A Fevers of the Mind Quick-9 Interview with Kristin Garth

Bio: Kristin Garth is a Pushcart, Rhysling nominated sonneteer and a Best of the Net 2020 finalist.  Her sonnets have stalked journals like Glass, Yes, Five:2:One, Luna Luna and more. She is the author of 21 books of poetry including Crow Carriage (Sweet Tooth Story Books) and The Stakes (Really Serious Literature) and the editor of seven anthologies. She is the founder of Pink Plastic House a tiny journal and co-founder of Performance Anxiety, an online poetry reading series. Follow her on Twitter:  (@lolaandjolie) and her website 

Q1: When did you start writing and first influences?

Kristin: Poetry was always something I was doing as long as I remember, elementary school, not sonnets, free verse. My very first poetry influence was a traveling storyteller who came to my elementary school named Rick Rogers. He wrote a book called Ballads and Tales of the Woods. It was songs and stories of the woods which he performed for us. I lived in a beach town of only 5,000 people. Rick Rogers came from a smaller and more rural environment than me. He taught me that an entertainer can have a voice bigger than their geography. He exemplified everything I hope to give out on my best day of telling stories and performing poetry.

I started writing sonnets in high school after being assigned to do so. My homelife was very rigid and prescribed in an unhealthy way, living with a very puritanical, abusive, religious family. I wrote about them and things that happened to me, but I didn’t really find my voice ironically until I submitted myself to another rigid structure which was the Shakespearean sonnet.

Once I learned that form, freeing myself from stylistic choices, I felt allowed to speak boldly. In fact, being direct was a necessity due to the brevity of the form. This was a godsend to a shy, repressed girl like me. It gave me permission to be utterly truthful and efficient in my language. One of the first books I wrote was Shakespeare for Sociopaths. It felt good to my own my influence with that title. The book is just what is says Shakespearean sonnets for sociopaths i’ve known and read about in the news – true crime. https://amzn.to/3gIESfQ

Q2: Who are your biggest influences today?

Kristin: Certainly Shakespeare remains an influence as long as I write. I’m influenced by so many writers. I just recently reread a book that I feel influenced my writing a lot when I was younger which is “Beasts” by Joyce Carol Oates. My favorite book as a child was “Wuthering Heights” and I was a huge fan of Nancy Drew books. I have all the Nancy Drew books. The first novel I wrote, which was published recently by Daily Drunk serially and is available in print on Amazon is called “The Avalon Hayes Mysteries”.

It takes the teen girl detective trope through directing it at the teenage girl’s own small town, very complicated life. It felt good to pay homage to something that gave me such pleasure but modernize it a bit.

https://amzn.to/3gKsWKN

Q3: Any pivotal moment when you knew you wanted to be a writer?

Kristin: I’ve always been writing, but for most of my life I was afraid to share my work. I don’t remember not being a writer, but I definitely remember the fear of putting myself out there.

Still I could not resist taking creative writing in college, and in that milieu I shared my sonnets. Th e content of my sonnets at this time time was very sexually related. Being in college in the early 90’s in the Deep South, pre 50 Shades of Grey, this was a very controversial subject matter to some of my students in my class. Though I wrote very bold, I was very shy.

My professor, she championed me. When people made puritanical comments, she stood up for me. She believed in my combination of an ancient form with very modern content. She offered me a partial scholarship to graduate school. Though I didn’t complete graduate school due to my own need to get out for once and for all from an abusive home life, I held onto the fact that this woman had chosen my writing to nurture.

Some of the poems I wrote in my college creative writing classes were published in poetic kinky memoir “The Meadow” published by APEP publications.

Q4: Who has helped you most with writing?

Kristin: I’ve been lucky to have some great mentors in the writing world. Everyone needs different things from a mentor. I am very self-driven as far as my writing discipline. Writing is something I do every day.

Publishing my work, reading my work did not come naturally to me. I’ve come to be known for my online readings but I never read a poem of mine out loud successfully until I started publishing in my 40’s. The only time I even attempted to read was in my graduate program where we were required to do so – and I ran off stage crying.

