonard Cohen
Q5: Where did you grow up and how did that influence your writing & did any travels away from home influence your work?
David: I grew up in a small town in Kentucky called Sebree.
So, I do have many poems based on small town living in a Southern/Midwestern town. I carry over some personality (ies) from the town and interact them into new characters and situations at times. I have lived in Evansville, Indiana most of my adult life & now in Henderson, KY and I still write the same way. Perspectives from where i’m writing from doesn’t necessarily come from where i’m living. I have visited & lived for a short time in New Orleans, so much of my big city themed poetry comes from time living there, or visiting Nashville, Louisville, Lexington, St. Louis, Indianapolis, Bloomington and other Midwestern cities/towns.
Q6: What do you consider your most meaningful work you’ve done creatively so far to you?
David: This will be a slightly weird answer. I helped contribute poems to an anthology about ALS “Voices for the Cure” ran by Paul Rowe and the late Eric Valor. I am unsure if it ever came out, but the poems I placed in there are about my father and his battle with ALS. Some of these poems have seen the light of day in my self published work or also on this site. 2 poems by David L O’Nan about my father’s battle with ALS in 2016
I’m very proud of the community I’ve helped shape together with many writers for this site with active contributors, interviews, the Fevers of the Mind Poetry Digest Issues/Anthologies.
Q7: Favorite activities to relax?
David: General Anxiety/ADD/OCD/parenthood…relax? I try to read some, I watch wrestling, basketball, listen to music like crazy, taking walks with my wife, play in the park with my kids. Youtube wormholes, research/history.
Q8: What is a favorite line/stanza from a poem of yours or others?
David: From Leonard Cohen’s “Stories From the Street”
We are so small between the stars So large against the sky And lost among the subway crowds I try to catch your eye
Q9: Any recent or forthcoming projects that you’d like to promote?
David: Why Sure! Thanks for asking…ummm Fevers of the Mind Anthology Issue 5: Overcome will be coming out soon (currently editing) I have 6 self-published books that i’m revising (added pics to the poems, changing them up some, some revised poems) “The Famous Poetry Outlaws are Painting Walls and Whispers” “Our Fears in Tunnels” “Taking Pictures in the Dark” “New Disease Streets” “The Cartoon Diaries” “Lost Reflections” still on Amazon currently…will be replaced by new versions when announced. Stay tuned. Raw forms of these books are still out there for now. There are several past issues of Fevers of the Mind Poetry Digest: Issue 1 (June 2019) under Fevers of the Mind Poetry & Art Digest, Fevers of the Mind Issue 2 In Memoriam, Fevers of the Mind Issue 3: The Darkness & the Light, Fevers of the Mind Press Presents the Poets of 2020, the aforementioned Leonard Cohen inspired Avalanches in Poetry Writings & Art Inspired by Leonard Cohen with artwork from Geoffrey Wren Wonderful Artwork from Avalanches in Poetry Writings & Art Inspired by Leonard Cohen by artist/writer Geoffrey Wren
The 2nd Leonard Cohen Anthology will be worked on in the next month “Before I Turn Into Gold” and also Fevers of the Mind Anthologies will be coming out at least every other month as far as I can keep it going.
Personally, I have more poems/stories coming out soon with Icefloe Press. A project on facebook “Curved Air” edited by Theresa Haffner. Possibly something with the Midwest Writers Guild. I’ve recently had work in Anti-Heroin Chic, Punk Noir Magazine. In the past I’ve had stuff in 3 Moon, Nymphs Publishing, Royal Rose Magazine, Elephants Never, Headline Poetry & Press, Dark Marrow, Voices for the Cure ALS Anthology, Spillwords, Ghost City Press, a feature in Cajun Mutt Press, I’ve had some stuff of mine read by Damien Donnelly on his podcast “Eat the Storms” https://eatthestorms.com/ and will have more read by Damien in a couple of weeks. Stay tuned!
I don’t send too much out due to RSD and I put tons of time in editing, writing, my brain scrambling in and out of exhaustion. Follow us on twitter @feversof @davidLONan1 Facebook Author Page is DavidLONan1 (I don’t use it much) I don’t have Instagram…sorry.
Here are some links:
There are a million I think on this site… just search my name if interested in my poems.
Q1: When did you start writing and first influences?
Sarra: I’ve always written short stories and poems. My mother’s garage in Wembley is choc-full to the rafters with old notebooks and scribbles on scrap paper, going right back to primary school. She is quite the hoarder. I started submitting pieces for publishing in the last two or three years. One of the best things about writing is that you can dip in and out, as infrequently as you like, at any level and at any age.
As a child I loved Dahl, Enid Blyton and The Worst Witch. Lots of the stories and poems I wrote as a child in those old scrap books feature an element of the absurd, mythological, and surreal, which has followed me through to how I write today. Later on, I became a little obsessed with Sylvia Plath and I still see some structural similarities emerging in my poems from time to time.
Q2: Who are your influences today?
