A Fevers of the Mind Quick-9 Interview with Deborah Rosch Eifert

with Deborah Rosch Eifert

Q1: When did you start writing and first influences?

Deborah: I started writing as a teenager. I had a lot of chaos and trauma I was simultaneously burning to communicate and terrified to reveal, and I think the dynamic tension between those poles was part of the pull toward poetry. I was drawn to Sylvia Plath, Robert Lowell, Frank O’ Hara, and Maxine Kumin because confessional/personal poetry gave me permission to write. Funnily enough, the Plath stuff I like today is what I did not like at all back then, and vice versa. And Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird – I must have read it 500 times in undergrad! I had a huge chronology gap in my writing life – I wrote in high school and college, mostly stopped for grad school and motherhood and early career, and then seriously restarted at age 55!

Q2: Who are your biggest influences today?

Deborah: Rainer Maria Rilke, Carolyn Keyser, Amy Gerstler, Brigit Pegeen Kelley. Amongst contemporaries, I really admire Sally Rosen Kindred, Dayna Patterson, Jennifer Colella Martelli, Cheryl Savageau, Jason Grundstrom-Whitney, among others.

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

Deborah: I went to undergrad at Cleveland State University in the 1980’s before it had any big cred in poetry – the unofficial school motto in the early eighties was ‘CSU – We Don’t Suck as Much as You Think We Do.’ There was an undergrad poetry contest sponsored by the English Department (that apparently vanished for a time and is now coming back). I entered it, and got a first place, a poem published in Whiskey Island Quarterly (under a different name) and a prize that covered the cost of next semester’s books. I knew then I wanted to be a writer, but I also wanted to make an independent living, and so became a psychologist.

Q4: Who has helped you most with writing?

Deborah: In terms of craft, I have a ‘writing group of two’ with fellow poet and co-worker, Jason Grundstrom-Whitney; we run new pieces past each other all the time. I also have gotten some great consultation with Susan Grimm (2020 runner -up for the Two Sylvias Press Wilder Prize), who helped me feel confident enough to pull together a chapbook.

Roughed Up by the Sun's Mothering Tongue: Susan Grimm: 9781599248387:  Amazon.com: Books

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

Deborah: I grew up in New England, transplanted to Ohio for 35 years, then came back to New England, to Maine, five years ago. My sense of place is almost all New England – granite, pines, birches, the Atlantic, blueberry barrens. My poetry tends to swing between self and nature, psyche and landscape, each a part of the other, and the ocean and water figure hugely in my writing. That is why my chap title is Sewn from Water.

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

Deborah: That is really hard to say. I have poems I have written about experiencing and surviving domestic violence, rape and sexual abuse that are ultimately empowering, and that is important to me because I hope other women find strength there. However, I think a piece I just had appear in Feral (#9, the Space issue) called “History of My Relationship with My Reproductive Tract” has an emotional intensity and female power that startles me with crackles of meaning. Like – wow, did I write that? https://feralpoetry.net/issue-nine-the-space-issue/

Q7: Favorite activities to relax?

Deborah: Walking or hiking by the ocean; swimming – ditto, at the saltwater beaches. Trying to spot seals when I am by the shore – I joke that I may be a selkie, I adore the seals so! Reading poetry and fiction. Binge watching – lately, The Nevers; before that, The Magicians. Cooking, when I am in the right mood. Knitting, in the winter – but I am an absolute beginner, hats and scarves are my whole repertoire.

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

Deborah:

This is from the last half of the last poem in Sewn from Water; the poem is “Queen of Dragonflies – Instructions”

When you see a dragonfly’s iridescent wings,
stay perfectly still
so that your voice is not silenced
by her sewing needle body
when she lands, trembling, on your mouth.
Prepare all day.

Pray all night.
Love the dust,
which is your ancestor.
Become the ocean
that lives within your skin.

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

Deborah: I have been writing a series “The Diagnosis Poems” about dealing as a couple with my husband’s serious medical problems, and I am going to try to organize that into a chapbook, or perhaps broaden it out to dealing with bodies and all their pesky and joyful realities.

https://amzn.to/3y5qDYi

Twitter: @Eifertpoetry

A Fevers of the Mind Quick-9 Interview with Adam Ai

with Adam Ai

Q1: When did you start writing and first influences?

