Cursed Houses by David L O’Nan coming out next week!

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

"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 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 .

Blurbs for my (David L O’Nan) upcoming book “Before the Bridges Fell” from Ron Whitehead

*Announcements for October including release of Deluxe Edition of Before the Bridges Fell (Fevers of the Mind Press)*

A Review of “Before the Bridges Fell” by David L O’Nan (review by Ivor Daniel)

Poetry: They Had Sadness in their Eyes ( Like in Littleton) from David L O’Nan

A Fevers of the Mind Quick-9 Interview with Jerome Berglund

Q1: When did you start writing and whom influenced you the most now and currently?

Jerome: I started writing somewhat seriously in high school, transitioned into a predominantly screenwriting focused mode as a young adult. Then, when not much came of that after many grueling efforts and enormous sacrifice, I put my pen down and did not pick it back up again until many years later.  I only experienced another sudden burst of creativity, one day out of the blue, after something of an existential crisis, and found the outlets provided by fiction and poetry, flirtations with the roman à clef, to be immensely therapeutic means of processing past history and present difficulties, and furthermore conceivably each presented a potent political tool for criticizing things internal and external which needed improvement, in the age-old tradition of ‘educate-organize-agitate’ and hopes of making some modest contributions to the many good causes out there, each needing all the help they can get. 

Q2: Any pivotal moment when you knew you wanted to be a writer?

Jerome: Writing always seemed such a wonderfully enticing and effective means of communicating and sparking reform, of changing tides and bridging gaps, raising awareness as well as promoting empathy not to mention solidarity, of increasing global citizenship and improving critical thinking.  I’m a rather deplorable public speaker, a highly anxious person not spectacular at human interaction—quite plausibly figure somewhere on the autistic spectrum, indeed, back before Asperger’s was removed from the DSM that diagnosis fit many of my oddities to a tee—or engaging with my fellow citizens.  I guess the ability to explain, even more so ideally to educate and persuade, capacity for helping correct wrongs and generate love and fraternity always drew me to accessible, popular media, from the genre picture to the serial story and finally this delightfully compact and graffiti-able haiku where I’ve been most at home for my adult life.  Poetry is arguably one of the most accessible mediums, to the author and recipient both, hence why it offers a beloved glimpse into working class heroes like Bukowski and sagacious paupers including our great wandering short form masters.  Working in Hollywood, the insidious influence, primacy of capital and industry (and their defense and propaganda arms unmistakably) became immediately apparent and the impossibility of anything genuinely revolutionary (rather than distractive and misdirecting, divisive or reductionist) ever being permitted, in the compromised, strangle-held system beholden to vested interests and big-pocketed lobbyists, was quite discernible.  Voltaire argued that a pamphlet was more powerful than his day’s equivalent of a shelf of (highly sus) Noam Chomsky’s convoluted jabberings, and I’m inclined to agree with him.  The sound bites and slogans a good haiku approximates would make a wonderful Wobbly agitator in a train car, might have been spray painted across a wall by some Basquiat.  That brevity and economy as a vehicle for transmitting important knowledge (in forums like the exquisite “Siege” column recently curated by Suspect Device Zine across the pond) makes the short forms uniquely suited and attractive as a tool for activism and sparking positive wide-reaching social change of the sorts our embattled species so desperately needs if we hope to survive another generation.    

Q3: Who has helped you most with writing and career?