The person who ultimately brought me back to writing and ultimately publishing was a poet named Jeff Robinson. He was part of my local poetry scene I was involved with during college – lived at a commune which held regular readings. I never was brave enough to read there but sat in the back and scribbled in a notebook. Jeff performed his poems and we became friends. He was one of the people I shared my work with privately at the time and he always encouraged me.

He moved away and we lost touch for a long time. During this time, I became a stripper then a court reporter and always wrote but grew more reclusive and more detached from the idea of ever publishing. Then he contacted me out of the blue to tell me he was dying. We spoke on social media and the language was sparse and filled with errors. He had a brain tumor and it was truly a great effort to communicate.

He spoke to me without the patience I was used to about my writing. He inquired if I was still doing it and if I was sharing it. When I told him I wasn’t, he demanded that I had to do it. We were close to the same age and his life was coming to an end, and he didn’t have to point out that this could be me. I made a commitment to work towards publication.

I only had one publication at this point in my life which was the result of another person’s interest in my writing. I had written a sonnet with a shared experience with him. He was a published writer of erotica so he knew of opportunities in this milieu. He sent my sonnet without telling me to a submission call for an anthology published by Laura Antoniou. I was actually living at home at the time and had to use an alias when this sonnet was published, the only poem accepted in the book. My name in the book was my scene name, what people in the community called me in lieu of my real name, Scarlet.

I didn’t know exactly how to publish and had no writing community so I found one online. I joined a site called Scribophile. I was working on a novel that would become “The Avalon Hayes Mysteries” and also a prose version of what would become “The Meadow.” But while I was there I wrote a short story that was solicited for publication by SCAB Magazine and I started publishing sonnets which became very popular on the site and I was encouraged to publish online. Once I started publishing with various literary magazines, I found poetry on Twitter which has become a home, at times a dysfunctional family but one I cherish so much. It has changed my life.

Q5: Where did you grow up and how did that influence your writing & did any travels away from home influence your work?

Kristin: Place affects me immensely, I was just talking recently with my poet friend Justin Karcher, who is from Buffalo about this very thing – how we consider ourselves regional poets. This is not to say that our work isn’t meant for those who are not from where we are from- but just that we are tied to where we are from. You feel it in our writing.

I am a product of the Deep South. My family goes back three generations here. Pensacola is something I inherently understand and grapple with in my own way in my writing. It’s behind the times in ways that I have affected me growing up as an abused child, working as a stripper – I felt vulnerable to its deeply ingrained misogyny and patriarchal attitudes.

I had to deal with a lot of shame living here, and partly to deal with that I became very reclusive. But I wouldn’t leave because I am very connected to the longleaf trees and the bays and the Gulf and the beautiful white sand. I live in the woods, and the natural world inspires so much of my writing. Living here feels like a privilege to me. The water and the woods have worked there way into my creative works many times in books like “Were Mer, Girlarium and Flutter: Southern Gothic Fever Dream”

https://amzn.to/3kAUiEf

Q6: What do you consider your most meaningful work you’ve done creatively so far to you?

Kristin: This question makes me feel guilty like i’d imagine being asked to choose a favorite child. All my books obviously are incredibly meaningful to me (and I hope to some other people) because they monopolized my brain for a time in the way only a book or lover can. I would of course then say that your first book plays a special role in you life.

For me, this was Pink Plastic House. It was by far the hardest book for me to get published because I didn’t know how to do that. The whole process seemed mystical. When I tried to demystify the process, I ran into obstacles that broke my heart. I feel like publishing that book was a deflowering – to borrow a patriarchal idea. By the time it reached Maverick Duck which treated it and me with the utmost care, all my naive delusions about the poetry world had been taken from me.

I try to always be there for people who have questions, people new in the community because I didn’t have that.

Maverick Duck Press / Pink Plastic House

http://www.maverickduckpress.com/pinkplastic.html

Q7: Favorite activities to relax?

Kristin: I love reading and watching movies. Both of these activities also inspire my writing. Living in the woods, I love to go walking and be alone with my thoughts. I write a lot of poems on my Iphone while i’m walking, too. I also love collecting socks and wearing them which has translated to a lot of poetry too. I have published a digital book of sock poems and photography and I’m working on a print deluxe edition of that now. I’m a Capricorn so I manage to turn a lot of things into work that start out as comfort or relaxation.

