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

with Lynne Schmidt:

Q1: When did you start writing and first influences?


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?


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.


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


Twitter: @Lynneschmidt









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?


“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.







A Fevers of the Mind Quick-9 Interview with Ona Woods

with Ona Woods:

Q1: When did you start writing and first influences?

Ona: I’ve always been interested in writing, but I started writing poetry seriously around the time I was 18, at the end of high school and beginning of college. The first book of poetry that really grabbed me and pulled me deeper into writing was The Splinter Factory by Jeffrey McDaniel, and from there I spent a while being completely obsessed with more performance-focused poets, particularly those who were being published by Write Bloody, like Derrick Brown and Anis Mojgani. I’m not so focused on performance poetry now, especially as I’m struggling with voice dysphoria since starting my transition, but I think those influences still keep me focused on the idea of poetry as something that can be loud, quiet, fast, slow, and contain all the elements of music.

Q2: Who are your biggest influences today?

Ona: My fiancée, Inès Pujos! I fell in love with them while we were both working towards our MFAs and for eight years we’ve grown together side by side both as writers and as people. Their poems are ferocious and gut wrenching and gorgeous, and their first book, Something Dark to Shine In, is coming out from Sundress Publications later this year!

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

Ona: I grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area, but I would say my writing is more influenced by the time I spent in Chicago while in undergrad. Those years were the years where I first found a community of writers, where I learned how to use my writing not just to express myself but to actually become myself, and where I learned that poetry is first and foremost an art of empathy (also that kind of winter just changes you after living in California).

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

Ona: The most meaningful work to me is actually not a poem, but an essay that I wrote at the very beginning of my transition, before I’d come out to anyone, and the act of writing it really helped me come to terms with my gender identity after decades of repressing it. It’s the first thing I ever published under my new name. It’s called “An Honest-to-God Step Towards Something” and it came out in Entropy in May of 2020: https://entropymag.org/an-honest-to-god-step-towards-something/.

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

Ona: Unfortunately, my memory of that time isn’t so great, so I can’t say. I can only really remember those years as phases and feelings, not specific moments.

Q6: Favorite activities to relax?

Ona: I’m a big ol’ nerd. Video games have been a great (maybe too great) escape during COVID times, and in particular Final Fantasy XIV should be prescribed as a palliative treatment for gender dysphoria. I really want to learn to cook/bake but I’m too tightly wound and whenever I do anything in the kitchen it just turns into a whole lot of panicky yelling.

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


I have a poem coming out in the July issue of perhappened that I’m very excited about! (https://www.perhappened.com/) It’s called “Nothing Is the Night” and it’s a long-ish piece from several years ago. Writing the piece was an experience that showed me that something buried inside me was screaming to be let out, though it took another five years to figure out what that something was.

Also, I’m working to get an online literary magazine off the ground. We’re called Ciphertext, we’re taking submissions in all genres now, and you can find out more at http://ciphertext.pub/submissions!

Q8: What is one of your favorite lines from one of your poems/writings or from others?

Ona: The chorus of the song “December” by We Are the Union has been stuck in blood ever since their new album, Ordinary Life, came out last month: “You’ll be dead in December. / There can’t be two of us forever.” My whole life I’d given myself over to a constructed persona bent on keeping the real me hidden and safe, and coming out meant taking control back from, and ultimately destroying, that artificial self. So hearing those lines sung by a woman who had herself just come out as trans has really resonated with me.

Q9: Who has helped you most with writing?

Again, I have to say my fiancée. They’re the only one who’s never been afraid to tell me what needs to be cut, whether it’s a single line or an entire poem.