Feversof Promos: Getting to Know Michigan Author Ron Riekki

Ron Riekki is a poet/writer/editor from Michigan and has been published by several publications such as Juked, The Threepenny Review, Wigleaf, Akashic Books, Beloit Poetry Journal, Spillway, Rattle and many more. He has produced/written films that have been submitted to the SooFilmFest Screenings in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan. This years festival dates are currently September 15-19th. This year “Thank You For Your Teeth” is his submission to this film festival directed by George ve Gänæaard & Horia Cucută. He has written several shorts & screenplays.


To see all the listings for this event check out the Soo Film Festival page here https://www.soofilmfestival.org/

Ron has compiled and has written several poetry & fiction books included a book of essays based on "Stephen King's It" titled "The Many Lives of It: Essays on the Stephen King Horror Franchise"

Another unique concept for an anthology that Ron has edited is “The Way North” Collected Upper Peninsula New Works which is a collection of writing from several contributors that are writers either from Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, or are based on the territory. Writers such as Steve Hamilton, Catie Rosemurgy, Keith Taylor, Jonathan Johnson, John Smolens, and Ellen Airgood are included in this Michigan Writing collection.

The Way North: Collected Upper Peninsula New Works (Made in Michigan Writers Series) Kindle Edition

“My Ancestors Are Reindeer Herders and I Am Melting in Extinction” is a book of stories and poetry through the eyes of a Saami-American that deals with struggles of today’s world through metaphors and verse.

My Ancestors are Reindeer Herders and I Am Melting In Extinction: Saami-American Non-Fiction, Fiction, and Poetry by [Ron Riekki]


An anthology edited by Ron “Undocumented: Great Lakes Poets Laureate on Social Justice” is a nice collection of Great Lakes region poets and writers that speak on diversity, social justice, and poet laureates of the region putting out some of their most meaningful works. Poets such as Rita Dove, Lauren McClung, Karla Huston, Joyce Sutphen, Zora Howard, Wendy Vardaman, Marvin Bell and much more are included in this collection.


For more books and collections by Ron please follow the Amazon link to his books of poetry, fiction, non-fiction, essays.


Links to Interviews, Poetry & more:










A Fevers of the Mind Quick-9 Interview with C M Taylor “Charlie”

with CM Taylor

Q1: When did you start writing and first influences?

CM: I’ve been hyper creative forever: apparently I woke up singing every day and usually sang myself to sleep as a little kid. As far as writing, I started doing way, way more than was asked of me on assignments by the first grade. My teacher told my parents I’d grow up to be a writer. I was read to constantly as a child, so of course I was inspired by those early novels. My first real influences that I can see evidence of in my work today were all lyricists. We listened to a pretty eclectic range, but the Indigo Girls stand out. Emily Saliers’ songs in particular haunt me in the best way every time I come to the blank page.

Q2: Who are your biggest influences today?

CM: In terms of writing, Richard Siken, Mary Ruefle, Chen Chen, Eula Biss, and Joan Didion, though there’s some love-hate to the latter. I’m astonished newly and overwhelmingly and daily by my friends on Twitter, especially Meg Pillow, Christopher Gonzalez, Khalisa Rae, and Taylor Byas, to name the tiniest handful of geniuses. 

As a bit of a jack of all trades, one of my strengths is pulling influences between forms. I’m influenced as a songwriter by all the poets I just named above, but I’m also influenced by Danny Elfman (his Oingo Boingo days) as a vocalist and by Matty Healy of The 1975 as a performer. When I paint, I often think about Richard Siken’s poems on painting but I’m also usually blaring pop music and dancing while I work. I try to let myself be moved wherever by whatever, and allow myself to switch mediums if an idea isn’t working in the one I’m trying to use.

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

CM: There have been a bunch, but one that really stands out was in August 2019. I was perched on the edge of one of the cabana porches at Barrelhouse’s Writer Camp, the smoke was still clearing from the fireworks they do at the end of the weekend. I had quit a fully funded MFA fellowship in Creative Nonfiction in June and even though I was certain it was the correct choice, the gaping “what now” of it all had been catching up to me throughout Camp. I refreshed my email to an acceptance from Memoir Mixtapes of an essay I’d written in undergrad. It was like the whole universe grinning at me. I’d known for years and had reaffirmed over and over that I wanted to be a writer and an artist, but what was pivotal was receiving that little nod right as I was departing the “path” toward one version of myself in those identities and embracing a totally different one.

