A Fevers of the Mind Quick-9 Interview with R.M. Engelhardt

with R.M. Engelhardt

  1. When did you start writing and first influences and biggest influences currently?

I grew up with a reading problem. So from a very young age I was put in “special reading classes” which ironically made me a voracious reader later who overcompensated by my love for Stephen King books and LOTR. I started writing about the age of 14 because I hurt my knee playing football and they kept me out of gym class. I kept a notebook and was heavily influenced by stories from comic books, Greek myths, pulp fiction Bantam novels and Jim Morrison & The Doors. And after reading his biography ” Nobody Gets Out of Here Alive” was eventually led down the path to Rimbaud, Blake and many other poets. Over the years my writing form & style has changed up alot and has become more at peace with itself. These days I am more influenced, interested more in mysticism & life events which alter my work more than anything else.

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

A part of me wanted to be a journalist in high school. Who also wanted to be a rock station DJ and a novelist as well as the lead singer in a band and a doctor. But after exploring all those avenues it was poetry that came to me which I sent out to zines in the early 1990s and that got published. So after having a poem published next to a drawing by Ferlinghetti in 94 in Sure! The Charles Bukowski Newsletter I decided that it’s what I wanted to do. Write.

Q3: Who has helped you most with writing?

Other, older poets whom I’ve met over the years with words of advice. Writers I’ve met briefly like Jim Harrison as well as feedback from writer friends who have been editors. One primarily? An indie bookstore owner named Bill Nelson. But mostly? Inspiration and moments that have just come to me from many places have guided my voice & work in it’s own direction. To it’s own place.

Q4: Where did you grow up and how did that influence your writing & did any travels away from home influence your work?

I grew up in a suburban blue collar part of Albany NY called Colonie where in high school you were either a jock, a musician or an honor student. I was just a very quiet kid who liked to read 800 page books in the library. I did have some great English teachers though who encouraged me. I suppose that trips to Boston, NYC & especially Salem, road trips truly inspired me in many ways.

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

In my some 30 years as a writer I’ve put out over 18 or so books and in that time I’ve written everything from bar poems to Buddha. The poems/books that I personally look back on were the ones that literally came to me from nowhere. My books like ” DarkLands” ” Logos” & ” We Rise Like Smoke”, even ” The Resurrection Waltz” all had one similar factor in common. Loss. Probably the most devestating and yet most powerful instigator of writing.

Q6: Favorite activities to relax?

Not many. Writing is actually one of my forms of relaxation. That and reading.

Q7: What is a favorite line/stanza from a writing of yours or others? Or share a link to a favorite artwork or music video.

My own? A quote.

“Remember. Materialism is just another bullshit faith. Poetry is fucking alchemy”


“Pulvis et umbra sumus”

“We are all but dust and shadows”

~ Horace

Q8: What kind of music do you enjoy? Favorite musical artists, influences, songs that inspire.

I still listen to alot of what I consider my older core bands. ( Like The Doors, Joy Division) But I still love music by The Swans, Interpol, Type O Negative, The Church, Bauhaus, Dead Can Dance, Dax Riggs, 1920s Blues, Robert Johnson, John Coltrane. Celtic music, David Bowie. There’s inspiration in all of them.

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

My new book is ” We Rise Like Smoke, Poems Psalms & Incantations” which is available on Amazon right now and I’ve started a new open mic for poets here in Albany NY called “Invocation of The Muse”
On the side I’m also the Editor of DeadMansPressInk which is a small independent poetry press that publishes new & old poets alike. I love reading other poets work and creating spaces where they can share it.

Bonus Question: Are there any funny memories that you can recall during your writing journey or creative journey?

There’s a few. Years ago I met and smoked cigarettes with Jim Harrison during an intermission. He was hilarious. Met a very very drunk Jim Carroll ( who I argued with) RIP. And did a shot of tequila with Anne Waldman at a party. That just about covers it. The journey still continues. There are more shots with poets left to do.

1st person Bio:

My name is R.M. Engelhardt and I’m inquiring about being a featured interview, featured poet in Fevers of The Mind. I’ve been on and a part of the Albany NY poetry scene for almost 30 years now running open mics for poetry, doing benefits etc and I’ve been published in over 400 journals & zines (Paper & Internet). 
I’m the original founder of the group Albany Poets and I am currently the editor of a small independent poetry press called “Dead Man’s Press ink” and also I now host a brand new open mic for all poets & writers here in Albany called “Invocation of The Muse” at The Fuze Box on the 1st Monday Evening of each month. “We Rise Like Smoke Poems Psalms Incantations” is my new book of work Published by DeadMansPressInk (2021) which I am currently promoting. I also run a group on Facebook called The Central Muse Division.





