Archive for the Interviews Category

12/17 Viva Arletty! & Arkansas Ghoulash launch @ White Whale + Bah Humbug 4 @ Brillobox

Posted in Events, Interviews, New Releases with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 7, 2017 by 6GPress

SUNDAY, DECEMBER 17…

Two new books & two readings! The Ghost of Literature Present will pay a terrifying visit today!

6PM at White Whale in Bloomfield, welcome two writers from Arkansas to Pittsburgh (& welcome their books to your noodle by buying & reading them, too). Free readings & refreshments, possibly including actual goulash.

Scotty Lewis, a 2015 graduate of the Arkansas Writers MFA Program, is debuting his first book of poetry, Arkansas Ghoulash.

Here’s an interview w/ Scotty talking about the book, & here’s another one.

Mark Spitzer, novelist, poet, essayist and literary translator, grew up in Minneapolis where he earned his Bachelor’s degree at the University of Minnesota in 1990. He then moved to the Rockies, where he earned his Master’s in Creative Writing from the University of Colorado. After living on the road for some time, he found himself in Paris, as Writer in Residence for three years at the bohemian bookstore Shakespeare and Company, where he translated French criminals and misanthropes. In 1997 he moved to Louisiana, became Assistant Editor of the legendary lit journal Exquisite Corpse, and earned an MFA from Louisiana State University. He taught creative writing and lit for five years at Truman State University and is now an associate professor of creative writing at the University of Central Arkansas.

Alan Olifson is an award-winning humor columnist, public radio commentator, comedian and regular host of Pittsburgh’s monthly Moth StorySLAMs. He created the acclaimed storytelling series WordPlay in his hometown of Los Angeles which he now produces in Pittsburgh along with Bricolage Production Company as part of their regular season. He’s hosted storytelling events for conferences, schools and, believe it or not, bridal showers. His book, Manchild: My Life Without Adult Supervision, is now out on Six Gallery Press. Alan relocated to Pittsburgh with his wife and two children years ago but never tires of hearing people complain about “traffic.”

Angele Ellis is the author of Arab on Radar (Six Gallery), Spared (A Main Street Rag Editors’ Choice Chapbook), Under the Kaufmann’s Clock: Fiction, Poems, and Photographs of Pittsburgh with photos by Rebecca Clever (Six Gallery), and co-author of the diversity workbook Dealing With Differences (Corwin). A 2008 recipient of an Individual Creative Artist fellowship in poetry from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, she was a prizewinner in the 2007 RAWI Competition for Creative Prose and first runner-up in the 2012 Grey Sparrow Flash Fiction Contest. Angele’s reviews, poetry, and fiction have appeared in nearly sixty publications and fourteen anthologies. She is a contributing editor to Al Jadid Magazine.

John Thomas Menesini is the author of The Last Great Glass Meat Million (Six Gallery Press, 2003), e pit ap h (Convergence, 2007), endo: Poems & Sketches 2007 – 2011 (Six Gallery Press, 2011), and Gloom Hearts & Opioids (Six Gallery Press, 2015). His poems have appeared in numerous publications in Ireland, Scotland, England, and the US, thus garnering dozens of fans across the globe.

Rick Claypool grew up in a small town in western Pennsylvania called Leechburg, but he currently lives in Pittsburgh. By day he works for Public Citizen, a nonprofit organization that fights corporate power. Leech Girl Lives (Spaceboy Books, 2017) is his first novel.

At 8PM, head over to Brillobox for Bah Humbug 4: Writers (Still) Wrestle the Holiday Spirit…

Tastier than a fruitcake, easier to assemble than a Fisher Price playhouse, for the FOURTH year in a row, we are bringing some of Pittsburgh’s finest writers together to entertain you with tales of their holiday work experiences.

$5 suggested donation, proceeds benefit the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank.

The readers will channel their inner-Sedaris, and offer up tales from their time as food service employees, retail workers, and other assorted time-card punchers during the bleak months of November and December. They will attempt to locate their hoilday spirit. Or THE holiday spirits (aka, Jim, Jack and maybe even Johnny).

Just like signing the group birthday card or buying overpriced crap from your co-worker’s kid’s school fundraiser, UGLY HOLIDAY SWEATERS STRONGLY ENCOURAGED.

Hosted by Jason Baldinger (who was once run over by a Black Friday crowd on a rampage for office supplies), and Stephanie Brea (who probably stole that art book she gave you for Christmas in 2001).