I had two high school instructors who stand out, I’ll never forget, Roger Mahn who first taught me creative writing, and Robert Tietze who introduced me to Hamlet, immersed us in it inside and out so the play will be forever charred into our brains in the best possible ways.  I had an excellent directing prof Barnett Kellman who taught me about the performance and blocking, timing and beats of a scene, which are sort of the less appreciated physical components of structuring a story and its relaying.  More recently I’ve had some extraordinarily generous mentors and role models in the poetry world who have passed along their troves of knowledge and permitted me to absorb much impressive wisdom through osmosis.  Professor David McMurray who edits the haiku column in widely read (6 million subscribers!! :o) Japanese newspaper the Asahi Shimbun was one of the first accredited authorities in our highly particular and difficult to penetrate scene who took a shine to my work and provided it a noteworthy platform, and has also been immensely helpful in offering feedback and insights into the craft and its effective practice.  Acclaimed poet, editor and teacher Charlotte Digregorio has also really benevolently taken me under her wing and Mrs. Miyagi drilled me with the most helpful no punches pulled constructive critiques and recommendations on the precise and highly specific conventions of the senryu, tanka, and haiku forms which she is a recognized expert in.  I’ve been fortunate to strike up a wonderful friendship which has resulted in some ongoing collaborations with two of my favorite publishing poets of our day, senryu master and African poetry pioneer Adjei Agyei-Baah and his friend and guru JQ Zheng, renowned editor and (besides groundbreaking cento haiku innovator) perhaps best recognized as the most sensational, exquisite virtuoso of the haibun form our age has yielded.  These meaningful relationships both blossomed out of some reviews I enthusiastically composed after encountering and deeply admiring their works, as did another fantastic connection I made with one of my favorite poets publishing today, the incomparable dada surrealist phenom J.D. Nelson, whose upcoming collection soon to be released you do not want to miss incidentally.  A seasoned practitioner, well versed in the trials of this difficult medium, with unbelievable drive and astonishing vision (and a track record of the highest caliber published work about a mile long) , J.D. has been such an amazing role model and inspiration to me and so many of our colleagues, the poetry scene is forever in his debt and deeply blessed for the brain, heart, and patience he brings and inspires in all within his radius.  Pippa Phillips has been an amazing exemplar of all that is good, righteous, and possible for the evolving short forms, and publishers/voices like Patricia McGuire at Poetry Pea, Justin Sloane at Starship Sloane have been shining lights of courage and invention among so many glorious visionaries. 

(There are so many other people I want to list— David L. O’Nan of your own remarkable Fevers of the Mind is doing more exceptional and fascinating new things each day it seems—you know who you are, I’ll find an opportunity to sing your deserved praises too whenever I can!  If you are not following me on Twitter, do pop in for a peek, mostly my account is just furiously retweeting my favorite writers and visual artists, and celebrating the brilliant work they share and publish each day.  We’re truly experiencing a stunning and exciting renaissance in this digital age of ours, and the post-Covid explosion of angst and hope beautifully intermingled is something to witness…)

Q4: Where did you grow up and how did that influence you? Have any travels influenced your work?

Jerome: My upbringing as a comparatively poor kid in otherwise posh Wayzata schools, and later experiences with higher education playing the same outsider role amongst Greek opulence of the University of Spoiled Children, if anything made me more class conscious, and reinforced, solidified my beliefs and narrowed my focus on a great many economic and social outrages most prominently afflicting our civilization.  Curiously the infiltration and coopting of media on a broad scale by agencies and forces of the state directly and transparently was something I was also quite unnerved at many exposures to in the film program, and later working in the entertainment industry.  It was only through those observations that I achieved a holistic appreciation and profound distrust for media in general and its figureheads individually.  I also made some life-changing connections with comrades in the Occupy movement of Los Angeles who changed my life and broadened my perspective, shifted many paradigms immeasurably.  Their influence helped place me on a path toward who I am today— as a salty Green, who went on to support Standing Rock proponents, and in recent years have done everything in my power to advocate for the sanctity of black lives in Minneapolis and the need for a complete re-envisioning of entire institutions from the ground up—and I’ll be forever in their debt.  I guess it’s become quite gentrified since being the one-time haven for starving artists and their Salvatruchan neighbors, but I’ll also never forget the memorable times I spent living in the wild Wild West that was Koreatown, Los Angeles, during something of its recent heyday, which I imagine was not unlike the magnificent mayhem of New York before Giuliani buffed everything with white paint.  We had some times…

Q5: What do you consider your most meaningful work creatively to you?


