My mother stays up very late. At two a.m. she washes dishes, at three the steam iron hisses.
Domestic responsibilities discharged, she consults the Materia Medica, does some arithmetic,
composes lines of poetry by the sinking light of a turf fire. Before dawn there is still time
for incantations and complicated revenge plots with metaphysical elements.
Left to my own devices, I wonder if I too might do my best work after midnight?
The daylight hours reserved only for tea drinking, long distance phone calls, reminiscences.
Bio: Georgia Hilton is an Irish poet and fiction living in Winchester, England. She has a pamphlet I went up the lane quite cheerful and a collection Swing both published by Dempsey and Windle (UK). Georgia has an MA in Creative and Critical Writing from the University of Winchester and is married with three children. She tweets occasionally at @GGeorgiahilton
If you’re a poet or writer, you need exposure. Especially, if you’re an independent writer, or work or run a small press. Luckily, for us, there is a website that has been expanding exponentially the last few years giving us more exposure to the best independent poets and writers out there today. The Poetry Question provides the concept of asking “How will you Poetry today?” The man behind the beginnings of the Poetry Question is Chris Margolin.
He shares a passion for visualizing the future of poetry and giving a voice to poets. Whether it would be the unique interview in which you answer the poetry questions on influences, favorite books, authors, influences. Detailed info on why these works or writers have deemed such an influence on a writer. The site has been excellent and expanding their team on reviewing Poetry Chapbooks and novels & novellas.
Within the last year, Chris has worked hard on adding a small press to give another avenue for writers to put out chapbooks. So, with that introduction, we shall ask a few questions to Chris Margolin of “the Poetry Question” http://thepoetryquestion.com
Hi Chris, thanks for giving us at Fevers of the Mind the opportunity to learn more about The Poetry Question and the exciting future of the site.
Thank you for having me! I’m a fan of Fevers of the Mind, so this is an exciting opportunity for me. I’m honored.
First off Chris, when did you come up with the idea of the Poetry Question? The original concept? When was the moment that hit you and said “Hey I need to help small press poets and self-published poets”?
I’ve written a lot about the foundation of The Poetry Question, but I appreciate that your question focuses on Small Press Poetry and Self-Published Poetry. The site went through so many different iterations. It was an educational site – I’ve taught for almost 20 years – in the early days. Then it was a music review site. Then it was a general book review site. Then I started going to The Portland Poetry Slam in Portland, Oregon. My first night there was like finding a new religion. My introduction couldn’t have been more epic: Clementine von Radics, Alex Dang, Brenna Twohey, and the legendary Andrea Gibson. I bought every book on the table that night. That was it. These were stapled together like the zines I used to buy in high school. They were beautiful. And they needed to be seen. There wasn’t much of a choice at that point. Voices needed to be heard, and I couldn’t find a website that focused solely on small press or self-published poetry. So, it seemed like the obvious choice and direction.
I know that you have decided to put out a few chapbooks, how has that experience been like that for you? What about going into the Press business has been rewarding, and what has been more challenging?
This is one of the most rewarding, important, and scary accomplishments in my life. I have no idea what I’m doing. I’ve always just been on the review side of things. I had dreamt about putting out other people’s poetry, but never thought it made sense until last year. Our daily readership went up faster than I could have ever imagined, and it just felt right. Holding a submission period, and knowing that people – without the use of Submittable – were actually sending me their words was jaw-dropping. I never expected to get submissions. I had over 75 in a month. It was such a validation of what I’d been working toward, and so humbling to know that so many would trust us with their manuscripts. We are just a few weeks from the release date (Jan 15) for both Jennifer Roche and Van G. Garrett’s respective books, The Synonym Tables, and SCRAP. They have been so kind as I stumble through this process. Can’t wait to see what happens!
I’d like to know more about the Power of Poetry section of the site. What about this section really has been a huge help with especially younger writers to understand how to be an effective writer, and how you can work at your craft to expand even when it seems the writing world is against you?
Isn’t the writing world always against us? Look, the reality is that we a lot of us started as bedroom poets and writers. We wrote middle school novels and song lyrics and poetry and tried to either hide it from everyone or share it with the world. But those words meant everything to us. They were our therapy. Fortunately, it is still our therapy. But that looks so different for everyone, and I wanted to hear their stories. I wanted everyone to hear their stories. I don’t really know if there’s an “effective writer.” I think there is an effectiveness in everything we put down on paper. It might not resonate with everyone, but it may change someone’s life.
This has been a challenging year for everyone, and I’m sure for you this hasn’t been an exception. During such a year of darkness, where have you found the small beams of light that has given you a creative uplift for your ideas with TPQ?
This is a softball question. I sign into my twitter account every day, and I get to read the works of hundreds of poets each week. I get to ask “How will you Poetry today” and hope that maybe that will remind someone to write or submit or edit or read or share or whatever they can do to spread the word of Small Press Poetry. I get to be the bullhorn for poets who might not have an outlet to share their work. That’s one hell of a beam of light.