Q4: Who has helped you most with writing?

CM: Jane Felknor, who taught at my high school and was the only English teacher ever to give me a “B” on an assignment: a world without her is a world in which I am half the writer I am today, and she laid the groundwork for my entire editorial practice. Cyn Fitch, who teaches at Knox College and who is as wise a writer and human being as I have known. Her sense of grace, her grit, her flexibility are invaluable to my work and my worldview. And Findlay McCarthy, whom I met at Knox, is the best second set of eyes I’ve ever had. She works in publishing now but even at nineteen could tell me what four words my twenty page essay was missing to make it sing.

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

CM: I was born in Placerville, California and raised in and around Boulder, Colorado with frequent trips back to California. As much as those places, California especially, show up in my work, I feel most geographically influenced by my time in Galesburg, Illinois. I used to just walk. For hours. Stand up close to a train, find myself in the cemetery again, wonder the backstories of old railroad money houses. Sit at the bar of the brewery where I worked and people watch alone. Look up at the statue of Carl Sandburg at dusk with his guitar slung over his back. That town taught me to sit still and keep seeing.

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

CM: Weirdly, a song I wrote in 2016 called “Porch Band.” It’s about and for this group of kids who used to serendipitously gather on a front porch in college some nights. I’d get a guitar, as would a couple others, and we almost always had at least one fiddle and usually some other instrument–once an oboe, which was wild–and a bunch of people singing and we’d falter our way through cover songs. The bridge borrows lyrics from a song my friend who died that year wrote. It’s meant to be bellowed by a bunch of half-drunk people over out of tune instruments and whenever I’ve gotten to play it that way is when I feel the most like my art matters. It’s a goodbye song and an ode to sacred community and I still cry almost every time I play it. 

Q7: Favorite activities to relax?

CM: Improvisational dancing while I do other stuff, especially laundry. 

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

CM: My first-ever poetry tattoo and my favorite ending of any poem, from “Visible World” by Richard Siken: “The light is no mystery,/the mystery is that there is something to keep the light/from passing through.”

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

CM: I’m heck-of proud of my recent writing on gender and sexuality in Salty and Honeyfire Lit, and I have an incredibly vulnerable essay about my gender and my legal name change still forthcoming from Honeyfire in their Milk Teeth issue. Juked Magazine will also be publishing my poem “Nonbinary Love Story” in the coming months. I am taking time off from traditional work at the moment and am itching to take on new collaborative and paid editorial projects: say hi to me on Twitter and let’s find out how we can work together!!

Links & Promos

How Getting Non-binary Bisexually Married Finally Sparked My Pride at Salty

There Is Nothing to Spin at Honeyfire Lit

Kissing Dynamite’s Featured Poet 

Bandcamp: https://carlymtaylor.bandcamp.com/ 

Social Media:

Twitter: @carma_t

Instagram: @fine_carma & for art, @capricorn.chill

A Fevers of the Mind Quick-9 Interview with Paola Ferrante

with Paola Ferrante:

Q1: When did you start writing and first influences?

Paola: I started writing fiction as soon as I started being able to read to myself, so probably around 7 or 8! My poor elementary
school teachers would assign a three page story and I always ended up giving them around twenty pages or so. I didn’t start
writing poetry until university, and was at first very resistant to it. Priscilla’s Uppal’s third year poetry workshop changed all
that, with an assignment that challenged us to write a poem about something you couldn’t write a poem about (I think I
eventually ended up writing a pretty cringy poem about a Pap smear). But it was this idea that poetry could blow subject
matter wide open, and present an entirely new way of looking at the world by using words in non-obvious ways that really
made me start to love the idea of writing poetry.

Q2: Who is your biggest influences today?

Paola: I always feel like this is such an impossible question to answer because there are so many! Especially since I write both
poetry and fiction. In poetry, I would say Anne Boyer for her astonishing mastery of the prose poem, Terrance Hayes for how
he can pack a gut punch into a sonnet, and Matthew Zapruder for his deceptively simple lines that evoke such emotional
weight. In fiction, it’s Karen Russell for her magic-inflected worlds, and way of following through on a believably outlandish
premise while always maintaining an emotionally resonant centre in her characters and Carmen Maria Machado for her
genre-bending work, particularly how she incorporates horror into literary stories. There’s also Anakana Schofield for her
seductively voice-driven work and her redefinition of the structure of the novel, and Paige Cooper for the way her stories
evoke such eerie dreamscapes.

