Category Archives: Interviews

Dan Chaon

The stories in this collection were written over a span of a decade but the connections are strong and clear. What was it about these nightmare tales that kept you coming back to write more?

I knew early on that I eventually wanted to publish a collection of ghost stories. I came up with the idea after I published “The Bees” in 2003, and so every once in a while I’d try my hand at a piece, in between working on a novel.

But honestly, I didn’t realize how strong the connections were until I sat down to put all the stories together and see if I had enough for a collection. Then I was actually a bit alarmed to notice how many repetitions and recurring images there were—wow, I thought, I sure am obsessive! Continue reading

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Stacie Leatherman

An Interview

Your first two poetry collections, Stranger Air and Storm Crop, were published within weeks of each other earlier this year. What were some of the personal and professional challenges you faced due to this coincidence, and have any hidden blessings resulted from their simultaneous release?

Luckily, there weren’t any challenges. The fact that they were published so close together was purely coincidental. I had written the first manuscript as my creative thesis at the Vermont College of Fine Arts, and as soon as I finished it, I began the second book. Storm Crop, my second book, came together relatively quickly. I knew the formal structure that I wanted, the abecedarium, and everything I was beginning to articulate in my first manuscript was carried out more fully, but in a very different way, in the second. It simply took a bit longer to find a publisher for the first manuscript, and its publication date was pushed back a little. So the second book followed closely on its heels because of that circumstance. The blessings aren’t so hidden: I had two books published, so I can hardly complain about that. I guess the only other thing I could mention was my paranoia that my readers would get the publication order confused. I was very set on my books being viewed as a progression of thought, idea, and form.… Continue Reading

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Featured Writer: Sandy Longhorn

What brought you to the writing life?

I suppose I was born to the writing life.  I’m the youngest of three girls, but we were all born very close together, leading me to often want to do things that weren’t quite age appropriate.  While my sisters got to go and do all the ‘big girl’ things, I was left to observe and cultivate a sense of being an outsider looking in.  That identity stuck with me even after I became a ‘big girl’ myself.  Combine that with a love of reading and the writing naturally followed.  Also, without being academically minded, our parents instilled us with a sense of curiosity and the ability to self-educate.  We had a set of the World Book Encyclopedia from the early 70’s and whenever I pestered my mother with a question about this or that, she sent me to the World Books.  I still remember spending endless hours flipping through those crisp pages. Continue reading

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Featured Writer: Matt Dennison

Reading a Matt Dennison poem is often like seeing a new star appear in the sky—so much energy and light, even in the darkest pieces. Tell us about the creative process from your point of view.

“I write a little every day, without hope, without despair..”
—Isak Dinesen

One way to begin is to stick your hands in the memory lake, feel around until you touch something gliding past, feel for it again, wait until you have some kind of a grip, then start pulling—some pieces pull straight out, close to being fully formed; others will need a huge amount of straightening once on dry land.  Either way, if it’s covered with music it’s the real thing and a place to begin. Continue reading

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Interview: Callista Buchen

Your poem has an historical feel to it, as if it could be about “real” people and incidents. Can you comment on that relationship between poetry and “ real life”?

As reader, I’m not very interested in distinguishing between art and “real life,” or uncovering how “real life” informs a piece of writing. “Reality,” or what we define as real, is still necessarily a kind construction.

Good art, good writing, can create its own life, one that is just as real. I think the job of poetry is to locate and unravel truth, to question and change the very nature of reality and how we understand it. As a poet, I want to work on poetry that is first concerned with this truth, and I hope that in some way, regardless of any connection to “real life,” it always feels real and relevant. Continue reading

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