Please give us more info on how to reach your site, your social media, what one needs to do to submit to the Poetry Question for a review of their new book & more. Also, when do you expect your first chapbooks to be released, any hints on what to expect from these?
Everyone can find us at thepoetryquestion.com. If you’re interested in submitting a book for review, there is a link provided on the site. We don’t get through everything that comes our way, but we work hard to review all that we can. The first two chapbooks will be released on January 15th, 2021. Jennifer Roche’s The Synonym Tables tackles the changing of language over the last 75 years. With a deep focus on our current world issues, this one feels more poignant now more than ever. Van G. Garrett’s SCRAP takes you round by round through perseverance and the art of survival. He is a legend, and I am blown away that he was ever interested in submitting to TPQ.
Any shout outs you’d like to give to any poets, small press, co-workers with TPQ?
This is a tricky one for me as there are so many poets and presses I’d love to shout out. Here are a few poets to keep in your sights: Chris Butler, Taylor Byas, Beth Gordon, Danielle Rose, and Jason Crawford are all beyond inspiring right now.
Chris Margolin is the founder and EiC of The Poetry Question, the only site in the world to focussolely on small press and self-published poetry reviews. Beyond his work in poetry he hastaught high school and middle school English for almost 20 years. He lives in Vancouver,Washington with his wife, daughter, two dogs, and seven chickens
So, yeah I’ve got Generalized Anxiety Disorder. It is something that is an everyday battle between all possible anxiety one can have at any given point.
With this post I would like to begin to share some of my poetry writings. I have written about Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD for short).
Every day is a new adventure. Will today be depression, calmness, fun, claustrophobic ending in several panic attacks, OCD, Overwhelming leading to embarrassing anger spurts, crying from the smallest memories entering my head? The feeling of loss at all times, disappointments, always trying to make good on something you might have done when younger, and always looking for apologies or apologizing yourself. Looking for acceptance, then being a loner, wanting someone around to comfort you, then feeling like an alien.
I am in constant fear. Fear those I love are going to get hurt at any given moment. The scenarios constantly play in your head.
So, i’m guessing no one would be surprised that I’ve had numerous “small to rather serious nervous breakdowns” throughout the years.
I’ve had these moments since I was a child, I would try to mask away all of the fears and emotions with overindulging, overcompensated, overanalyzing, just overdoing it!
There has been breaking moments as a child (when I realized that everyone eventually dies), at 18 when I lost my last 2 grandparents, and then subsequently leaving College after only a couple of months.
There have been moments at 24/25, 29 after a dramatic episode that left me with PTSD in which I was taken advantage of, harassed, and forced by threats of violence by an unbalanced woman.
Again, in my early 30’s adjusting to not living alone after 12 years of doing so when I got married.
Then the fears of becoming a father, and learning to be a good husband.
At 36 I lost my father to ALS, My body was numb for months for long periods of time. I fell into some old habits, and had to re-evaluate how to be a human again.
Then just recently in the last few weeks at 39. The seasonal depression, the overbearing Social Anxiety that has gotten worse as of late, the memories of my father, financial worries, possible pending medical dilemmas have broken my mind once again. The holiday season is a hard one to digest, my father’s birthday is in December, I lost him on Christmas night 3 years ago.
So in the moments I can escape to watch my children smile, look at my beautiful wife, watch a wrestling match or basketball game, listen to some Comedy Podcasts, and of course writing. These are what I life for when everything else feels like an everyday prison hovering over your bones.
Riding blind like a trapped voice
Stuck to the corners –
of the echoed walls
The Blue waves of light-
travels through my visual acuity
Swallowing all the memories,
what was easy?
I cannot forget however –
the ripping of my flesh,
Like night over day
To reveal anxiety dances –
on the nerve pores
I can remember
everything that you wish –
And books and letters and the corners of my mind where music stood at corners
As if there is such a thing as too poetic or too musical or too big of a fedora stuffed with first
notes and last notes and echo notes and silent notes and end-notes
Left behind by no crowd and all crowds and crowded crowds and invisible crowds
Maybe there is and
maybe there is not but the double f alliteration that rhymes with clef and marches next together
in fell and fedora
Almost made me laugh
But I didn’t
One more time my notes that smelled of music and sadness and grief and crescendos and
whole notes and half notes and
scribbled idea notes on napkins and marble slabs and cocktail umbrellas and gray matter
Not of a million fingerprints on faded dollars left in hats and boxes and musty violin cases
I hummed a dirge
of faded songs
That made no one laugh
left my fedora empty
Amy Barnes has words at a variety of publications including McSweeney’s, Parabola, Detritus Online, Guideposts, The New Southern Fugitives, Gnashing Teeth Anthology, FlashBack Fiction, Flash Fiction Magazine and Maria at Sampaguitas. She is a reader for CRAFT and Narratively and Associate CNF Editor for Barren Magazine.