A Fevers of the Mind Quick-9 Interview with Chris L. Butler

with Chris L. Butler (@CLBPoetry)

Q1: When did you start writing and first influences and biggest influences currently?

Chris: I began my writing journey in the nineties as a child. I was mostly a notebook poet growing up. I rarely wrote nonfiction outside of journaling. In my teens, I was more prone to writing short stories, fanfiction, poems, and raps. As I got into my twenties I knew I wanted to write more poetry, but I also grew an interest in nonfiction through blogging. After a sports blog and a pop culture blog, I shifted fully into poetry and creative nonfiction as primary genres.

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

Chris: I’ve always wanted to be a writer. I did not take it seriously though until a few years ago. Prior to this, it was more of a hobby or creative outlet. Even when I was blogging (2011-2018), I was not holding myself accountable in the way that I am now.

Q3: Who has helped you most with writing?

Chris: I’m not sure there is a “most” for anyone as far as direct help goes. I’ve been blessed with a village. What I will say is, I have writers and editors who I’ve connected with that have helped me grow. Some that come to mind are Randall Horton, Quintin Collins, Laure-Anne Bosselaar, Iain Haley Pollock, Daniel Peña, Jane Creighton, Denzel X. Scott, Lynne Schmidt, Samantha Jones, Reggie Johnson, and Anne Marie Oomen. On the editing side definitely Christopher Margolin, Bradley Galimore, and Jeni De la O.

Q4: Where did you grow up and how did that influence your writing & did any travels away from home influence your work?

Chris: I love this question because it is more direct than “where are you from?” I was born and raised in West Philadelphia. It has influenced my writing a great deal as I’ve published a poem called “It’s Not Always Sunny in Philadelphia,” and a genre buster called “JAWN: A Philadelphian Lyric.” Travels away from home don’t influence my work as much as some others but that is probably because I’ve lived a lot of places. These places have inspired new work.

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

Chris: At this stage in my career, I would have to say my micro-chapbook BLERD: ’80s BABY, ’90s KID (Daily Drunk Press, 2021). I co-won my first contest when this was a manuscript, and it has created so many beautiful memories for me since that. For example, I got to perform on various virtual stages with writers like Mahogany Browne, Khalisa Rae, and Meg Pillow. This chapbook was also listed as one of the 300 poetry collections to read in 2021 by The Kenyon Review. It has been amazing to be recognized for my poetry.

Q6: Favorite activities to relax?

Chris: Cycling, mindfulness meditation, listening to hip hop, watching the NBA, and hiking

Q7: What is a favorite line/stanza from a poem of yours or others? Or share are link to a favorite artwork or video.

Chris: “Dinosaurs in the Hood” by Danez Smith is easily one of my favorite poems of all time.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5BXRENTIqRg

Q8: What kind of music do you enjoy? Favorite musical artists, influences, songs that inspire?

Chris: Most people who know me and my work know that hip hop has a major influence on me. But I also love so many other genres. I like almost everything including Ellington, Frédéric Chopin, The Doors, Madonna, Baltimore Club Music, Jah Shaka, and Anita Baker. My musical palette is diverse.

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

Chris: My second chapbook is titled Sacrilegious. It comes out on December 1st of this year with Fahmidan Publishing & Co. I’m so excited to unveil this project to the world. It explores growing up in a religious household during the golden era of hip hop. It is a chapbook of free verse and form poetry, with erasures of popular songs from Tupac’s first album, 2pacalypse threaded throughout it. It has been 25 years since he died, and 30 since that album. I wanted to do something to commemorate that as well.

Bio: Chris L. Butler is an African American and Dutch poet and essayist from Philadelphia and Houston. He is the author of the micro-chapbook BLERD: ’80s BABY, ’90s KID (Daily Drunk Press), and the forthcoming chapbook Sacrilegious (Fahmidan Publishing & Co.). He is the 2021 Kurt Brown Fellow for Diverse Voices in the Solstice MFA Program at Pine Manor College. His work can be found in APIARY Magazine, The Canadian Journal of Poetry & Critical Writing, Trampset, and others. He currently lives and writes from Western Canada. His work has been nominated twice for the Pushcart Prize, and once for the Best of the Net Anthology.

Book link: BLERD: ’80s BABY, ’90s KID (Daily Drunk Press, 2021)  https://www.amazon.com/BLERD-80s-BABY-90s-KID/dp/B09CCC9WL7

*Ongoing* Part 1 The Poets of 2021 Links Around the Web. Poetry, Prose, Sonnets You have to Read!