Q8: What is a favorite line/stanza from a poem of yours or others?

Kristin: This line I like a lot of mine from my new book “The Death of Alice in Wonderland” and the poem “The Dandelion and the Damned”

"The slenderest petals shriveled entomb,
the delicate skull that fascinates soon."

This book I wrote about aging and my womanchildishness and how the former affects the latter. I expressed a lot of fears in this book as well as a lot of experiences in a fairytale languagethat I found so pleasurable to live inside for a time. 


https://amzn.to/3yvrbXA

Q9: Any recent or forthcoming projects you’d like to promote?

Kristin: I have two books forthcoming in the next year. The first is coming this fall from Sweet Tooth Story Books. It’s a horror novel called “Crow Carriage.” This book tells the story of a nobleman/amateur doctor who performs experiments on girls from the neighboring village. Next year, I have a poetry collection on the subject of fire as a tool of misogyny used against women historically and in modern times. This book will be published by Really Serious Literature in 2022.

Other books & link from Kristin:

https://amzn.to/3yvrbXA

Puritan U
Wickerpedia

https://amzn.to/3kBlAdv

Dewy Decimals

https://amzn.to/2XYJYht

https://www.anthropocenepoetry.org/post/2-poems-by-kristin-garth

https://8poems.com/again-kristin-garth

https://www.mookychick.co.uk/author/k-garth

Sonnet from Kristin Garth : Submergence in Fevers of the Mind Press Presents the Poets of 2020

Treealabra by Kristin Garth in Fevers of the Mind Issue 1 (2019)

https://www.yespoetry.com/news/kristin-garth

http://www.glass-poetry.com/journal/2018/july/garth-preditor.html

https://ghostcitypress.com/poetry-92/2019/12/13/kristin-garth

https://www.splitlipmagazine.com/818-for-all-the-pensacola-girls

A Fevers of the Mind Quick-9 Interview with Mike Zone

with Mike Zone:

Bio:

Mike Zone is the Editor in Chief of Dumpster Fire Press, the author of Shedding Dark Places (almost), One Hell of a Muse, A Farewell to Big Ideas and Void Beneath the Skin, as well as coauthor of The Grind. frequent contributor to Alien Buddha Press and Mad Swirl. His work has been featured in: Horror Sleaze Trash, Better Than Starbucks, Piker Press, Punk Noir Magazine, Synchronized Chaos, Outlaw Poetry and Cult Culture magazine.

Q1: When did you start writing and first influences?

Mike: In my early teen years…of course being a pretentious kid and believing I had the world by the balls and was reading something new my influences were: Alan Moore, Jim Morrison, William Burroughs, Albert Camus and Irvine Welsh

Q2: Who are your biggest influences today?

Mike: That’s difficult to say…I’m inspired by a plethora of societal factors but if we’re looking at specific writers whom I admire who actually push me to challenge myself…Kevin “Wolfman” Martin, Roz Washington and Robert Ragan, all of whom I worked with on the collaborative project THE GRIND…though who doesn’t want to name drop Hunter S. Thompson. Erich Fromm and Mark Fisher?

Q3: Where did you grow up and how did that influence your writing?
Have any travels away from home influence your work?

Mike: I grew up in Holland, Mi…the western part of Michigan on the lakeshore which is considered the Bible Belt of the North I believe…we’ll leave it at that as I live in Grand Rapids now…travels here and there and everywhere in-between allow to reconcile and instigate a mental restart in general when contemplating one’s existential quandaries in a new environment. It isn’t always doom and gloom when you realize most of it is a simulation and cerebral elasticity tends to take hold even if it’s a beautiful woman in a sundress whose arms you will never die in.

Q4: What do you consider the most meaningful work you’ve done creatively so far?

Mike: This a tough nut to crack. I will always cherish THE GRIND but you have to keep going forward…Dumpster Fire Press being editor in chief seems to be a good candidate as there is always something being cranked out…my latest book SHEDDING DARK PLACE (ALMOST) published by Alien Buddha Press is a collection of poetry and prose written during the pandemic that I didn’t realize was meaningful to a lot of people but honestly whatever I’m working on at the moment.