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

Paola: I grew up in Toronto, Canada and still live there now. I think growing up in an urban setting as big as Toronto influences some
of the ideas of loneliness and disconnection characters in my fiction tend to manifest, but I also have to say that living in this
city has been a blessing in the sense that it has an incredibly supportive and vibrant literary community, which welcomed me
and taught so much about how to be a good literary citizen. Reading series like Pivot, launches by House of Anansi and
Book*hug, The Puritan’s amazing Black Friday party, and of course, any event put on by the incomparable KnifeFork Books,
probably Canada’s most important poetry hub, have all made me a better writer than I am today just from the sheer exposure
to other people’s works. In terms of being away from Toronto, my brief, failed stint living out West to attend a clinical
psychology program in Vancouver has probably been the most direct influence on my work, in that it was the first place where
I was forced to confront the reality of living with my own depression. I remember holding up my hand on the mountain at
Simon Fraser University, and not being able to see it because of how thick the fog was. And I remember thinking my hand
lost in that fog was just the visual representation of how I felt at the time, like the me I knew had gotten lost and couldn’t find
herself anymore. That experience inspired a piece of short fiction I wrote, “The Underside of a Wing,” which won The New
Quarterly’s Peter Hinchcliffe Award and is one of the stories in my newly finished collection.

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

Paola: I think I’m going to give a very biased answer here, mostly because whatever work-in-progress I’ve either just finished or am
currently in the middle of is always the work I feel most connected to. Right now, I’ve just completed the manuscript for my
first collection of short stories, Her Body Among Animals, a genre-bending, speculative set of tales that combine elements of
horror and science fiction to explore how women confront and challenge the realities of living in a world “among animals,”
where violence is intertwined with ecological disruptions. I feel like this work, along with a recent chapbook of poems I’ve
completed, The Dark Unwind, really start to explore the ecological implications of allowing a patriarchal culture to continue,
and how that affects, among other things, women’s mental health. Really I think I consider this book, and the chapbook I
mentioned, so important to me because they challenge how we deal with fear, while providing hope for a future that doesn’t
have to repeat past mistakes.

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

Paola: Like I mentioned before, I definitely knew I wanted to be a writer when I was young, even though I hadn’t yet discovered
poetry. My mom and I were working our way through The Chronicles of Narnia, and she’d read me a chapter a night. By the
time I got to the third book in the series, I was tired of waiting to find out what happened, and just started reading on my own.
And I remember asking “Who made this world?” (which I may or may not have believed I could access at the back of my own
closet for a while) and she explained what an author was, and what fiction was. I think that was the moment I decided that’s
what I wanted to do; to create worlds with words that were real enough for people to lose themselves in.

Q6: Favorite activities to relax?

Paola: There’s time for activities other than writing…? Seriously, though, swimming, rock climbing (which also led to the
development of a writerly friendship with the lovely Kate Finegan) and craft beer, which is what happens when you’re the
partner of a brewer. I also have been known to enjoy a good horror movie and a good punk show.

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

Paola: Right now I’m mostly in the “querying agents about my short fiction collection while I start a speculative fiction novel” stage of
promotion, but as the Managing Co-Editor and Poetry Editor of Minola Review www.minolareview.com, I’m really excited
about what the next year will bring for our journal. We’ve just received an Ontario Arts Council Grant, and thanks to this
support, we are going to be able to pay our contributors substantially more, hire a Reviews Editor, and start an editor-
mentorship program, which will allow us to mentor readers interested in learning more about the editorial world of a literary
journal while also offering them honoria. This fall, I’m very much looking forward to seeing one of my poems, “ASCH’S LINE
STUDY IN THE CURRENT ANTHROPOCENE” appear in Best Canadian Poetry 2021, which is currently available for pre-
order at https://biblioasisbookshop.com/. As well, one of my short stories will appear in Véhicule Press’s anthology of new
generation Canadian fiction, edited by André Forget, which is due out in Spring 2022. And of course, I should mention that if
anyone is interested in my first poetry collection, What to Wear When Surviving a Lion Attack, which was shortlisted for the
Gerald Lampert Memorial Award in 2020, they can find it at, http://mansfieldpress.net/2019/06/what-to-wear-when-surviving-
a-lion-attack/ or simply go to my website paolaferrante.com for the link as well as updates on my writing news. http://www.minolareview.com/paola-ferrante-1