The Lineup:

Becky Corrigan
Angele Ellis
Rich Gegick
Lori Jakiela
Andrea Laurion
Deesha Philyaw
Meghan Tutolo
Matt Ussia
Bob Walicki

When The Wizard of Oz Breaks Out into a Gun Battle: An Interview with Scotty Lewis, Author of Arkansas Ghoulash

Posted in Events, Interviews, New Releases with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 28, 2017 by 6GPress

Mark Spitzer says,

Hey, my grad students in poetry just did a kick-ass interview with Scotty on his book.

& here it is. Mark & Scotty will read from their new books Sunday, December 17th at White Whale Bookstore in Bloomfield, along with locals Alan Olifson, Angele Ellis, John Menesini, & Rick Claypool.

When The Wizard of Oz Breaks Out into a Gun Battle:

An Interview with Scotty Lewis, Author of Arkansas Ghoulash

By Drew Cook, Énbarr Coleman, Callie Smith, Briget Laskowski, JJ McNiece, and Mikayla Davis

 

Scotty Lewis, a lecturer in Writing at the University of Central Arkansas, was recently featured at the Faulkner County Library in Conway for a “Debut-Break-Out-Book-Readin-Book-Signin Bonanza.” Hot off the press from Six Gallery Press in Pittsburgh, Arkansas Ghoulash is his first book, and it wasn’t an easy story to tell. On one hand, the narrative revolves around a tragic act of domestic violence; but on the other, it is a daring and complex epic poem in the postmodern tradition that relies on lyrical flashes from a highly unnatural “natural state.” After a dramatic reading that blew his audience away, Lewis responded to questions—an opportunity that graduate students in Creative Writing from the Arkansas Writers MFA Workshop conveniently exploited:

Drew Cook: One of things you do in Arkansas Ghoulash is you take established forms and then you kind of collage them together so they’re not visually recognizable and all that’s left is the music. It’s really a high Modernist approach. I’m interested in how you arrived at that strategy, and if there were any difficulties and advantages in doing so.

Scotty Lewis: There are a lot of things that make poetry good or bad but one of the key things is music. Do I like improvisation? Of course. We like jazz but we also like form. The best improvisation realizes that there’s form, and it breaks it. The best improvisation realizes form. In a way this caused major difficulties because I might have preferred a straight narrative, but I don’t know if it would have worked that way. Emotionally, it was hard for me to do even as abstract as it is. If I turned this into a very straightforward story, I don’t know that I could have done it. Playing with the music of it, playing with the feeling of it, being able to be lyrical in different ways… it helped me capture the feel of it.

Énbarr Coleman: What stuck out most to me was the mention of the Berlin Wall because I noticed that you had a lot of these violent images, a lot of nature, and also soft and gentle stuff. Then suddenly you’ve got the Berlin Wall and things of that nature thrown in. In my opinion, it went from this very local poem to much grander, much more international. I was curious to hear your thoughts on that.

Lewis: There were several markers. The Berlin Wall is in there. Tiananmen Square is in there. There are a few big events of the time that were in there. If you go through the book, there are about seven or eight of those in there. Part of those are to mark time. This is the era that we’re talking about. This is the time we’re talking about. This poem jumps around a lot. Even tonight—and I didn’t want to stop and indicate necessarily because it would have broken up the rhythm of it—but there are places in the part I read tonight that weren’t necessarily sticking to one timeline. Those markers were put in there to anchor the reader in a certain time. They were also in there not only to give a sense of the violence that was taking place and erupting in my household, but also that was erupting around the world. The two things may not be related really, but they seem related. I mean, I grew up in the 1980s, so I certainly didn’t grow up with a cell phone, but I did grow up with a television. I did grow up with a Commodore 64. I grew up with enough technology to always be in touch with what was going on in the world. So I don’t think there is such a thing as living a completely local life anymore.

Callie Smith: The epic form of Arkansas Ghoulash is unusual in contemporary poetry—you don’t see that much. How did you decide on writing in this epic form? What were the challenges and what did it buy you?

Lewis: That’s such an interesting question. While it is the length of an epic, I think I really fell short on a lot of the other elements, but I did sort of want to include some aspects of the epic while writing it. I do think, in a sense, there is a journey to the underworld and an attempt, at least, to come back. So what inspired me to do that? I don’t know, but my favorite epic poem is The Odyssey, which I refer to in the poem. And I knew I wasn’t going to be able to do it in short form. I didn’t want to do it as necessarily sixty poems about the same event. I thought it needed space to grow . . . But I was also keeping a lot of different forms in mind. Within the text, there are places where sonnets, blank verse, where American haiku is hidden—where a lot of smaller forms are actually talking back and forth to each other.

