Archive for Angele Ellis

6/14 Pittsburgh in Poems and Pictures: Clever, Ellis, Walicki @ Coffee Buddha

Posted in Events with tags , , , , , on June 6, 2018 by 6GPress

7PM  THURSDAY…

Join Rebecca, Angele, & Bob for an evening of poetry that goes to the heart of the Pittsburgh experience–along with an exhibit of Rebecca’s striking photographic prints & an Open Mic for local poets! Coffee Buddha is one of the coolest venues in da Burgh. Both books & photos will be on sale during the event, & will be available afterward at Coffee Buddha.
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Over the past two decades, REBECCA CLEVER has served as a reporter, newspaper editor, columnist, promotional and technical writer, book editor/designer, and photographer. Her poetry, nonfiction, interviews and pictures have been published in various newspapers, literary journals, books and anthologies. She is a past recipient of the Laurie Mansell Reich poetry award, co-sponsored by the Academy of American Poets and Chatham University; she was the recipient of a residency fellowship at the Vermont Studio Center, and she has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and the AWP Intro Journals Project. Rebecca received her MFA in Creative Writing from Chatham in 2011, where she was a finalist for best thesis. She resides in the North Hills with her partner, Theresa, their children, and nine pets.

ANGELE ELLIS’s most recent book, Under the Kaufmann’s Clock: Fiction, Poems, and Photographs of Pittsburgh, with photos by Rebecca Clever (Six Gallery Press), is a hybrid valentine to her adopted city—where her winning haiku appeared on the Harris Theater marquee after Pittsburgh Filmmakers’ G-20 Haiku Contest. A longtime editor and community activist, she also is author of Spared (A Main Street Rag Editors’ Choice Chapbook) and Arab on Radar (Six Gallery), whose poems won her a fellowship from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts. Angele is a contributing editor to Al Jadid Magazine; her poetry, fiction, and reviews have appeared in 75 journals and anthologies.

ROBERT WALICKI’s work has appeared in over 50 journals, including Pittsburgh City Paper, Fourth River, Stone Highway Review, and Red River Review. A Pushcart and a Best of The Net nominee, Robert has published two chapbooks: A Room Full of Trees (Red Bird Chapbooks, 2014) and The Almost Sound of Snow Falling (Night Ballet Press), which was nominated to the 2016 List of Books for New York City’s Poets House. His first full-length collection, Black Angels, is forthcoming from Six Gallery Press.

 

5/19 Launch Party: Ava C. Cipri (feat. Ellis, Khoury, Cramer) @ Irma Freeman Center

Posted in Events with tags , , , , , , on May 16, 2018 by 6GPress

6PM SATURDAY…

Join us for the launch of Ava Anne C. Cipri‘s LEAVING THE BURDENED GROUND (Stranded Oak Press 2018)!

Angele Ellis and Jill Khoury will open. Tattoo artist Jessi Sundell Cramer (Curiosity Shop) will sell artwork.

Coffee, light refreshments, and temporary cover-art tattoos provided! BYOB.

*Live-streamed on FB (Stranded Oak Press) + IG (@strandedoakpress)

Can’t make it? PRE-ORDER here: https://t.co/0QoBCSwjeH

***

“LEAVING THE BURDENED GROUND is full of beautiful swerves and illuminating contradictions.” Chen Chen, author of WHEN I GROW UP I WANT TO BE A LIST OF FURTHER POSSIBILITIES

“A fierce and loving book.” Jan Beatty, author of JACKKNIFE

“Her truth is written and the world is splitting open.” Jennifer Jackson Berry, author of THE FEEDER

***

Formerly an editor for Salt Hill, AVA C. CIPRI is a poetry editor for The Deaf Poets Society: An Online Journal of Disability Literature & Art. She teaches writing at Duquesne University and is a Pushcart and Best of the Net nominee. Ava’s poetry appears or is forthcoming in Cimarron, decomP, Rust + Moth, Stirring’s Manticore: Hybrid Writing from Hybrid Identities anthology, and PROSODY: NPR-affliate WESA’s weekly show featuring the work of national writers. Her first chapbook, Queen of Swords, was published by dancing girl press (2018). She resides at: www.avaccipri.com and tweets at @AvaCCipri.