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

Paola: Some of my favourite lines from my own poetry are from the poem, “AFTER MIDNIGHT,” which inspired the title of a
chapbook I’m currently looking to publish, The Dark Unwind. The lines are: “All my life I’ve danced with the wolf/ a long, slow
waltz in the dark unwind.” I think these lines mean so much to me because they allowed me to talk openly about my
depression, which, due to stigma around mental health in my family of origin, wasn’t possible for a long time. In this poem,
which is addressed to my unborn child, I wanted to talk about how, yes, depression can feel sometimes feel like being
consumed by a wolf, but I also wanted to talk about the possibility of hope and joy. Later on in the poem, there is a reference
to my child as Little Red Riding Hood not needing the hunter to come save her from the wolf’s stomach, with the idea being
that she doesn’t need saving, that a future can exist in which the wolf will not eat her up.

Q9: Who has helped you most with writing?

Paola: I’m going to try to make this not sound like one of those Oscars speeches that gets cut off because it goes too long… Kate
Finegan, who is a wonderfully talented writer, has been an invaluable editor and friend. I have a lovely writing group, the
Eastwood Writers’ Collective, composed of Dawn Chapman, Lee Parpart, Susana Molino, Alison Frost, Grace MacCall, and
Kate, who have been incredibly supportive and provided feedback that has made me a better writer. I also recently had the
pleasure of a mentorship with Russell Smith, with the support of a Canada Council grant, and he helped me finish my short
fiction collection. His advice was incisive and candid and taught me a lot about the art of fiction, definitely making my book a
better one. I would also be remiss in not mentioning my partner Mat, who has always believed I could be a writer, even
when I didn’t, and my mother, who made me want to write in the first place.


Twitter: @PaolaOFerrante









A Fevers of the Mind Quick-9 Interview with Catherine Graham

photo by Marion Voysey

with Catherine Graham:

Q1: When did you start writing and first influences?

Catherine: I began writing poetry after the deaths of my parents. They died during my undergraduate years. Mother, my first year, father, my last. Grief hit me hard but also became a catalyst to my creative journey which I expand on below. First influences include Sylvia Plath, Elizabeth Bishop and Anne Sexton.

The Colossus and Other Poems

Q2: Who are your biggest influences today?

Catherine: The creative process is my biggest influence. I pay attention to what triggers my imagination. I follow energy lines from various sources: dreams, dream lines, nature, words, music, books and art and coax them into shape so that I have a draft to play with and see if I might craft it into a poem.

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

Catherine: After my parents’ back to back deaths, I was consumed with grief. A worried friend suggested I see a therapist. The therapist suggested I keep a journal. This helped but it wasn’t a cure. One day I started playing with words—images, rhythms and memories of my parents, the water-filled limestone quarry I grew up beside. I fell into a portal where time and pain disappeared and when I came back out I knew something pivotal had happened. Eventually I worked up the courage to share what I’d written with that family friend and she told me I was writing poetry. Of course I knew what poetry was but I didn’t think that I could participate in such an endeavour. At that point the only poems I’d been exposed to were written by bearded men now long dead. But once that connection was made, poetry became the core of my life.

Q4: Who has helped you most with writing?

Catherine: I’d have to say my parents. Their deaths fueled my creative life, plus the water-filled limestone quarry we lived beside. My long term editor, Paul Vermeersch, has also helped me immensely on the poetry journey. He’s edited all my poetry collections (except my first chapbook, The Watch). Pupa, The Red Element, Winterkill, Her Red Hair Rises with the Wings of Insects, The Celery Forest, Æher: An-Out-of-Body Lyric. His belief and continued support mean the world to me. Exchanging poems with writer friends such as James Wyshynski and Ayesha Chatterjee is also extremely helpful.

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

Catherine: I was born in Hamilton but grew up in small town Ontario. The Niagara Escarpment behind our house in Grimsby became the first landscape I loved, followed by the water-filled limestone quarry beside our bungalow in Ridgeway. When poetry charged into my life, it led me to Northern Ireland where I studied and lived during the 90’s. I love the Irish and Northern Irish poets: Michael Longley, Joan and Kate Newmann, Kathleen McCracken (Canadian and Northern Irish!), and more. I’m grateful many have become dear friends.