Q5: Any pivotal moment when you knew you wanted to be a writer?

Mike: Oh yeah, when I was seven I won a Young Author’s Award but still wanted to be Darth Vader, when I realized it truly was a long time ago in a galaxy far away…I thought “Hey, I take away other people’s dreams too…”

Q6: Favorite activities to relax?

Mike: I run a press and work full time in a pot lab…writing saves me…but I like to clean my house and take meditative walks. Eventually I’d like to dig live shows and travel again…Sicily, anyone?

Q7: Any recent or forthcoming projects that you’d like to promote?

Mike:

Whoa, Whoa…

VOICES FROM THE FIRE volume 3

SHEDDING DARK PLACES (ALMOST)

THE CROWS WILL NEVER TELL BY JOHANN VAN DER WALT

https://www.amazon.com/Crows-Will-Never-Tell/dp/B09751G6LV/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&qid=1624998968&refinements=p_27%3AMike+Zone&s=books&sr=1-1&text=Mike+Zone

Q8: What is a favorite line/stanza from a poem of yours or others? Favorite art piece?

Mike:

Favorite art piece is Van Gogh’s Wheatfield with Crows

Favorite line…well, just heard a Holocaust survivor being interviewed about Polish Jews digging their own graves and then being shot into them “…and the Earth was shaking for days” don’t take my new poetry collection title…

This particular line though is taken from my poem “The last days of us”

a jagged blues tune sung by dusty angels

Q9: Who has helped you most with writing?

Mike: I have to say my brother in writing Roz Washington…after my mother died he actually kept me going even while I took care of her before her passing. He would tag me social media posts to write poetry on the fly which wound up becoming a salvation of sorts.

Links:

https://punknoirmagazine.com/2020/05/13/three-poems-from-mike-zone/

http://www.pikerpress.com/article.php?aID=7434

A Fevers of the Mind Quick-9 Interview with B F Jones

with B F Jones

Q1: When did you start writing and first influences:

B F: When I was a teenager I wanted to be a playwright and theatre director and my dream was to direct Sartre’s No Exit as well as Waiting for Godot. I had a go at writing plays but didn’t follow through.
Fiction-wise my first influences were a mix of French and English classics and contemporary gothic, horror and realism. Villon, Beaudelaire, Maupassant, Du Maurier, T.S Elliot, Poe, Ellis, Bukowski to name a few.


I wrote my first piece of flash fiction in 2013 and then wrote a bit on-off until 2017 when I did a short creative writing course. After that I started submitting more work out and writing more regularly.
I didn’t get into poetry writing (apart from that one poem about a feather in 6th grade) until late 2020.

Q2: Who are your biggest influences today?

B F: I’d say most of those cited above are still valid along with some new classic and modern discoveries (Sarah Kane, Emily Dickinson, Manchette among others) and the work from writers and poets from the indie writing community that I have huge admiration for. I would struggle just picking one of them out of the lot though!

Q3: Where did you grow up and how did that influence your writing? Have any travels away from home influence your work?

B F: I grew up half in France and half abroad, I spent a few years in Russia as a kid and developed a taste for Russian literature as a result, in particular Bulgakov and Chekhov.
Moving a lot as a kid turned me into an anxious adult and I’m definitely using quite a bit of that in my writing!

Q4: What do you consider the most meaningful work you’ve done creatively so far?

B F: I don’t think it’s any piece of work in particular, much more the ability to write and edit confidently and to no take rejections too personally.

Q5: Any pivotal moment when you knew you wanted to be a writer?

B F: I was always keen on writing, writing-related assignments at school were the only thing I got good grades at – but didn’t think I could do it until I discovered flash fiction.

Q6: Favorite activities to relax?

B F: Running/hiking, cooking, family time, reading, listening to music.

Q7: Any recent or forthcoming projects you’d like to promote?

B F: Yes 2 collections published by Alien Buddha, my debut poetry chapbook, The Only Sounds Left, that was released last month and a Flash Fiction collection, Artifice, out on 9 July. 

https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/aw/d/B096TTR7BG/ref=ox_sc_act_image_1?smid=A3P5ROKL5A1OLE&psc=1

Q8: What is a favorite line/stanza from a poem of yours or others?