(c) David L O’Nan

These are not just Fevers of the Mind links. These will be links from around the web that I have seen that I deem *MUST SEE POETRY* the words of another “Whatever” year. We still have fear, we still are in that unknown, some say they have freedom. If freedom is a straitjacket I suppose. End this plague. I want clean, beautiful air again. Here are the poetry links in no particular order. There may be an interview mixed in here and there as well.

  1. Peach Delphine: Wave is a Circular Motion on Fevers of the Mind https://feversofthemind.com/2021/05/08/wave-is-a-circular-motion-by-peach-delphine/
  2. Elisabeth Horan: 2 poems Parallelism & Suicide Attempt #_ https://feversofthemind.com/2021/05/10/new-poems-from-elisabeth-horan-parallelism-suicide-attempt-_/
  3. A Quick-9 Interview with Merril D. Smith https://feversofthemind.com/2021/07/06/fevers-of-the-mind-quick-9-interview-with-merril-d-smith/
  4. Robin McNamara: Published Poetry from “Under a Mind’s Staircase” https://feversofthemind.com/2021/07/28/published-poetry-by-robin-mcnamara-from-under-a-minds-staircase/
  5. David L O’Nan: Those Hazels They Slice/Living in a Toxic Coalmine from Icefloe Press https://icefloepress.net/two-poems-david-l-o-nan/
  6. David L O’Nan: 6 poems from Lothlorien Poetry Journal https://lothlorienpoetryjournal.blogspot.com/2021/10/six-poems-by-david-l-onan.html?spref=fb&fbclid=IwAR3ArXQ1ZRjWbWdCebrEUz_xRZWR-3E_QW6p28uDC_sEHbxh6RYYCJL1A_A
  7. Charlotte Hamrick: Shelter in Place & Swaddling the Beast https://feversofthemind.com/2021/02/13/2-poems-by-charlotte-hamrick-shelter-in-place-swaddling-the-beast/
  8. Paul Brookes: The Insect Sonnets from Fevers of the Mind & Wombwell Rainbow https://feversofthemind.com/2021/07/23/the-insect-sonnets-an-occasional-series-by-paul-brookes/
  9. Robert Frede Kenter: 2 Poems for Lou Reed https://feversofthemind.com/2021/11/01/2-poems-for-lou-reed-by-robert-frede-kenter-variance-2-parts/
  10. Anneka Chambers: NINE https://feversofthemind.com/2021/06/07/stopthehate-challenge-by-anneka-chambers-nine/

A Fevers of the Mind Quick-9 Interview & new poetry by Catfish McDaris

with Catfish McDaris

Q1: When did you start writing and first influences and who are your biggest influences today?

Catfish: I started writing in 1971, while in the army, mostly letters describing shooting cannons and visiting different countries in Europe. I just missed Vietnam and ended in Germany for almost 3 years. I am from New Mexico and have always loved Westerns, so Louis L’Amour influenced me, Ivanhoe, Steinbeck, Zola, Pearl Buck, Poe. Currently I read Tolkien, since our books are archived together at Marquette University. I love Bukowski, Jack Micheline, Seaborn Jones, Adrian C. Louis, and mostly poets and storytellers I’ve become acquainted with over the past 30 years of my writing.

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

Catfish: My mother and grandmother believed I had talent and my wife, Aida of 38 years has put up with me vanishing into a tale or going out reading, now it’s the Zoom reading craze.

Q3: Who has helped you most with writing?

Catfish: My wife and daughter and writer friends.

Q4: Where did you grow up and how did that influence your writing & did any travels away from home influence your work?

Catfish: I grew up in Albuquerque and Clovis, New Mexico, but after the army moved to Milwaukee, Wisconsin. I hitchhiked and rode freight trains across America and down into Mexico. When in Europe I was in the 1st Armored Calvary and when not playing war games against the USSR. I traveled mostly in West Germany and Amsterdam. I love Milwaukee and retired from the Main Post Office after 34 years, lots of excitement from workers going postal and bombs mailed to Jefferey Dahmer while he was in prison. I always miss the mountains and plains.

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

Catfish: I try to keep my next work my most meaningful, but my part in Prying in 97 with Bukowski and Jack Micheline was popular because of Buk and it is currently being reprinted in Germany by Newington Blue Press and another solo book: Valentina Mezcalito Blues is coming out soon from Laughing Ronin Press in Kentucky.

Q6: Favorite activities to relax?

Catfish: I quit drinking and smoking weed 16 years ago. I do like strong coffee, nature walks, thinking of new writing ideas, being with my Mexican wife, people watching.

