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 Margaret Viboolsittiseri aka Maggs Vibo

Thanks to Maggs for designing our Q9 Logos

with Maggs Vibo

Q1: When did you start writing/art and first influences?

Maggs: My Grandma used to call me an old soul during our conversations. She said that adults enjoyed my stories and songs. For learning, she advised wandering outside and listening to the teachings of nature. My Mom advised burning sage and handed me a paintbrush to deal with problems. My Dad advised defying dogma and looking to the cosmos for purpose. My influencers were artists because my parents loved art. Music filled our home and pondered war, art, feminism, drugs, and the government. Artists provided lyrical inspiration for the big and small questions in life. My childhood was a time of exploration and imagination. I suppose nowadays society calls this a free-range childhood. A sense of freedom is my earliest recollection of poetry and art.

Dad playing fiddle

Q2: Who has inspired or helped you the most with writing?

Maggs: All the great crafters of lore… especially Niki de Saint Phalle. I’ve always admired the way she morphed storytelling her trauma into an art triumph.

Niki de Saint Phalle at Atlanta, GA (2006)

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

Maggs: My family lived on farms in the Heartland of the United States. It was an excellent opportunity to observe the natural world. Folklore is embedded in art because of oral storytelling traditions. Today we use memes and other technologies, but it is just a continuation of ancient stories told in new ways with new methods. Everything I learned about animals and the countryside, along with old fables and tales, influences my art today.

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

Maggs: My first trip abroad was for a Nanny gig in Canberra, Australia. I’ve deployed as a GWOT soldier. Additionally, military assignments took my spouse (a soldier) and me (his spouse) to Europe, Asia and Hawaii. I feel privileged to write about these multicultural experiences. I never take for granted the circumstances (wars) which led to the opportunities.

Maggs Vibo and CW4 Wattana Viboolsittiseri aboard USS Missouri, 2017

Q5: What do you consider the most meaningful work you’ve done creatively so far?

Maggs: My work in the military community over the past two decades is the most meaningful. It started with art I contributed to events commemorating the fallen. Later, I wrote an article about an Army staff sergeant named Daniel A. Bader. In 2004, a college literary journal published a poem I wrote about an experience during one of my convoys near what was known as Tallil Air Base (located in Nasiriyah, Iraq). I created pieces for the Veterans Writing Project (including a journal written by all women and an anthology covering 2012-2017). In 2018, I collaborated with Jerri Bell and Tracy Crow on women warrior history programs for the National Park Service. In 2020, Oxford Brookes University invited me to a poetry workshop facilitated by Niall Munro, Susie Campbell, and Jane Potter. It was an intimate gathering of women veterans from the US and UK which studied war and poetry. From this workshop, and other veterans’ poetry workshops, the Oxford Brookes Poetry Centre published ‘My teeth don’t chew on shrapnel’: an anthology of poetry by military veterans (a free pdf available for download at: https://www.brookes.ac.uk/poetry-centre/veterans–poetry-workshops/). This meaningful work led to many collaborative projects outside the military community. Nowadays, I try to engage at least once a quarter in programs which help bridge the civilian and military divide.

Women’s History Program at Prince George County Regional Heritage Center, L to R: Jerri Bell, Reinetta VanEendenburg, Ranger Maggs Vibo and Tracy Crow, 2018.

Q6: Any pivotal moment when you knew you wanted to be an artist/poet?

Maggs: All throughout my childhood I was regarded as a nerdy thespian. I sang songs, danced poorly, walked around with paint under my fingernails and boasted my participation in art and drama club. The death of my grandpa had a big impact on my writing. I wrote a short story which discussed his leg amputation and mobility challenges. In the essay, I talked about his alcohol abuse, use of painkillers and how addiction led to his downward health spiral. My short story placed at state competition. I was invited to a soiree where my parents and friends watched me receive a plaque. This was my first recognition for writing. More than anything, I remember how telling my truth helped my family process our collective grief. The essay is stored inside a cedar chest Dad crafted for safekeeping all of my Mom’s favorite things.

Q7: Favorite activities to relax?

Maggs: I like to cycle the Virginia Capital Trail to the marina to have a local brew, catch the sun on the water and cycle back home to spend time with my two dogs. If it involves being outside in nature (or staring lovingly at my dogs) I regard it as true bliss.