Adam: I Started writing when I was a kid. My first influences – I remember around age 10 or so being absorbed in the Bible, also having a copy of Shakespeare’s collected works (didn’t get half a word of it – just loved the sound), as well as the Lord of the Rings. Stephen King books were a favorite. I was always in the library. I read everything I could get my hands on. As a teen I was into everyone. Dickinson and Whitman, Keats and Wordsworth, Langston Hughes, Gwendolyn Brooks. WC Williams. ee cummings. Dylan Thomas. I would tear poems from books and pin them to the walls. The was room wallpapered in poetry. I got into the Beats, Ginsberg, of course Bukowski. Lucille Clifton, John Ashbery, Frank O’Hara. Dante, Virgil. Now I read many new poems every day from contemporary poets. I read as much poetry as I can. Ocean Vuong. Amanda Gorman.

Thinner - By Stephen King (paperback) : Target

Q2: Who are your biggest influences today?

Adam: My biggest influences today are modern poets I admire – Jericho Brown is a favorite. Diane Seuss. Jane Zwart. Joy Harjo. Jean Valentine. Any poet that makes me feel like hey – I didn’t know words could do that, or is beautiful in some way, or gives me hope. Helps me be brave and keep working and submitting. Lots of others. I read many poems in the course of a day. Twitter has been a cool resource for that lately.

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

Adam: Los Angeles. The desert. The beaches. The people. The feeling of Los Angeles that exists no place but in Los Angeles, and so differently from what people might think. Great cities all have their own feel. L.A. is no exception. Such a big city – whatever you want L.A. to be, it can be – and you feel that. A sort of freedom. Something like magic. And maybe there is magic. It’s different for everyone. It’s everything. Fashion. Language. Sex.

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

Adam: I think my favorite – not speaking to it being meaningful to anyone but me, necessarily – is probably my poem “This is a Letter to God on a Stone.” I wrote it during the darkest period of my life, following my mother’s passing, and is literally a letter I wrote to God and never expected anyone to see. It’s the first thing I ever submitted anywhere. It’s a stone I wrote on and threw into the sea, never thinking it might be found. I sent it away and it was published in Chiron Review.

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

Adam: All I ever wanted was to be a writer. That or play for the Lakers. The Lakers never called. After mom died I realized all the poems I had written over the years were lost – I mean in the sense that she would never see them published – and it really felt like there was nothing left to lose. Nothing to gain, either. I don’t know. I don’t know why. It was something. I began sending them out to magazines because it was my only solution to the problem of living. I published 30+ poems in the 6 months or so following her passing. What bitter fruit. Writing is a struggle with faith. Seeing these poems published has given me a pulse. Writing saves me. It grows me up. It’s breath.

Q6: Favorite activities to relax?

Adam: Playing games with friends is one thing I like. Poker. Dominoes. I go to the beach a lot. For the most part I’m really pretty boring. I write. I read. I play with my dog, Ghost. Living a steady, quiet life allows me to maximize writing time. It’s tough to write when your life is very chaotic, which mine was in the Old Days. If writing is simply daily routine I get more done.

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

Adam:

I have a poem coming soon in Kissing Dynamite Poetry – slated for release in July, 2021. I’m soon to be featured on the Micro Poetry Podcast reading my poem “The Prayer that Moves through All Things” published by Ancient Paths Literary Magazine, 2020 – watch @adamaipoems, (https://www.twitter.com/AdamAiPoems) for updates and more. I can also be found on Instagram @adamaipoems where I post published work (https://www.instagram.com/adamaipoems) and on YouTube, where I’ve taken to recording published work (http://bit.ly/3eMEKrQ). In 2021 I’ve been published in Stone of Madness Press, (“Secret in the Empty Gallery”) and Feral: A Journal of Poetry and Art (“Burning Hands, II”).

https://www.kissingdynamitepoetry.com/

https://www.skylarb.com/post/the-prayer-that-moves-through-all-things

https://www.stoneofmadnesspress.com/adam-ai

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

Adam: “I wonder where you dream and know nothing.”