JJ McNiece: I felt a hyperpolarization with your imagery as you read. On one end: brutal, severe violence. On the other: soft, sweet calm. It seemed that the beginning displayed more of the brutal imagery, while the images during the violent event itself were often softer, though interspersed with the brutal. At the end, I felt the imagery gravitated almost exclusively toward that sweet, softer side. I’m curious what your conscious decisions are with imagery and language as you’re going through this? What are you trying to accomplish?

Lewis: I was trying to accomplish a balance. If this is going to be genuine, I don’t think I can gloss over the violence. This was a very violent incident. So, even the things surrounding it, even the consciousness of the narrator while he looks into other things—simple things—notices violence more, even in the landscape. I hope, too, that there are softer parts. I don’t know that I made a conscious decision to polarize those things, but both exist. Do I decide to make softer images? I do, but I don’t know that I think about it that much. I try to make a pretty image now and then. I like to make images. I think it’s a stronger suit of my poetry.

Briget Laskowski: My question deals with images, particularly the images you have on page 63 and 64 where you use the Tin Man image. In fact you even take his words, “Just because I’m presumin’ / That I could be a human / If I only had a heart,” and then on page 64 you have Mickey Mouse, Goofy, and Donald Duck. What were you attempting to communicate using these images?

Lewis: Those were domestic images. I wanted to make sure people understood what those images were about. It was very close, very in the home. It was The Wizard of Oz breaking out into a gunfight. It was Loony Tunes in a certain sense. I was fifteen years old. I was really just crawling into adolescence . . . I felt like a child. So I wanted to make sure that things we associated with children like Mickey Mouse and The Wizard of Oz were there. Another reason for The Wizard of Oz specifically, was the year this happened my brother was extremely talented, very handsome, and he was beginning his acting career, and his acting career launched off partially from his acting in plays at our school. Probably his biggest role was as the Tin Man in The Wizard of Oz. Actually, in the yearbook for the next year there was a full page spread of my brother as the Tin Man.

Mikayla Davis: Many of your poems use natural imagery juxtaposed with very human, sometimes even mechanical imagery, so I was wondering what purpose you see that relationship playing in your poems? And what is humanity’s position in relationship with nature, for you?

Lewis: I think we’re way past being romantics about it. I think that would be disingenuous. I think that would be a lie. I love nature. I love going out. I love to fish, I love to hike. Those of you who know me know I love to be outside, but I always see it diminishing. I don’t really see our efforts to fight it as being very good or even very genuine. I mean, we’re part of nature, right? And so anything we see, if there are mechanical images mixed in with the natural—what we make is as much a part of nature as an ant making an anthill or beaver making a beaver dam. It might be more complicated in the way we do it, but we’re part of nature. We’re just one of those things in nature that really knows how to screw things up. We’re like termites. We’re going to keep eating at the tree until we kill it.

Baldinger & Wentworth podcasts, Hemingway’s recordings

Posted in Events, Interviews, New Releases with tags , , , , , , , on August 7, 2016 by 6GPress

Catching up w/ some podcasts…

Don Wentworth (whose latest collection With a Deepening Presence launched at the Irma Freeman Center last month & which you should read immediately)

& Jason Baldinger (whose next collection will launch next year somewhere & whose back catalog you should read immediately)

interviewed by Marcia Epstein at LawrenceHits.com.

& here’s Jason again, on the We’re All Gonna Die! podcast w/ Matt U.

http://www.gonnadiepodcast.com/?powerpress_pinw=267-podcast

Also, recordings of the Hemingway’s readings are all up & available to listen to, poet by poet, here.

7/23 Triple Book Launch: Ally Malinenko, Jason Irwin, & John Grochalski @ EEBX

Posted in Events, Interviews, New Releases with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 19, 2016 by 6GPress

7PM THIS SATURDAY…

Low Ghost Press & Six Gallery Press are hosting a sizzling summer book party! Join us for a triple launch for Ally Malinenko’s ‘Better Luck Next Year’ (Low Ghost Press), Jason Irwin’s ‘A Blister of Stars’ (Low Ghost Press), and John Grochalski’s ‘Wine Clerk’ (Six Gallery Press).

East End Book Exchange
Saturday, July 23
7pm
BYOB
A brief q&a will follow the reading

Yes, THREE books will be released on this historic day! If you don’t know Low Ghost, learn all about it from the man himself, Kris Collins, recently interviewed by the indispensable Littsburgh. Thanks to them for getting the word out about this, & to Joan Bauer, who boosted it on her mailing list too.

Ally’s book you can read about on her blog. It’s great.