ANGELE ELLIS’s latest book is a hybrid valentine to her adopted city—Under the Kaufmann’s Clock: Fiction, Poems, and Photographs of Pittsburgh, with photos by Rebecca Clever (Six Gallery Press). She also is author of Spared (A Main Street Rag Editors’ Choice Chapbook), and Arab on Radar (Six Gallery), whose poems won her a fellowship from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts. A longtime editor and community activist, Angele’s work has appeared in over seventy-five publications. She is a contributing editor of book and film reviews to Al Jadid Magazine.

JILL KHOURY is interested in the intersection of poetry, visual art, gender, and disability. She holds an MFA from The Ohio State University and edits Rogue Agent, a journal of embodied poetry and art. She has written two chapbooks—Borrowed Bodies (Pudding House, 2009) and Chance Operations (Paper Nautilus, 2016). Her debut full-length collection, Suites for the Modern Dancer, was released in 2016 from Sundress Publications. Find her on the web at jillkhoury.com.

3/23 & 4/13 Pittsburgh Poets Rock the Apollo 2 @ Apollo Memorial Library

Posted in Events with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 11, 2018 by 6GPress

Two readings by Pittsburgh poets at the Apollo Memorial Library, each featuring four poets and a mid-reading OPEN MIC for local poets! FREE!!

**FRIDAY, MARCH 23**

A seventh-generation Pittsburgher, JAY CARSON taught creative writing, literature, and rhetoric at Robert Morris University, where he was a faculty advisor to the student literary journal, Rune. He has published more than 100 poems in national literary and professional journals, magazines, and anthologies. Jay published a chapbook, Irish Coffee, with Coal Hill Review and a longer book of his poems, The Cinnamon of Desire, with Main Street Rag. He considers his work Appalachian, Irish, accessible, the problem-solving spiritual survival of a raging, youth—and just what you might need.

BRI GRIFFITH studies Creative Writing at Carlow University, where she’s a proud member of the Madwomen in the Attic. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Pittsburgh Poetry Review, Alien Mouth, Rogue Agent, Maudlin House, and Pittsburgh City Paper’s online feature Chapter & Verse.

SHARON FAGAN McDERMOTT is a poet, musician, and literature teacher at Winchester Thurston School in Pittsburgh. Her poems have appeared in Poet Lore, Prairie Schooner, West Branch, and Slipstream, among other journals, and in numerous anthologies, including Common Wealth: Contemporary Poets on Pennsylvania (Penn State University Press) and A Fine Excess: Contemporary Literature at Play (Sarabande Books). She has received a PA Council on the Arts Grant, a Pittsburgh Foundation Artist Award, and a Pushcart Prize nomination. Her most recent chapbook, Bitter Acoustic, was selected by poet Betty Adcock as the winner of the 2011 Jacar Press chapbook contest.

ROBERT WALICKI’s work has appeared in over 50 journals, including Pittsburgh City Paper, Fourth River, Stone Highway Review, and Red River Review. A Pushcart and a Best of The Net nominee, Robert has published two chapbooks: A Room Full of Trees (Red Bird Chapbooks, 2014) and The Almost Sound of Snow Falling (Night Ballet Press), which was nominated to the 2016 List of Books for New York City’s Poets House. His first full-length collection, Black Angels, is forthcoming from Six Gallery Press.

**FRIDAY, APRIL 13**

DANIELA BUCCILLI’s poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in Rogue Agent, Cimarron Review, Pittsburgh Poetry Review, Paterson Literary Review, U.S. Worksheets 1, Free State Review, Quail Bell.com, and Italian Americana. She holds an MFA in fiction from Pitt, and is currently working on a poetry MFA at Carlow. She is a member of The Madwomen in the Attic workshops, and teaches public high school outside of Pittsburgh. Her poetry manuscript All She Is Willing has been short-listed in a few contests, but, alas, has not been published. Nonetheless, she persists.

Over the past two decades, REBECCA CLEVER has served as a reporter, newspaper editor, columnist, promotional and technical writer, book editor/designer and photographer. Her poetry, nonfiction, interviews and pictures have been published in various newspapers, literary journals, books and anthologies. She is a past recipient of the Laurie Mansell Reich poetry award, co-sponsored by the Academy of American Poets and Chatham University; she was the recipient of a residency fellowship at the Vermont Studio Center, and she has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and the AWP Intro Journals Project. Rebecca received her MFA in Creative Writing from Chatham in 2011, where she was a finalist for best thesis. She resides in the Greater Pittsburgh area with her partner, Theresa, their children, and nine pets.