From “This is a Letter to God on a Stone,” Chiron Review, 2021.
http://www.chironreview.com/product/issue-121-spring-2021/

Q9: Who has helped you most with writing?

Adam: Poetry Editors, I think. Poetry editors are God’s chosen few – I have more respect and love for what they do than anyone. They’re in the trenches with words, giving people hope, saving them. The only way I know if anyone likes a poem is if it’s accepted. So I love them for that. They help me most, even in rejection. Maybe especially in rejection. Acceptances sure are nice though.

A Fevers of the Mind Quick-9 Interview with M.S. Evans

with M.S. Evans

Q1: When did you start writing and first influences?

M.S.: I started writing when I was very young, but didn’t share any of it. In 2019 I gave myself permission to finally go for it.

Q2: Who are your biggest influences today?

M.S.: I’m currently diving into work by Bukowski, Louise Gluck and Franz Wright. Tom Waits is a musical constant

Q3: Where did you grow up and how did that influence your writing/art?

M.S.: I grew up in in Seattle, in an old farmhouse. It’d been a speakeasy during the Prohibition era and strange things happened to everyone that stayed there.
Nature in the Pacific NW influenced me deeply. I became involved in environmental activism at a young age, which led me to the labor movement.
Nature, ghosts, and activism are definitely recurring topics in my writing.

Apparently Gary Snyder grew up in the same neighborhood. I like to think there’s a rebellious nature spirit there that drops in on kids’ dreams.

Q4: Have any travels away from home influence your work?

M.S.: In 2010 I traveled to Wales to meet my penpal. I married him, poor bloke. His belief in me has been invaluable.

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

M.S.: I’ve always had a drive to capture what I witness. Before I owned a camera or started really writing, this desire to capture a moment was like a physical pain.
I knew I had a unique perspective, but I’ve not always been sure how to share it, or if anyone would appreciate it. I’m still not sure, but that doesn’t seem to matter now.

Q6: Favorite activities to relax?

M.S.: Making art: linocuts, dolls, jewelry, painting. Walking, taking photographs. daydreaming. Sometimes all at once.

(Some pins I made getting a little extra UV curing: Mary MacLane, James Joyce, Linton Kwesi Johnson.)

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

M.S.: I’m currently working on my first poetry collection, and also cooking up a project with Ice Floe Press where I’ll be a guest reader.

My first exhibit, “Permanent Migrant” is now wrapping up here in Butte.

Q8: What is a favorite line/stanza from one of your poem/writings or others?

M.S.:

“Roll rough Yiddish,
like bone dice
against a home’s foundation.”

-from “Red Shadows”, Ice Floe Press, 2020.

Q9: Who has helped you most with writing?

M.S.: I’m indebted to Matthew M C Smith of Black Bough Poetry for his mentorship. Through Matthew I also met Robert Frede Kenter, a gentle, intuitive editor. They’ve both shown me so much kindness. I hope to pay it forward someday

Links:

Bio: M.S. Evans is a visual artist and Pushcart nominated poet living in Butte, Montana. Her work has appeared in Black Bough Poetry, Ice Floe Press, Versification, Anti-Heroin Chic, and Green Ink Poetry, among others.

Twitter: @SeaNettleInk Instagram: @seanettleart

Photography Art by M.S. Evans

3 poems from M.S. Evans from Fevers of the Mind Press Anthology

Twitter: @SeaNettleink

https://icefloepress.net/2020/06/02/butte-america-poems-and-photos-by-m-s-evans/

https://icefloepress.net/pandemic-politics-3-poems/

https://www.blackboughpoetry.com/m-s-evans

https://feralpoetry.net/three-love-poems-by-m-s-evans/

https://www.greeninkpoetry.co.uk/poetry-submissions-all/ms-evans-grief-stones

https://stoneofmadnesspress.com/ms-evans

A Fevers of the Mind Quick-9 Interview with Lynne Schmidt

with Lynne Schmidt:

Q1: When did you start writing and first influences?