Q8: One of your favorite lines from your poem/song, or favorite piece of art of photograph.

Maggs: Favorite line from a poet is Walt Whitman’s “Do I contradict myself?” As a Park Ranger, I gave battlefield interpretive tours out at Petersburg National Battlefield. Each tour discussed the ways contradiction exists in telling the stories of the American Civil War… and all the other conflicts throughout history. Favorite singer: Neil Finn. Favorite book: Black Elk Speaks. Favorite art: ancient art. Favorite movie: Paprika (2006 film). Favorite photograph: NASA image of boot print on the lunar soil.

Pu’uloa Petroglyphs, Big Island, Hawaii, 2014

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

I have a visual poetry piece on exhibition until the end of summer in Virginia. I also work forthcoming in 2 pubs from Paris and a journal from South Asia (all before the end of summer, 2021). I am thrilled to have 10 pieces in Experiment-0, Issue 14, Autumn 2021 Release. The rest is listed on Poemythology.com

Links:

Website: poemythology.com

Photography from Maggs Vibo : Lone Road on Island of Moloka’i I Don’t Need Anesthesia: Photo Art & Poetry by Maggs Vibo

Poem by Maggs Vibo : “Naked”

Fevers of the Mind Fog by Maggs Vibo (photography/art)

Juneteenth Morning by Maggs Vibo

Wolfpack Contributor Bio: Maggs Vibo

Visual Poetry by Maggs Vibo : the Year of the Ox

New Collage Art by Maggs Vibo

Visual Poetry by Maggs Vibo: Drinking the Ash Pt 1 & 2

https://icefloepress.net/2020/11/15/half-breed-drive-a-visual-poem-by-maggs-vibo-pt-1-of-a-maggs-vibo-feature/

https://thepoetryquestion.com/2021/02/19/tpq5-maggs-vibo/

https://thewombwellrainbow.com/2020/11/20/nema-a-poetry-film-by-maggs-vibo/

https://radar.brookes.ac.uk/radar/items/dd9d92c2-a37c-4816-b409-5a911d2d88e1/1/

https://smallmachinetalks.com/index.php/tag/maggs-vibo/

https://tinyseedjournal.com/2020/11/03/eastern-tiger-swallowtail-caterpillar/

A Fevers of the Mind Quick-9 Interview with Timothy Ojo

with Timothy Ojo

Q1: When did you start writing and first influences?

Timothy: I started writing poetry 2016. Before then, I had this love for writing any other thing. It was a passion I cannot really pinpoint where it came from. I read a lot of John Grisham, Niyi Osundare, Wole Soyinka, John Yeats and a host of others.
But for my poetry, African writers like Gbenga Adesina, Gbenga Adeoba, really intrigue me with their brilliant works.

Q2: Who are your biggest influences today?

Timothy: Ah. My biggest influence in my writing today is Ocean Vuong. His style is electric! The diction is soothing. The way he weaves words and how he climaxes, whoosh! He is a brilliant poet.

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

Timothy: I grew up in Lagos, Nigeria. Lagos is a confluence city; a place where you meet every kind of person, every kind of ideologies, every kind of idiosyncrasies. It is hell and a haven; a incontrovertible sandwich of ugliness and beauty.

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

Timothy: Well, I think before I put my craft out there, I take my time. I like to think all of my works are meaningful. I still relive some of them. This is because every work I ever put out came from a place of meditation in solitude. I do cherish them. In other words, to me, all are meaningful.

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

Timothy: Haha. Thing is, I knew I wanted to write poems after reading works of some writers and the flair with which they write always fascinated me. I wanted that, and I read a lot of them, then
naturally I reacted to my longing, by writing.

Q6: Favorite activities to relax?

Timothy: I love to sing. A lot. I also watch soccer. I read too.

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

Timothy: https://t.co/wh0HfYEdFZ?amp=1 from the Hellebore Press Boy, Black, Man is the title of the poem

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

Timothy:

“you must take the shape of a running brook & dissolve everything that appears to make you a
slave in a regimented caste system”– Boy, Black, Man (Hellebore Press).

Q9: Who has helped you most with writing?

Timothy: Well, no one in particular. However, I get inspired by writers. Not just my favourites. There are amazing writers out there churning out incredible work. These guys inspire me to write.