From an early age (and personal experience has only cemented the notion) I had it instilled in me that you have to throw a lot of s*** at the wall to get something to stick.  I’ve tried a great deal of different approaches, forms, styles, sometimes succeeding, more frequently falling squarely on my face in different ways.  But I don’t regret any of them, like all the mistakes which led to where and who I am today.  Without grievous failures, errors, hubris and ego’s sabotage, love’s foiling, how might I have grown and learned anything of consequence?  I read every book Kurt Vonnegut wrote, and while I could never do what he does, I’d like to try my own variation on the themes.  Josh Malerman (who has a new novel dropping any day now!) is also a huge hero of mine, whose prolificness and gift for invention is just remarkable.  But both those maestros try an awful lot of different tacks, and they could never have landed at their greatest triumphs without such quantities of trial and error, this scientific method of sorts.  The longest thing I ever wrote (more of a prolonged, bathrobed ranting against capitalism for 500+ pages, which could plausibly have been co-authored by Jack Torrance at his most unhinged, interspersed with occasional snatches of plot and narration) was my fourth novel The Experiment.  My first the Havenauts is probably the most meaningful and true of the slate, if there’s also much of the customary doomsayer soapbox, and some unsavory ugliness and sadness entailed by exorcising a great many long pent-up demons.  I have about one reader who’s actually tackled much of the oeuvre, in his opinion the companion collections of poems Unlikable Protagonists and Flightless Birds (the two with Seurat studies for covers) are the best things I’ve done to date, though he’s a Greek mythology wonk like me so that might figure heavily into his appraisal.  The purest example of haiku my micropoetry chapbooks can claim is Dog Days, all about training a puppy and gardening, yet managing to be rather dark and moody nonetheless.  A great many of my other 3-liners elsewhere diverge somewhat to considerably[1] from traditional definitions of that or senryu I should warn purists; the Irish Haiku Society dismissed them as ‘doggerels’ and me as an ‘arsehole’.  They’re not wrong.     

[1] e.g. A longtime enthusiasm for the past tense, a weakness for attaching titles/headnotes, formal things which despite my rebellious nature I’ve gradually moved away from since internalizing expectations and parameters of the highly regimented and inflexible general mandates of elusive English ‘ku, plenty of which I’ll still engage in spirited debate over the legitimacy of, and are being thrillingly discoursed upon and debated by international droves across countless channels daily.

Q6: Favorite activities to relax?

Jerome: For years forest bathing and nature photography was my go to, but I’ve fallen out of practice with both.  Drinking excessively I’ve also dabbled with, but don’t recommend it out of moderation.  Gardening, I’d say, most emphatically.  Dog walking can also be great fun and good exercise, I used to really enjoy volunteering at rescues back in California, would be delighted to assist similarly in Minnesota where I’ve spent much of the last decade but have yet to connect with any place in my area where it’s not a prohibitively huge hassle.  I was getting back into chess not too long ago, but have fallen out of touch with my go-to opponent/teacher, am glad this reminded me, should pick that up again.  Same with the game Go, really enjoyed in my younger years.  This year reading poetry and prose of the French Surrealists and the saijiki of Jane Reichhold — also Salad Anniversary, Tangled Hair, Haiku Master Buson — have been two of my greatest pleasures.  Chain-smoking. 

Q7: What is a favorite line/stanza/lyric from your writing?


getting gored in rain
in Spain
barely alive on
Mulholland Drive

It’s pure doggerel juvenilia, but this double couplet I find my thoughts returning to on frequent occasions, comes from one of the few lengthier rhyming pieces I ever produced.  In haiku that practice is strictly forgiven (though this week’s Foundation “Haiku Dialogue” is challenging that assumption excitingly) but I grew up during rap’s golden age and had many hip hop friends around the art scene, so I nonetheless do find myself slipping into it inadvertently once in a while.  Wow, you would not believe how difficult it is preserving the rhymes in 19th century Swedish poetry translated into English by the way.  It’s a personal pet peeve of mine that so few attempt that with rhymed classics are brought into our tongue from Spanish or French; they cite preferencing accuracy, but I charge laziness and cowardice is as often to blame, and that where they originally existed a disservice is done in not recreating.  Much love for classical metered poetry and Scandinavian history both though, for sure.

Q8: What kind of music inspires you the most? What is a song or songs that always come back to you as an inspiration?

Jerome: Jazz or classical can pair the best with writing strenuously, not getting diverted by lyrics.  I’m quite partial to the Smithsonian Folkways collection, slowcore, grunge, French cafe sounds ideally with liberal accordions, was raised on folk punk, particularly the different projects of Pat the Bunny, Craig Finn and Pete Doherty are two other big favorites, Sidney Bechet, Django Reinhardt, Allen Toussaint.  In my younger days I was a huge Decemberists fan, but now I can’t help picturing Colin Meloy slagging Jill Stein (<3) and perpetuating falsehoods about her despicably, these days whenever I hear his smug voice the songs are like nails on a chalkboard.  Matt and Kim, Belle and Sebastian, though both those make me a little nostalgic for younger years, a different time and place.  Ditto for Of Montreal, Bright Eyes, Mountain Goats (“This Year” is the song that jumps to mind, incidentally), each of which is always classic.  Modest Mouse, Chet Baker, the list goes on.  If you have not listened to Chumbawamba’s “English Rebel Songs” you are missing out. 