Lynne:

This is always such a strange question for me to answer. As a kiddo, before I knew how to write and read, I used to write the most brilliant books. But then when I’d go back to them, they were all just scribbles.

So once I started to write and read, I began writing storybooks – The Adventures of Buttercup! (There was a new pony down the road named Buttercup.)

There are photos of me in high school at cross country meets with my handy dandy notebook, hahah.

Q2: Who are your biggest influences today?

Lynne: Oh man. There are so many – Joan Kwon Glass and Lannie Stabile help encourage me to evaluate my trauma and family dynamics.

I’ve taken a workshop with Andrea Gibson that blew my mind.

There are so many collections and influences it’s hard to narrow down!

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

Lynne: I grew up poor in Shepherd, Michigan. My parents were less than ideal and I moved out when I was still in high school. This influences a LOT of my writing. My second chapbook, On Becoming a Role Model, explores a lot of the mental health and long term effects of some of these events.

Travels away from home saved me, helped me grow, helped me find myself and accept myself in a way that makes my former therapists proud of me, haha.

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

Lynne: Right now – Dead Dog Poems. I lost my Baxter in 2017 and it shattered my world. From the moment I got the terminal diagnosis, I didn’t know what I was going to do, how I was going to survive without him. I wrote the collection in 2018 because I needed the grief to go somewhere. I sobbed when it won the 2020 New Women’s Award because it helps make Baxter immortal.

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

Lynne: Like I answered earlier, writing has always been with me. But it wasn’t until 2017/2018 I really started writing and submitting poetry. Prior to that I was working on my Young adult and Memoir.

I think the first few acceptance letters really helped, because it solidified that oh hey – maybe what I write isn’t complete garbage.

Q6: Favorite activities to relax?

Lynne: Snowboarding, hiking, kayaking, hanging out with Kyla, Enyo, and TaylorSwift. I’ve also been playing a lot of disc golf.

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

Lynne:

Yes – please please please pre-order Dead Dog Poems! 

On Becoming a Role Model is still for sale, too:https://www.thirtywestph.com/shop/onbecomingarolemodel

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

From my poem, “Sunday Morning”

i’m already holding cancer between my hands
as though it were a weed that i could pluck away
and not an invasive species
that took root and flourished,
devouring everything i loved in its path

Q9: Who has helped you most with writing?

Lynne: Probably Gabrielle Byrne and Valerie Cole. Gabby and I met at the PNWA Conference a million years ago. She’s pushed me so hard to not give up on myself and my writing over the years. Valerie I met on Twitter and she has cheered for me so much over the years. I appreciate their friendship so, so much.

Links:

3 new Valentine’s Day poems by Lynne Schmidt : When I Say I Want You to Love Me, Rush, & Awaiting Further Instruction

http://www.glass-poetry.com/poets-resist/schmidt-necrophilia.html

Twitter: @Lynneschmidt

http://eratiopostmodernpoetry.com/Schmidt.html

https://oneartpoetry.com/2021/03/24/poem-by-lynne-schmidt/

https://backpatio.press/2019/06/07/four-poems-by-lynne-schmidt/

https://www.yespoetry.com/news/lynne-schmidt-september-2019-poet-of-the-month

https://honeyandlimelit.wixsite.com/website/the-wood-chipper-by-lynne-schmidt

http://malarkeybooks.com/poetry/on-why-i-wont-rest-yet-by-lynne-schmidt

https://feralpoetry.net/two-poems-by-lynne-schmidt/

https://www.perhappened.com/beforethesnowfalllynneschmidt.html

Fevers of the Mind Quick-9 Interview with Jeremy T. Karn

(c)Maggs Vibo

Q1: When did you start writing and first influences?

Jeremy: Thank you for giving me this opportunity. This is truly an awesome moment for me. I started to write back in 2016 when I was trying to get myself out of high school. It was a tough period for me. I was coping with the deaths of a few of my childhood friends that died in the earlier part of 2016. My first influence as a writer was when I lost my uncle to death. In order to express my grief about his death, I became a writer. My uncle’s death was the biggest influence on me becoming a writer.

Q2: Who is your biggest influence today?