Sarra: I’m an English and Media teacher, so it’s often very hard not to be influenced by what I’m teaching at the time! When I’m teaching three different Shakespeare plays simultaneously, sometimes I spontaneously write quotes or paraphrases of them into my WIPs. Right now, I love Kate Clanchy’s work and in using her teaching resources for poetry I have tidied up many of my own poems. For my hybrid prose poems featured in Fevers of the Mind, I experimented with a similar structure to Inua Ellams’ The Actual, as I wanted to emphasise a more fluid, stream-of-consciousness feel to the narratives. I’ve read recently, Elena Ferrante, Zoe Glibert, Alison Bechdel, and Bernadine Evaristo novels – each one resonated with me, and I’m struck by how many of us are telling similar stories from different approaches and perspectives.
Q3: Where did you grow up and how did that influence your writing? Have any travels influenced your work/describe?
Sarra: I grew up in Wembley, North London. In the 80’s and 90s, it was a very special place. I feel incredibly privileged to have experienced a completely cocooned, melting-pot bubble of normalised multiculturalism as a child. My best friends were Polish-Venezuelan and Scottish-Philippino, and West Indian-Welsh. Every family on our street and in our schools was of some mixed heritage or another, including ours. All the kids were a varying shade of tan, and only our hair texture might give a clue as to which continents may be in our DNA. I feel like London has always been this way – the Romans founded it after all. It’s not even a British city – it’s Italian! So, it’s exactly where we belonged, and actually we could never really belong anywhere else. I remember visiting our ‘white’ cousins in Hampshire and feeling “I could never belong here unless I pretended to be an English Rose”, but I never felt that way in London. So many race poets lament a dislocated self, displacement, and prejudice. Wembley was a safe, secure, wonderful place to grow-up as a mixed-race person, so much so, that when I left London as an adult it was a saddening shock. I’ve written many times in gratitude.
My father is Irish, and he dutifully imparted plenty of Heaney, folklore and myth on to us, and of course, plenty of rants about the Colonial injustices of the British Empire! Ties to the land, and descriptions of landscapes, manifesting in giants and selkies and banshees, reoccur as motifs in much of my writing. My mother is Persian, which is a culture seeped in poetry – the tombs of their poets are enormous tourist attractions. I remember her stories about how they would travel miles just to touch the shrines of Hafez or Saadi. I have internalised many of the humanist teachings of the Persian poets, and sometimes I realise their messages at the core of my own work. The Zoroastrian mythology from Ferdowsi’s Shanameh never fails to enthral me; the ancient rock reliefs depicting its heroes are breath-taking and are the inspiration for my work in progress.
Q4: Which of your work is most meaningful to you to date?
Sarra: I am most sentimental about my novella, Machina Ex Deus. At the time I wrote it, I was teaching my A Level class about Afrofurturism as a subgenre of Sci-Fi, reading about the abominations carried out in America’s ICE centres, and listening to Climate-Fiction podcasts from Alternative Stories. Together in my mind, these came to form Taima City – a post-apocalyptic Abu Dhabi one hundred years from now. The overall theme is of mother-child attachments, which is something of a recurring topic for me.
Q5: Was there a pivotal moment when you knew you wanted to be a writer?
Sarra: A few years ago, I attended That’s What She Said, in Manchester, hosted by the formidable Jane Bradley. I’d been to poetry nights before, but this one is captivating. Jane’s kind encouragement meant I signed up for a five-minute slot and later started submitting work to publishers. Lockdown gave me time and focus, so that I could do this in earnest for the first time.
Sarra: Lockdown suited me very nicely… reading, cooking, sewing, painting, nature walks, music, yoga, yoga and more yoga! In more sociable times, I sometimes sing in an Irish band.
Q7: Do you have any recent or forthcoming projects you’d like to promote?
Sarra: My first book is out in November 2021, entitled Bonds: A Short Story Collection, with Caab Publishing. The book includes three short stories and a novella, exploring universal ties, cords, and attachments, examining what it means to be bonded as parent to child. I’ve often heard the advice ‘write what you want to read’. I’ve never found the important theme of infant/maternal bonding to be represented enough in my favourite genres, I hope I have filled a hole.
Q9: Who has helped you most with writing?
(insta handles for the following heroes) Jane Bradley @janeclairebradley from That’s What She Said, AndyN Poet @andynpoet from Speak Easy, Chris Gregory @stories.alt from Alternative Stories and Fake Realities, and of course, the marvellous David O’Nan @DavidLONan1 from @FeversOf As a teacher, I realise your encouragement and belief in a writers’ words, is the catalyst to them sharing it.
Bio: Sarra Culleno is a British BAME poet, mother and English teacher who performs her writing at events across the UK. She writes about children’s rights, motherhood, identity, gender, age, technology, the environment, politics, modern monogamy and education. Sarra is widely published. She has written fiction and poetry for publication, performance, print, audiodramas, podcasts and radio. Sarra was longlisted for the Cinnamon Press Pamphlet Prize, for Nightingale and Sparrow’s Full Collections 2020, and nominated for Best of the Net 2020 by iambapoet. Sarra co-hosts Write Out Loud at Waterside Arts, and performs as guest and featured poet at numerous literary festivals. Youtube.com/user/sarra1978 – YouTube @sarracullenopoetry – Instagram @sarra1978 – Twitter Sarra1978@hotmail.com – Email facebook.com/sarracullenopoetry – FaceBook