ANGELE ELLIS’s most recent book, Under the Kaufmann’s Clock: Fiction, Poems, and Photographs of Pittsburgh, with photos by Rebecca Clever (Six Gallery Press), is a hybrid valentine to her adopted city. A longtime editor and community activist, she also is the author of Spared (A Main Street Rag Editors’ Choice Chapbook) and Arab on Radar (Six Gallery), whose poems won her a fellowship from the PA Council on the Arts. Angele is a contributing editor to Al Jadid Magazine; her poetry, fiction, and reviews have appeared in 75 journals and anthologies. Her latest manuscript, Fallout Shelter, was a first-round finalist in the 2017 Two Sylvias Chapbook Contest.

LISA PANEPINTO is the author of On This Borrowed Bike (Three Rooms Press) and Poetry Editor for Cabildo Quarterly, a literary broadside and online journal.

3/10 Scott Pyle’s Seeking Fire Book Launch & Poetry Reading Party @ Irma Freeman Center

Posted in Events, New Releases with tags , , , , , , , , , on March 1, 2018 by 6GPress

Don Wentworth says…

Saturday, March 10th, there will be a Book Launch/Reading Party for the release of Scott Pyle’s second book of haiku, Seeking Fire. The reading will take place at the Irma Freeman Center for Imagination on Penn Avenue in Garfield and will run from 7 to 9 pm. Seven Pittsburgh poets, including myself, will be helping Scott celebrate.
Many of you know Scott – he is an ex-librarian, formerly of the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, who is now a full-time Pittsburgh firefighter. His new career has greatly influenced his second full-length collection of work, both in theme and subject, and I’m excited to say it builds on the approach and success of his first book.
Books will be available for purchase and signing from Scott, as well as the other poets participating at the reading. Refreshments will be supplied – beer, wine, bottled water and a mix of covered dishes and finger foods. Admission is $5 at the door or a covered dish (which broadly includes bags of chips, sweets etc.)
If you are free that evening and interested, we hope to see you there.

2/15 Low Ghost Press Love-In @ Brillobox

Posted in Events, New Releases with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 1, 2018 by 6GPress

8PM THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 15…

In these dark times we could all use a little more love.

Join Low Ghost Press as we celebrate the publication of ‘Unconditional Surrender: An Anthology of Love Poems’ featuring readings by Angele Ellis, Robert Walicki, Jen Ashburn, Don Wentworth, Stephanie Brea, Sheila Carter-Jones, Richard Gegick, Dave Newman, Lori Jakiela, Bob Pajich, Jason Baldinger, Meghan Tutolo, Bart Solarczyk, and Nancy Krygowski.

Poets will also be deejaying their favorite tunes.

Come dance to the poems & groove to the poetry of pop!!

This event is FREE.

We’ll be taking up a collection for Planned Parenthood of Western PA during the event.

1/25 After Happy Hour Review Belated Release Party @ Glitter Box

Posted in Events, Recent Publications with tags , , , , , , , , , , on January 19, 2018 by 6GPress

7PM THURSDAY…

Join After Happy Hour Review and friends as we celebrate the release of our eighth issue with writers from the newly released journal, from our writing workshop, and from the greater Pittsburgh Writing Community, and you!

Beer has been generously donated by Alpine Beer Company. We’ll also bring some potluck style snacks.The event is free, though we suggest a donation of $5–this helps us to pay for our website domain, submittable, etc.

A bit more on our readers:

William Repass:

William Repass lives in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and works as a projectionist and film librarian. His work has appeared in, or is forthcoming from, Bennington Review, Denver Quarterly, Hobart, Small Po[r]tions, and elsewhere.

Emily Kiernan:

Emily Kiernan is the author of a novel, Great Divide (Unsolicited Press). Her work has appeared in American Short Fiction, Pank, The Collagist, Redivider, and other journals. She is a prose editor at Noemi Press and a fiction editor at Rivet: The Journal of Writing that Risks. More information can be found at emilykiernan.com.