Jeremy: Today my biggest influence is my mother. Whenever I look into my eyes I am urged to write more. I want her to see the best in me as I tell our stories. My mother has been my first supporter and she remains my biggest influence. I believe her stories of motherhood need to be heard.

Q3: Where did you grow up and how did that influence your writing?

Jeremy: I grew up in Logan Town, one of the many slum communities situated in Monrovia, Liberia. In Logan Town we struggle to survive everyday and the reality of you being a dweller in Logan Town comes with a lot of consequences. These things have shaped and influenced me in being honest and real when telling a story in a poem. Nineteen years of my life were spent struggling to withstand the outcomes of a slum dweller.

Q4: Have any travels away from home influenced your work/describe?

Jeremy: Yes, my father leaving Liberia for Ghana when I was still a baby trying to plant the word “mama” on my tongue has influenced my work. My childhood was centered mostly on my mother and her sister. I don’t have any childhood memories with my father. My father plays no role in my childhood. I have tried my best to write about these things in my poems. I have tried to write how I longed to have a father in my childhood. My father’s travel to Ghana was a major turning point in my life.

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

Jeremy: Yes, after my uncle’s death. The period after his death I told myself that if I want to tell a better story of my grief and pain I need to become a poet. And today I am a poet.

Q6: Favorite activities to relax?

Jeremy: When I am not writing, I am reading. This makes me feel more relaxed. Also, I find myself watching legal movies and documentaries, especially the OJ Simpson’s Trial. These things help me to relax when I am not writing.

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

Jeremy: In a few months my chapbook, Miryam Magdalit, will be out. Miryam Magdalit was selected by Kwame Dawes and Chris Abani (The African Poetry Book Fund), in collaboration with Akashic Books, for the 2021 New-Generation African Poets chapbook box set. It can be pre-order through this link: http://www.akashicbooks.com/catalog-tag/jeremy-teddy-karn/

Q8: What would be one of your favorite lines from a poem of yours?

Jeremy:

“We have swallowed this country down our throats with the blood of those shot dead, and rebuilt it on unmarked graves.”

These lines were taken from a poem titled: My country’s lullaby. It was published in Liminal Transit Review. This is the link to the poem: https://liminaltransitreview.com/issue-one/my-countrys-lullaby/

Q9: Who has helped you most with writing?

Jeremy: My writer friends have helped me the most when it comes to my writing. Their critiques on my works have helped me in becoming a better poet now than I was before.

Bio:

Jeremy T. Karn writes from somewhere in Liberia. His work has appeared and is forthcoming in 20.35 Africa: An Anthology of Contemporary Poetry Volume III, The Whale Road, Ice Floe Press, ARTmosterrific, The Rising Phoenix, Up the Staircase Quarterly, Lolwe, Minute Magazine, FERAL Poetry, Liminal Transit Review, The Kissing Dynamite, Ghost Heart Literary Journal, and elsewhere.

His chapbook, Miryam Magdalit, has been selected by Kwame Dawes and Chris Abani of The African Poetry Book Fund, in collaboration with Akashic Books, for the 2021 New-Generation African Poets chapbook box set.

Links:

https://feralpoetry.net/the-antonym-of-a-countrys-name-by-jeremy-t-karn/

https://cypresspress.ca/2020/11/25/a-poem-by-jeremy-t-karn/

https://icefloepress.net/2020/11/05/my-mother-is-the-last-piece-of-the-holy-trinity-a-poem-by-jeremy-t-karn/

Bio: Jeremy T. Karn writes from somewhere in Liberia. His work has appeared and is forthcoming in 20.35 Africa: An Anthology of Contemporary Poetry Volume III, The Whale Road, Ice Floe Press, ARTmosterrific, The Rising Phoenix, Up the Staircase Quarterly, Lolwe, Minute Magazine, FERAL Poetry, Liminal Transit Review, The Kissing Dynamite, Ghost Heart Literary Journal, and elsewhere. His chapbook, Miryam Magdalit, has been selected by Kwame Dawes and Chris Abani of The African Poetry Book Fund, in collaboration with Akashic Books, for the 2021 New-Generation African Poets chapbook box set