B F: Oh that’s a tricky one. There’s a couple of things I like more than the rest but no specific line in particular…

Q9: Who has helped you most with writing?

B F: I’m very lucky to have a great group of writers that I talk to regularly and that are super supportive. To name a few: Stephen J. Golds, James Lilley, HLR, Scott Cumming, J. Travis Grundon, Max Thrax, John Bowie.

Links:

https://punknoirmagazine.com/2021/05/06/iv-poems-by-b-f-jones/

https://www.bristolnoir.co.uk/tag/bf-jones/

https://idleink.org/2020/03/01/flowers-by-b-f-jones/

https://www.deadfernpress.com/b-f-jones

https://rejection-letters.com/2021/06/17/revenge-is-best-served-with-coffee-b-f-jones/

A Fevers of the Mind Quick-9 Interview with Stephen J. Golds

photo from Punknoir Magazine

with Stephen J. Golds

Q1: When did you start writing and first influences?

Stephen: I had always been writing to some extent while I was younger, but recently started writing again seriously November 2019 to help me deal with mental problems I was having at the time. My first influences were Charles Bukowski, Knut Hamsun, John Fante, Sarah Kane. From a young age, I liked reading about people on the fringes of society, outsiders, outcasts. Still do.

Q2: Who are your biggest influences today?

Stephen: My major influences have pretty much remained the same. However nowadays I tend to look to my peers on the indie scene. Seeing the stellar work, they are putting out there really lights a fire under my ass to try and be better. Write better. Edit my work and strive for higher grounds.

Q3: Where did you grow up and how did that influence your writing? Have any travels away from home influence your work?

Stephen: I grew up in the North of London but moved to Asia when I hit adulthood. I travelled around a bit and then landed in Japan. London is an amazing city and will always have a place in my heart but my heart loves Okinawa now and I find a lot of inspiration in the ocean, the light, and the different landscapes they have out here. The cocktail of beaches, hills, jungles, harbours, and inner-city areas. Love the people and the culture.

Q4: What do you consider the most meaningful work you’ve done creatively so far?

Stephen: I would say it is Always the Dead – a noir novel about the 1949 disappearance of a young starlet named Jean Spangler. Its probably the one book that I feel defines my prose writing the most.

Q5: Any pivotal moment when you knew you wanted to be a writer?

Stephen: At sixteen realizing that I couldn’t sing or play a guitar so had to give up the idea of being the next Kurt Cobain.

Q6: Favorite activities to relax?

Stephen: Boxing, skateboarding, surfing, reading, and hanging out with my two beautiful daughters.

Q7: Any recent or forthcoming projects you’d like to promote?

Stephen: I have a 100-page collection of previously uncollected poetry coming out with Alien Buddha Press on the 3rd of July titled Cut-throat and Tongue-tied – Bullet Riddled and Gun Shy. And I have a new noir novel about corruption, a missing child and OCD – just out with Red Dog Press titled I’ll Pray When I’m Dying.

Q8: What is a favorite line/stanza from a poem/writing of yours or others?

Stephen: Favorite line is probably from Always the Dead, when discussing life, “It’s all just a circle of bullshit and blood.”

Q9: Who has helped you most with writing?

Stephen: It’s a long list of great people I met on twitter. People like Rob Parker, S. E. Moorhead, Alec Cizak, B. F. Jones and Gabriel Hart to name just a few.

Links:

2 poems by Stephen J. Golds “Boat Trip in VietNam” “Bus Stop Man”

https://www.amazon.com/Books-Stephen-J-Golds/s?rh=n%3A283155%2Cp_27%3AStephen+J.+Golds

https://www.bristolnoir.co.uk/interview-stephen-j-golds/

https://www.bristolnoir.co.uk/review-always-the-dead-by-stephen-j-golds/

https://punknoirmagazine.com/2021/04/15/3-poems-from-stephen-j-golds/

https://punknoirmagazine.com/2021/06/17/your-call-is-important-to-us-by-stephen-j-golds/