Angele Ellis:

Angele Ellis’s latest book, Under the Kaufmann’s Clock: Fiction, Poems, and Photographs of Pittsburgh, with photos by Rebecca Clever (Six Gallery Press), is a hybrid bloody valentine to her adopted city. She also is author of Spared (A Main Street Rag Editors’ Choice Chapbook) and Arab on Radar (Six Gallery), whose poems won her a fellowship from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts. She is a contributing editor to Al Jadid Magazine.

John Menesini:

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.

Tom Sweterlitsch:

Tom Sweterlitsch was born in Iowa and grew up in Ohio. His first novel, Tomorrow and Tomorrow was published in 2014. He has co-written several short films with Director Neill Blomkamp for Oats Studios including Rakka, Firebase, and Zygote. Before becoming a writer, he worked for the Carnegie Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped for twelve years. His new novel, The Gone World, is due out in February from Putnam Books. Tom lives in Pittsburgh with his wife and daughter.

 

Books of 2017

Posted in New Releases, Recent Publications with tags , , , , , , , , , , on December 31, 2017 by 6GPress

Here they all are, albeit blurrier than IRL. Available wherever they are sold (the authors, your local bookmonger or library, an evil, horrifying corporate leviathan, etc.). The ones I edited & laid out all have “man” in the title & the ones Mark Spitzer did all have “ar” & “la”.

Here they are again, in order of release, w/ better pics:

Thanks for reading & see ya next year!

12/16 Holiday Book Sale Redux @ Irma Freeman Center for Imagination

Posted in Events, New Releases with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 10, 2017 by 6GPress

12-5PM SATURDAY…

Join us for a SECOND CHANCE to browse great books from Pittsburgh authors, publishers, and booksellers.

SATURDAY, December 16th
12-5pm
Irma Freeman Center for the Imagination
5006 Penn Avenue
Penn Avenue Arts District
Free admission
Street parking

Confirmed vendors so far:

Air & Nothingness Press
Hyacinth Girl Press
Lilliput Review
Karen’s Book Row–with many books from Pittsburgh publishers!
Six Gallery Press
Very Important Books–fiction & zines
Authors signing books!

I’ll be sharing a table w/ Don Wentworth at this, so visit us for all your Six Gallery Press & Lilliput Review needs. Pictured are Manual for Wayward Angels by Jessica Fenlon, the Low Ghost love poem anthology Unconditional Surrender, & Muskrat Friday Dinner by Scott Silsbe, three great books from 2017 (I’ve at least skimmed the other ones & strongly suspect they’re also pretty good). The latest Six Gallery titles Viva Arletty! by Mark Spitzer & Arkansas Ghoulash by Scotty Lewis, Manchild by Alan Olifson, & Under the Kaufmann’s Clock by Angele Ellis w/ photos by Rebecca Clever, will be available too, along w/ selections from the back catalog by Ally Malinenko, Chuck Kinder, Elwin Cotman, Jason Baldinger, John Grochalski, Victor Navarro, book sale organizer Karen Lillis, & more.

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

11/9 Nasty Women & Bad Hombres Book Release Party feat. Angele Ellis & Don Wentworth @ Tiki Lounge

Posted in Events, Recent Publications with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 5, 2017 by 6GPress

7PM TONIGHT…

Join us in the highly anticipated Book Release celebration of Nasty Women & Bad Hombres: A Poetry Anthology, featuring 92 poets from across the U.S. responding to the first year of Trumpiness. This free event features 20 poets! Join us on Thursday, November 9, 2017 at 7pm at South Side’s literary mecca, the Tiki Lounge (2003 East Carson St., 15203). Can’t make it? Books will be available via Amazon and fine local bookstores. Special book price for the evening is $15 – though the event is free.
Nasty Women & Bad Hombres was edited by Deena November and Nina Padolf, and published by Lascaux Editions (Bob Ziller, Editor) cover by Vanessa German.

Reading lineup includes:

Susan Truxell Sauter
Jan Beatty
Sheena Carroll
Lainey Carslaw
Christine Telfer
Angele Ellis
Cameron Barnett
Don Wentworth
Justin Vicari
Joan Bauer
Kayla Sargeson
Ellen Mcgrath Smith
Bri Griffith
Bob Walicki
Angela Gaito-Lagnese
John Stupp
Daniel Shapiro
John Lawson
Kathleen Furbee
Sarah Williams-Devereux
Ann Curran
Madalyn Hochendoner
Leslie McIlroy

More details to be announced…

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.