Q9: Do you have any recent or upcoming books, music, events, etc that you would like to promote?

Jerome: I’ve got just a ridiculous number of poetry manuscripts that I need to find publishers for, some that I’d like to shoot for wider release of in bookstores (such as a John Wayne Gacy coffee table poetry book, a translation from Swedish of an important collection by Gunnar Wennerberg who has a statue by my house) in my wildest dreams, others that would be perfect for the smallest press imaginable.  My fifth novel’s rough draft I really need to get editing.  I’m working on a team up with Ajei pairing his poems with my black and white photography, it’s a ways out but that’s an exciting prospect, still in the very early stages but have high hopes…  I think the most certain thing is I’ll be releasing a short (<70 p.) collection of haiku and senryu examining the tropes and language of the cinema through the lenses of history’s most celebrated literary lovers.  I’m hoping to release that through Meat For Tea Press in a few months if we’re lucky, keep your eyes peeled!  Also in September I’m releasing an issue/anthology of a little poetry project I just started, Heterodox Haiku, and we’ll be showcasing a marvelous selection of LGBTIQA+ short form pieces, and hopefully do our small part toward correcting the disturbing lack of discussion and criticism regarding representation and acknowledgement, from the storied history and roots of the form—Did you know Basho was gay? I’ve read four books on him, and seen it mentioned I believe once that I can recall, in passing! <_<—through many of its most accomplished modern practitioners.  That’s very thrilling, do check out the phenomenal material we have accepted, I promise it will rock your socks clean off…

Bonus Question: Any funny memory or strange occurrence you’d like to share during your creative journey?

Jerome: I just find it pretty humorous that I was once Minnie Driver’s driver, on a Lifetime picture I worked on ages ago, co-starring the also-brilliant Paul Adelstein and (geek out) Alfred Molina, among other countless luminaries.  Boy did she have awe-inspiring acting chops, a delightful accent when calling for me, such commitment as a parent and sterling character as a human being.  That was a downright magical film to work on, even with the lack of sleep (I recall snapshotting my timecard on a 110-hour week, out there in that field not abnormal…)  Compared to the typically hellish work environments, those cultures of abuse and irresponsibility which were more the expectation and norm during my years toiling out in Hollyweird (have things changed at all?) that gig was an exception to general tyrannical rule, and I’ll never forget it, always be grateful for a glimpse at what our industry could look like in the right hands.  It gave me some glimmer of optimism about a better possibility, that it might one day be achievable…

Jerome Berglund

Minneapolis, Minnesota

August 30, 2022

Writing Publications:







Bio: Jerome Berglund graduated from the University of Southern California’s Cinema-Television Production program and spent a picaresque decade in the entertainment industry before returning to the midwest where he was born and raised. Since then he has worked as everything from dishwasher to paralegal, night watchman to assembler of heart valves.  Jerome has exhibited many haiku, senryu and haiga online and in print, most recently in the Asahi Shimbun, Failed Haiku, Scarlet Dragonfly, Cold Moon Journal, Bear Creek Haiku, the Zen Space and Daily Haiga.  He is furthermore an established, award-winning fine art photographer, whose black and white pictures have been shown in New York, Minneapolis, and Santa Monica galleries.

a few haiku and senryu style from Jerome Berglund

a few haiku and senryu style from Jerome Berglund

photo from pixabay (distelAPPArath)
      even when 
can’t see them 
      chirping cheers me

      new life among 
the mud, last year's leaves — 
      welcome the rain

not the midnight special
      hoping for

      visit my old hood
through Google maps, 
      tent cities far as arrows go

      planting time passes quickly 
 sow oats
      if you like bread

Bio: Jerome Berglund graduated from the University of Southern California’s Cinema-Television Production program and spent a picaresque decade in the entertainment industry before returning to the midwest where he was born and raised. He has exhibited many haiku, senryu and haiga online and in print, most recently in the Asahi Shimbun, Failed Haiku, Scarlet Dragonfly, Cold Moon Journal, Bear Creek Haiku, and Daily Haiga.  Jerome is furthermore an established, award-winning fine art photographer, whose black and white pictures have been shown in New York, Minneapolis, and Santa Monica galleries. 

Haiku, Senryu and Haiga Publications