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

Catherine: I’ve written seven collections of poetry and one novel (Quarry) and they are all meaningful to me. Perhaps they serve as one long creative piece. However, the most meaningful of the lot is my recent collection: Æther: An Out-of-Body Lyric. It’s a hybrid book—poetry, prose, memoir, lyric essay—a homage to family, to cancer and to the strange windings of truth. 

Q7: Favorite activities to relax?

Catherine: I love walking, especially in nature. It helps me process thoughts and emotions and deepens my thinking so insights occur, synchronicities happen, and questions or concerns I’m currently grappling with gain new perspectives. Walking brings comfort, joy and balance to my life.

Lake swimming is another activity I love. Front crawl, breast stroke—back and forth. I become one with water. I also love to visit art galleries. I adore looking at art.

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

Catherine: I’ve been working with dream lines lately. Half-awake in the dark, I jot them down in a bedside notebook and hope I’m able to decipher my scribbles in the morning. My mother rarely visits my dreams but before my imminent departure to leave on a poetry reading tour in Northern Ireland, after a very long absence, she said these comforting words: “You’re a game changer. A post-autumn woman.” That line morphed with a dream I had about Seamus Heaney and became part of a recently published poem “Sleep Patterns for Seamus Heaney.” I was honoured to have it appear in University College Dublin / Museum of Literature Ireland’s new journal Belfield Literary Review.

Sleep Patterns for Seamus Heaney

We hold sleep patterns for him.
Clip flowers from seeds; mist

hours from worries
into a line’s heartbeat.

Tears are rinsers,
not energy takers.

Never waterfalls.
We don’t envy

his gift, we coax
something out—

Take me, for instance,
my dead

mother’s voice—
You’re a game changer, a post-autumn woman.

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


Well, there’s Æther: An-Out-of-Body Lyric as mentioned above. It’s now out and available for purchase. My second novel, The Most Cunning Heart. appears Spring 2022 and my eighth poetry collection appears in 2023. Some upcoming events include presenting at the CAA conference (https://canadianauthors.org/national/presenters/) leading the Toronto Festival of Authors Book Club (https://festivalofauthors.ca/book-club/) and reading at Word on the Street (https://toronto.thewordonthestreet.ca/) and Gloucester Poetry Festival (http://www.gloucesterpoetryfestival.uk/). Oh, and I wrote about Æther: An-Out-of-Body Lyric here: https://alllitup.ca/Blog/2021/Lit-Locale-Broken-Landscapes-in-AEther-An-Out-of-Body-Lyric.

Readers may also find me on Twitter and Instagram: @catgrahampoet or they may visit my website: www.catherinegraham.com.

Thanks so much for the interview!

Forthcoming from Palimpsest Press, 2022: The Most Cunning Heart (novel)

Shortlisted for the Toronto Book Awards, praise for Æther: An Out-of-Body Lyric:
“Catherine Graham’s seventh book of poetry is an intricate reverie, in poetry and prose, which floats back and forth in time and between memories, dreams and reflections.” – Toronto Star

“It is a masterpiece. The melding of poetry and prose into a beautiful and heartbreaking skein, gradual revelation, going back/going forward, weaving in and out, repeating and broadening the meaning as you go. A journey that is fascinating, heartrending, and courageous.” – Marilyn Gear Pilling



New poem “August” by Ryan Flett

brown wooden bench on dock near lake during daytime

photo by Anne Nygard (unsplash)


Summer days congeal
like amber
or honey,

crystallized sunsets
slowly dripping
between the trees;

the sun’s sweetness
lasts just
a little longer,

lingering on
my skin through
the warm nights

and reminding me
to savor good things
while they last.

Bio: Ryan has been writing poetry since about 2019. Some of Ryan’s favorite poets are Mary Oliver, Charles Wright, and Charles Bukowski. He currently work as a registered nurse and as a programmer at a small video game company a friend and his founded this year. Writing has always been a passion of his, and he has found poetry is the ideal way for me to express myself. Ryan has had some work published in Eve Poetry Magazine, but primarily post his work to Twitter (@ryanwritespoems). Ryan is currently working on my first chapbook. Ryan lives in Oregon and is a Pacific Northwest native.

A Fevers of the Mind Quick-9 Interview with Ryan Flett