Q7: What is a favorite line/stanza from a writing of yours or others? Favorite artwork or music video?

Catfish: I did a tiny book called: Making Love to the Rain and I thought about farmers with hope in their eyes watching their crops grow. That’s always hit me hard. Favorite artwork would be damn near anything by Van Gogh or Frida Kahlo, I’ve written extensively about both. Music video is Red Hot Chili Peppers Hump de Bump.

Q8: What kind of music do you enjoy? Favorite musical artists, influences, songs that inspire?

Catfish: Well, I got to see Jimi Hendrix twice, Little Feat, now I like Red Hot Chili Peppers, Joe Satriani, Kingfish Ingram, Gary Clark Jr.

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

Catfish: I mentioned my 2 books coming out. I’ll be Zoom reading Nov 3rd for Montgomery College, MD at an English 101 class my little chap called The Impala and maybe Cobalt from Prying and at Wounded Knee, SD probably some Frida Kahlo poems. Lots of stuff always come along, remember what’s on Buk’s tombstone “Don’t Try”.

Bonus Q: Are there any funny memories that you can recall during your writing/creative journey?

Catfish: There was a local music/reading long ago in the gay district of Milwaukee. I was reading with a sax player, named Big Frank, we had each other’s six. His warning for danger was he’d start playing Dave Brubeck’s Take Five. The Emcee was a guy with a dark beard wearing a wedding dress. He had a briefcase of fake $3’s after every performer read or played their instrument, he handed them a stack of money. This handsome blonde man kept staring at me rather strangely. After we did most of our thing, I grabbed the case and threw all the money in the air, people were squealing and jumping, but not blondie, Big Frank hit Take Five. He pulled his 357 from his horn case as blondie grabbed a handful of fucking chapbooks. We split posthaste. A month later the cops caught Dahmer, after he’d eaten most of 21 men. The cops came knocking at my apartment, they found 3 of my books at Dahmer’s house. I let them search, even the freezer. Sick huh?

Poetry by Catfish McDaris:

The Monster

In three days, I see
a new doctor
maybe he can help me

I’ll try to explain
the anxiety and panic

How I’m paralyzed by fear

How prayer doesn’t seem
to be the cure

How I wonder if God
has turned His back on me

How no one seems
to understand the terror

How I love my family
but even their love
can’t stop the monster.

Graveyard Stew

My grandparents lived in the
Panhandle of Texas, there were
guns in every room because of
a long-ago feud that resulted
in prison time for my grandpa

We’d eat white bread with sugar
and milk called graveyard stew
and sleep in the mule barn guest

Room, grandpa would wash his
face with pumice soap to try and
remove the carbon black from work

They’d drink home brew on weekends
one night granny threw her tit over
her shoulder and her prune nipple

Hit grandpa in the eye, she started
laughing when he yelled and fell out
of his chair and shit his pants.

The Desert

Cochise’s dry hot tears
skeletons of buffalo
windstorm ghosts dry death.

Heat waves dance in dearth
forests are matchsticks waiting
animals on edge.

The heat of summer
beckons fireflies to sparkle
crisp plants beg for rain.

There But For the Grace of God

The Honduran immigrant
staggered into the meeting
speaking only Spanish, he
said he needed help

His entire body was shaking
from alcohol withdrawals, I’d
seen men like him, near death
some recovered, he sweated
out a pure booze stench

One hundred people prayed
for him, he died before midnight

It took Jose twelve years to
find his family in Chicago
and give them some closure.

Bio: Catfish McDaris is an aging New Mexican living near Milwaukee. He has four walls, a ceiling, heat, food, a woman, one cat, a daughter, a typing machine, and a mailbox. That’s enough for him. He writes for himself and sometimes he gets lucky and someone publishes his words. He remains his biggest fan. He’s been sliding in the shadows of the small press for 30 years. Catfish McDaris won the Thelonius Monk Award. His work is at the Special Archives Collection at Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He is listed in Wikipedia. His ancestors were related to Wilma Mankiller from the Cherokee Nation. He’s on vacation from selling wigs in a dangerous neighborhood in Milwaukee. Van Gogh and Catfish were both born in ’53 and Vincent died on his birthday July 29th. Cat’s hometown is Clovis, New Mexico, Gauguin’s father and son were named Clovis.

Interview & new poetry by Jonathan S Baker

with Jonathan S Baker

Bio: Jonathan S Baker lives and writes at his home in Evansville, Indiana with his two companions, a dog and anxiety. They are the author of head Work, It’s Always Been Like This, Roadside Attractions, and co-author of Fearful Architecture. Their new release is Cock of the Walk, a collection of poems about penises and sexuality.