Jason’s book you can read about on his blog. It’s also great.

Which brings us to John Grochalski & his new novel Wine Clerk, which is also great as well.

Wine Clerk front cover

Check out these blurbs, particularly the last sentence of Dave Newman’s.

Rand Wyndham knows it’s all a sham. He knows the game is rigged. Like all of us, Grochalski’s character is stealing crumbs in the spiritual and cultural void of modern America. Read this book and admit your dreams are a painful lie we’re better off without. —Jason Baldinger, author of The Lady Pittsburgh

Rand Wyndham returns in Wine Clerk, John Grochalski’s follow-up to his 2013 novel The Librarian. This time, Wyndam is working in a wine emporium, slugging it out with a motley crew familiar to anyone who’s worked on the lower rungs of the service industry. Grochalski serves up his peculiar vision of the American nightmare with a heady mix of wit and pathos, delivering a bitter dose of the everyday in all its quotidian absurdity. It’s engaging. It’s frightening. It’s funny. It’s the pitch-perfect reflection of the current inebriated state of the American monster. —Larry Duncan, author of Drunk on Ophelia

My best advice to the reading public is to buy or steal John Grochalski’s bottle of a book Wine Clerk, pop its cork, savor its fast food bouquet, hold it up in the light of a Labatt Blue sign to appreciate its bile-brown color, then guzzle the shit down like vintage Thunderbird and prepare to croak as you puke to death from disgust or wild laughter, or your brain rots and runs out your ears like zombie snot. Gentle readers, if you drink this bottle of a book you will not get into heaven. Quite simply, if you read this book and die from disgust or laughter, you are fucked. —Chuck Kinder, author of The Silver Ghost

John Grochalski’s is a line that extends back to Steinbeck and Sinclair and up through Fante and Bukowski. Wine Clerk is another brilliant evocation of how miserable the world can be and how surviving with a drink in a dive bar is our only shot at victory. Drop all the boxes in the warehouse. Run from the temp agency. If you want to understand what it means to be working poor in the richest country in the world, read Grochalski’s excellent new novel. Read everything he’s written and everything he’s going to write. —Dave Newman, author of Raymond Carver Will Not Raise Our Children

Check out Grochalski’s poem “The Wine Clerk” on his blog. Check out his Twitter, where he’s been posting lil bits of the novel. & most definitely check out East End Book Exchange next Saturday to hear John, Ally, & Jason read from their newborn works.

The New Yinzer & Poems for Jerry

Posted in Events, Interviews, Recent Publications, Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 9, 2015 by 6GPress

The New Yinzer is back with a new issue, featuring contributions by Six Gallery scribblers Jason Baldinger, Angele Ellis, John Grochalski, Chuck Kinder, Scott Silsbe, & Don Wentworth. Check it all out here.

Also, a new anthological tribute to Gerald Stern, edited by Caliban Books’ John Schulman, just dropped.

Stern will be in town NEXT TUESDAY as part of the Pittsburgh Arts & Lectures Series. Shit is FREE but you are supposed to register.

Odds & Ends, Winter 2015

Posted in Interviews, Recent Publications, Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , on March 11, 2015 by 6GPress

So far, 2015 has brought some very nice articles about/by Six Gallery scribblers:

A Film About Billy reviewed & Dan McCloskey interviewed by Rachel Mennies for PANK Magazine.

Jonathan Moody interviewed by Melody Nixon for The Common.

Elwin Cotman writes about (sometimes inadvertently) writing about Pittsburgh for Grist.

Ally Malinenko has been doing a lot of excellent blogging lately; this post also links to three recently-published poems.

These folks are all working on fantastic-sounding new projects, by the way. If you’re not familiar with them, check out their previous work!

Imagination Motel coming real soon…

Posted in Events, Interviews, New Releases, Recent Publications with tags , , , , , on October 6, 2014 by 6GPress

Check out the lovely cover for Imagination Motel,

IM font cover 9-30-14

& the sweet blurb on the back,

Like Invasion of the Body Snatchers, one of the many movies flickering across the ghost screens of Kinder’s haunted hotel rooms, Imagination Motel infiltrates the most American landscape and replaces it with something alien. Only rather than feeling too little, these doppelgangers feel too much; rather than becoming less human, they become all the more so. Imagination Motel is a unique piece of writing that tickled me and made me want to watch every one of those movies all over again. “There is no surprise ending,” Kinder writes. And yet, there is.
—Jacob Bacharach, author of The Bend of the World

& the fun Rege Behe article in today’s Trib about Imagination Motel All That Yellow & Friday’s book launch.

UPDATE: Short Listed.