Links:

https://icefloepress.net/2020/11/12/everything-my-mother-failed-to-a-prose-poem-by-timothy-ojo-w-an-image-by-robynne-limoges/

https://kalaharireview.com/my-bodys-timeline-do-not-9475dc7e43cb

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

https://thehellebore.com/tag/timothy-ojo/

https://writeshuzia.com/blog/this-poem-is-for-men-with-songs-stifling-their-throats-by-timothy-ojo

A Fevers of the Mind Quick-9 Interview with Sue Finch @Soopoftheday

with Sue Finch:

Q1: When did you start writing and first influences?

Sue: I loved writing poetry at Primary School and have this wonderful memory of being selected to read a poem I had written at a Harvest Festival. My Mum and my Nan were in the audience and I loved the fact there was a lectern and I was reading. I can’t be one hundred percent sure, but I think we were just sort of given a subject and asked to write about it rather than study a poet or poem first! I did more reading of poetry than writing at secondary school, but loved the way I was taught to read poetry closely and the way my teachers seemed to know so much about it. When I went to Teacher Training College there was an opportunity to study Creative Writing alongside the Teaching degree and that’s when I realised how much I loved writing my own stuff.

Q2: Who are your biggest influences today?

Sue: I have five poets that I revisit regularly because I particularly admire their work: Caroline Bird, Vicki Feaver, Selima Hill, Andrew McMillan and Pascale Petit. I love the way they each craft their work and find it inspiring to go back into their books and remind myself what their writing does.

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

Sue: I grew up in a small coastal town in Kent, England. Walking by the sea was something I could do every day if I wished and I loved that feeling of being by water that was constantly moving and changing. Quiet times by the water seem to spirit me away, but connect me to myself and I feel peaceful and real. I am not really a traveller, but when I am travelling alone I view the time on the journey as thinking time and time alone in a hotel room as perfect reading and writing time so I tend to take one poetry book to read and write down a line or 2 during the trip to develop when I get back home. That’s how I wrote ‘Dropping Your Baby’ after seeing a toy doll face down in a muddy puddle on the roundabout.

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

Sue: My debut collection tracks my journey from childhood to adulthood and I felt I needed to do this as a way of setting down my life up to the present time, i.e., the time of its publication in 2020. This felt freeing to me in that it captured a view of a whole journey. It also proved cathartic in that I now view things through a different lens and it enabled me to go to some of the darker or more surreal places in my poetry.

Magnifying Glass by Sue Finch | Waterstones

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

Sue: This question makes me think of the times at college when I would be sitting in our shared lounge and my flatmates would laugh at how long I could spend writing whilst listening to Leonard Cohen and checking my syllable count by tapping my nose with my fingers! I think I wanted to be a poet then, but it took me some years before I recognised just how important it was to me to write and set time aside for just that.

Q6: Favorite activities to relax?

Sue: I like to paint abstract acrylic works and sometimes I like to cook or bake. Reading always relaxes me and I love the feeling of being totally immersed in a book. When Jodi Picoult releases a new book I buy it as soon as I can and spread it out over 2 days because I want to read it all at speed, but I also love the anticipation of going back into it on day 2.

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

Sue: I am proud of my debut collection, ‘Magnifying Glass’, published by Black Eyes Publishing UK which is avaiIable to order via bookshops or that large company that sends things out rapidly. I also record poems for my YouTube Channel – I started this because I wanted to read my poems out loud and then it became important to me during Lockdown as a way of sharing work regularly with those I couldn’t see in person. https://amzn.to/2VfMUFg

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCdPS21ilEZ1rrlnF_rkJV7w

Q8: What is one of your favorite lines from your poetry or others?

Sue:

Here are the first three lines from ‘Flamingo’: “The night she bent my elbows/to fit the candy floss cardigan/for the twenty-third time, my limbs turned to wings.”

Q9: Who has helped you most with writing?