Q1: When did you start writing and first influences and biggest influences currently?

Jonathan: I started writing in college but I was doing it out of obligation then. It wasn’t until 2015 that I sat down to write a poem for the act of writing a poem. As far as my influences go I would have to say Stephen Dobyns and Sharon Olds are probably the two most influential poets on my work, because specifically “The Pope’s Penis” by Sharon Olds and Tenderly by Stephen Dobyns changed the way I looked at poetry. Before that to me poetry was all dappled sunlight and babbling brooks.

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

Jonathan: I wish I could say there were, except all of the validating experiences I’ve had come after I started writing. Having people share one of my poems, and tell me how it affected them, or coming up to me and congratulating me after a reading are things that reaffirm my decision to be a writer.

Q3: Who has helped you most with writing?

Jonathan: The women in my life who have pushed and inspired me to do it. Specifically, Julie Lockhart who is an amazing poet and writer herself who constantly has been a source of support and has repeatedly reached out to remind me how much she enjoys my poems and to assure me that my voice is being heard and is important to her.

Q4: Where did you grow up and how did that influence your writing & did any travels away from home influence your work?

Jonathan: I grew up in Southern Indiana and I have had a few opportunities to travel within the United States. I would say growing up here in Southern Indiana has kept me pretty grounded. I had a vaguely religious upbringing which definitely affected my work.

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

Jonathan: This year one of the pieces I released was a short book called Roadside Attractions. Each year since I started writing with purpose and focus I set for myself a goal or expectation. This year my goal was to collaborate with other artists which I’ve had multiple opportunities to do, but Roadside Attractions was the first work completed with that goal in mind. I got to work with local artist Kristie Jarvis who is amazing. She provided all the illustrations based on my poetry and horrible ability to communicate my wants and desires regarding the illustrations. It was also a big deal for me because I went to school with her and it allowed me to reconnect with someone and let me feel like I was boosting another artist.

Q6: Favorite activities to relax?

Jonathan: The only thing that really relaxes me these days is the night I have set aside to spend with my partner. She’s also a huge inspiration for me.

Q7: What is a favorite line/stanza from a writing of yours or others?

Jonathan: Don’t hate me for this but its actually a line from the Lovesong of J Alfred Prufrock but not because I like that disjointed nightmare of a poem. Tommy Lee Jones uses the line in a movie, Blown Away, and it just makes me chuckle.

“I should have been a pair of ragged claws”

Q8: What kind of music do you enjoy? Favorite musical artists, influences, songs that inspire?

Jonathan: Lately I’ve been listening to a lot of non mainstream country music specifically Nick Shoulders and other artists like him who emulates old country music from the 30s, 40s & 50s. As far as influences on my work go probably the biggest star either Cake or They Might be Giants because I’ve always had a very irreverent sense of humor and I try to infuse that into my poetry.

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

Jonathan: I mentioned Roadside Attractions. That released in September. Unexpectedly one week after that I released Fearful Architecture which is another collection of poems with co-author CS Mathews. And my most recent release just a month later is Cock of the Walk which started as a joke because I’ve written some poetry about my penis. Then someone sort of made a challenge to me to release another book this year and I saw what could be the cover art posted by another artist friend of mine, Nikki Jude, and I knew I had to release it.

Q10(bonus question): Are there any funny memories that you can recall during your writing journey or creative journey?

Jonathan: I wrote a poem about a local politician. It was not a kind poem. Then I was approached by another poet who I respect and admire. They mentioned that they had seen my poem and enjoyed it and then told me that they were house sitting for that politician this week.

Lines by Jonathan S Baker

When I meet an artist
who has seen this world
as it is and said, "no"
and changes the world
by force to infuse
beauty and truth, 
but somehow thinks
things like borders
are just normal
it boggles my mind.

Just like I write these lines,
or you paint those lines,
some bureaucrat charted lines.
Throughout time
men and women
moved along just fine
without passports or guard 
and to think their descendants
should just fall in line
and learn to recognize
the sovereignty of imagined
is completely asinine.
Why should the children
of this land follow any law
but that of this land?
Because high minded men
came on a boat with a flag?
Because some two bit huxter
shouted manifest destiny?
As an artist who shapes
you must know that's bullshit,
We make the lines but those
are not truth by which the land
Somewhere in Maine
a Canadian moose
is birthing anchor babies
with no regards for lines.
a tortoise slowly stretches his
from Mexico to dine in US
scrub grass.
Yet here stands this artist
within the lines.