Just to clarify re: this & the Behe article, the book is called Imagination Motel not Imagination Hotel; & Six Gallery is not now, nor ever has been, Speed & Briscoe. Maybe someday.

Anyway, come to the reading & eat popcorn! Listen to poems! Receive (but wait til you get home to use) a condom! Amazing stuff.

Don Wentworth Noise & Silence Interview

Posted in Events, Interviews with tags , , , , , , on September 26, 2014 by 6GPress

Yes, this is some old shit, but I was just clued in to it by a Joan Bauer email & Don’s book launch is tomorrow, so…

Back in the summer of 1989, I was just beginning to send poems out into the small press poetry world and heard about a little magazine that had just printed its first issue called Lilliput Review, edited by Don Wentworth.  The actual size of the magazine (4.25” X 3.5”) reflected both its name and focus.  The submission guidelines asked for poems of ten lines or less.  Curious, I sent off a buck or two and received a copy in the mail.

I’ve been reading it ever since.

Do you REALLY care about poetry? Come to the launch tomorrow! There will be NINE fucking readers, all reading briefly, so in the unlikely event you don’t like one, there will be EIGHT more, plus whatever weird booze & food people bring…

Why do you think you’re so attracted to the short form?

The story of my attraction to the short form is a simple one. I returned to writing poetry around the age of 30 for a variety of life-inspired reasons. I wrote lots of work in what was, and still is, a fairly standard free verse lyric form of 20 to 36 lines or so, some a bit shorter, some a bit longer. A close friend at the time, a musician/song writer, who was the only one paying any attention to what I was doing and who was not a poet, simply said your short stuff is your best work, the rest is crap. At the time, Rolling Stone was using very brief works as column filler in their album review section at the end of every issue and my friend urged me to send them poems. Naively, I did. And, amazingly, the work was accepted. That was the beginning.

“Interview with Small Press Legend Don Wentworth (Editor of Lilliput Review and author of Past All Traps)” by Christien Gholson, Noise & Silence

6/29 Visiting Writer Reading @ Cyberpunk Apocalypse

Posted in Events, Interviews, Recent Publications with tags , , , , , , , , on June 20, 2014 by 6GPress

This week’s City Paper has a lil piece on Julie Sokolow’s Healthy Artists project that involves A Film About Billy author Dan McCloskey.

Take Daniel McCloskey, the comics artist who runs the Lawrenceville-based Cyberpunk Apocalypse writers’ project. After a face-plant bicycle accident last fall cost McCloskey three teeth, and left him with large unpaid hospital bills, Sokolow wrote about the uninsured artist on Moore’s website. The attention helped McCloskey, 27, exceed the Kickstarter goal for his latest comics project and pay down the bills.

For the record: Dan’s latest comics project is dope, his new grill is fetching as hell & Cyberpunk Apocalypse has not been Lawrenceville-based for two years. So if you’re planning to attend, for example, this…

go to Northside, not Lawrenceville. The lineup will also include the amazing Olivia Rose Mancing.

Dana Killmeyer Brings Poetry to Las Vegas Public Buses, KNPR

Posted in Interviews with tags , on June 1, 2014 by 6GPress

Dana Killmeyer wants to bring a little culture to those riding the bus in Las Vegas. So the Masters in Fine Arts student at UNLV gets on an RTC, whether it’s the Deuce on the Strip or route 109 on Maryland Parkway, and just starts reading poetry to her fellow passengers.

KNPR

Don’t let them shatter your harmony joy ride, Dana!

Writer on Writer: Daniel McCloskey & Bradley Spinelli

Posted in Interviews with tags , , , , , on March 14, 2014 by 6GPress

The latest in Karen Lillis’ Writer on Writer interview series:

Bradley: Early on, Dan brought Billy back to life, so to speak, through the video for his funeral, yet Collin starts over. It’s obvious that you, as a writer, wanted to bring someone back to life in writing this book. Do you think it’s possible? Or did it at least help your own process of mourning, paying tribute, and moving on?

Daniel: You can’t bring someone back to life. You can’t even keep anyone alive. Everyone you know will die, and you will die. Again, that is the basic truth revealed in a suicide apocalypse.

Though I think there are certain truths humans will never stop needing to hear. We will die, love matters, greed kills, hubris makes and breaks our heroes, other people are whole other people, etc, etc. That’s why the one funeral in your book is so touching. You aren’t burying “remains” when you bury your friend. You bury part of yourself. You’re giving your idea of them a place to go.

Part 1, McCloskey Interviews Spinelli

Part 2, Spinelli Interviews McCloskey