I have been incredibly fortunate to have met some wonderful people whilst on my poetry journey: Georgi Gill and Audrey McIlvain via my MA with Manchester Metropolitan University; Anna Saunders, Josephine Lay, Ankh Spice, Catrice Greer and Damien Donnelly via Cheltenham Poetry Festival; Helen Ivory via ‘Ink, Sweat and Tears’. I love poetry workshops and have been much inspired by Kim Addonizio, Caroline Bird, Liz Berry, Pascale Petit and Jean Sprackland. I love the connections I have made on Twitter with poets and I tweet as @soopoftheday. And in my house my wonderful wife who will always come to ‘Poetry Corner’ when I want to read a poem to her. And my sister and my Mum who never seem to mind me ringing them to try out a poem or ask their opinions. I loved asking my brother if I could include a poem about him burning ants with a magnifying glass in my collection and the fact that his scientific knowledge led to my first ever published poem!

https://icefloepress.net/2020/10/14/four-poems-from-magnifying-glass-by-sue-finch/

https://www.blackeyespublishinguk.co.uk/sue-finch

https://www.dearreaderpoetry.com/2021/04/disappearing-act-by-sue-finch.html

A Fevers of the Mind Quick-9 Interview with Fizza Abbas

with Fizza Abbas:

Q1: When did you start writing and first influences?

Fizza: I started writing at the age of 11 when I saw my then-best friend reciting her own poem during the farewell party of one of our teachers. The rhyming scheme of the poem tickled my fancy and I tried to explore poetry a bit more, Urdu poetry particularly. At that time, I didn’t have a proper understanding of English language, so I used to write scribbles, thinking it’s poetry but as I grew older, I came across works of legends like Khalil Gibran, Shelley, Wordsworth and Alexander Pope who taught me what poetry is all about

Q2: Who are your biggest influences today?

Fizza: While I love Sylvia Plath, Matthew Arnolds and Ben Jonson’s writing style, Billy Collins has become one of my most favourite poets in recent times.

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

Fizza: I was born and raised in Karachi, Pakistan. My mother was fond of Urdu and Persian poetry as well as classical Hindi songs. She often used to recite/sing verses of her favourite songs/ghazals which increased my interest towards writing.

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

Fizza: No, not yet but I like the idea. I’m thinking of going to Lahore because the city has such a rich history that I’m sure I’ll find a lot to write about after coming from there.

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

Fizza: When I read The Prophet and Broken Wings by Khalil Gibran, I loved how he weaved words together and I decided I would want to do the same for the rest of my life.

Q6: Favorite activities to relax?

Fizza: I enjoy falling into Wikipedia rabbit holes, watching Sci-Fi movies and spending time with my husband.

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

Fizza: Recently, my chapbook Ool Jalool has been published by Fahmidan Publishing. Another chapbook of mine, Bakho is forthcoming from Ethel Press by the end of 2021. Similarly, one poem from Moonchild Magazine and three poems are coming out in Sledgehammer’s three consecutive issues this year.

Fahmidan Publishing

https://www.fahmidan.net/copy-of-ool-jalool-review-copy
https://cabinetofheed.com/2019/10/11/bonfire-fizza-abbas/
https://stoneofmadnesspress.com/fizza-abbas https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCZrZRCg9m_Nk5HR3MOkLfsA

Q8: What is one of your favorite lines from a poem/writing?

Fizza:

‘’Thou art not, Penshurst, built to envious show’’
( To Penshurst, Ben Jonson)

‘’I notice you are stark naked.
How about this suit——
Black and stiff, but not a bad fit.
Will you marry it?
It is waterproof, shatterproof, proof
Against fire and bombs through the roof.
Believe me, they’ll bury you in it.’’

(Applicant, Sylvia Plath)

‘’I notice you are stark naked.
How about this suit——

Black and stiff, but not a bad fit.
Will you marry it?
It is waterproof, shatterproof, proof
Against fire and bombs through the roof.
Believe me, they’ll bury you in it.’’

(Bird-Understander, Craig Arnold)

Q9: Who has helped you most with writing?

My husband, Waqas Rabbani who himself is a fabulous writer. He has not only been a staunch supporter of my work but has been a great mentor to me. He often offers me a critique and helps me steer my ideas to a new direction.

other links:

https://icefloepress.net/2020/08/28/seven-poems-fizza-abbas/

http://www.indianavoicejournal.com/2017/03/a-poem-by-fizza-abbas-words.html

https://serotoninpoetry.org/2020/08/11/red-by-fizza-abbas/

https://www.greeninkpoetry.co.uk/poetry-submissions-all/tic-tac-toe-fizza-abbas

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