Curtis Emery Responds To The Questionnaire!

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What is your favorite breakfast food?

I usually don’t eat breakfast, or much food before 6 p.m., but if I am not working and have money I can always go for a breakfast sandwich. On weekends I like to get this massive breakfast sandwich called “The Barnyard” from a local coffee place in Lowell, MA–it is enough food to tide me over for most of a day.

Tell us a bit about your work in REALITY BEACH.

“Earthworm Oracle (pt.II)” is a follow up poem to a piece that came out in ELDERLY earlier this summer. It is a celebration of imagination and anxiety and the chaos of projection. It, and by extension the first poem, comes from a moment of dissociation. A violent moment of beauty which forced my brain to fill in unexplored spaces in the natural world around me. I am currently obsessed with preparing a mystical narrative for my personal landscape.

“Genital Nest Bird Proxy” is moment where I am able to consider emotional landscape. I am troubleshooting sexuality, I am troubleshooting space–I am embracing queerness and the pain of discovery. Does it work? I am not sure, but maybe that is the process.

“Slow Mouth” is an experiment with language and spacing. This poem demands to be read a certain way. White space as speed bumps; assonance as lubrication. It is a part of a personal project of mine where I beg pragmatism to unlock some creative truth for me. It is ongoing.

“The Maple and I Share a Brain–I Burn Too Yes Yes” is a marriage of two of my favorite things: New England Autumn and repetition. Repetition lends itself to the mythology of season. Seasons lend themselves to the purpose of repetition. Purpose, as an Idea, lends itself to my own uncertainties, which I color with repetition and the imaginative fury of the natural world.

What is your creative process?

My creative process is fairly basic but always evolving. I have been taking pictures of what is directly in front of me wherever I plant myself to write. I like this; I enjoy framing the space around me. Creation is a process of centering for me. Anything I can do to manage myself while writing or reading is an important exercise for me–these exercises are always changing.

Where would you like to be at the end of the universe?

At the end of the universe is the most beautiful flower I have ever seen. When I eat it I am overwhelmed by so many histories; left at the mercy of imagination in absolute silence and it is so wonderful.

What is your favorite part about being human?

My favorite part of being human is writing poetry.

What do you rule over?

I rule over the nightstand next to my bed. My room is a mess. My car is a mess. My cubicle is a mess. My nightstand is organized just the way I like it. I love being able to reach over with my eyes closed and find a drink of water or beer or find my glasses without a second thought.

How can we support you and buy more of your work?

You can support me by reading as many poets, online or on paper, as you can. I don’t have any forthcoming books or chaps (although I wish), so I have nothing to sell, but I know there are a multitude of other poets like me out there trying to share their truth and we could all use some love.

What is your daily motivation?

My daily motivation is having a cigarette after I get home from work. My current job is so far removed from literature that it drives me nuts so having a ritual when I get to come back to my own space is very important to me.

Anything coming up in the near future?

I am writing like crazy so I am hoping something is coming up in the near future.

Who is your alter ego?

My alter ego is the Brazilian Pygmy Gecko. I love those little things. Look them up they are so small. They can walk on water and the smallest incidents can throw them into moments of complete chaos.

Be sure to read Curtis’s four poems in Issue Three!

Mike Sikkema Gives Us Answers!

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What is your favorite breakfast food?

My current favorite breakfast food is grits with goat cheese and foraged lion’s mane mushroom. It’s a little processed, a little wild, and probably a little cruel, like the rest of us. The fact that the mushroom is a neural regenerative is pretty cool, and makes the meal a kind of meditation. Of course, we are always reborn through food, but eating foods that I foraged and prepared myself feels like a part of the immediate act of being human.

Tell us a bit about your work in REALITY BEACH.

The poems in Reality Beach were composed on notecards, for the occasion of reading in DC, for Tony Mancus and Meg Ronan. I knew that Rod Smith was going to be in the audience as well as other DC poets who I am both intimidated and impressed by so I wrote some poems specifically for that audience, and that performance.

What is your creative process?

My creative process consists of being open to all the voices that I hear, and then paring them down. Cutting the punch line, or stacking the punch lines, or listing dialogue without context, or providing commentary on parts that have been deleted all make the poem (the big poem) seem honest and realistic and candid to me. I try to hold back more than I give, and I want people to lean in, to meet me more than half way.

Where would you like to be at the end of the universe?

Since there is no end of the universe, I’m happy right here, learning about how our planet works, and how its individual subjects work, and trying to foster a healthy habitat for all of that. The universe is born and reborn and we suffer and celebrate our spring times too, some in more rapid succession than others.

What is your favorite part about being human?

My favorite part of being human is being beautifully incomplete and ignorant. There is so much I don’t know about the most basic things. Wind, rain, the hidden worlds under that first half inch of earth we all walk over, etc. I’m studying and trying to learn all the time and it’s such a delight to know that I will die having solved almost none of the mystery.

What do you rule over?

I’m not sure I rule. I think I weather. I experience, I collaborate. I’m slowly becoming a better cook. I’m proud of that.

How can we support you and buy more of your work?

You can buy my first book here

You can buy my second and third books here

You will be able to buy a collab written by me and the strong, talented, beautiful, fierce, amazing Elisabeth Workman, soon from Pity Milk Press.

What is your daily motivation?

My daily motivation is to try to grow some, to help, to undo some of the devastation that happens everyday.

Anything coming up in the near future?

Right now I have no forthcoming work, which feels weird to type, but not in a bad way. We begin, and begin again. My press, Shirt Pocket Press, will be releasing great work by Jessie Askinazi, and mIEKAL aND soon.

Who is your alter ego?

I’m trying to whittle down the ego, alter and otherwise, but I do find myself thinking through the lens of Swamp Thing quite a bit.

Be sure to read Mike’s work in Issue Three!

Kris Hall Answers Our Questions!

 

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What is your favorite breakfast food?

If I’m on my way to work and can handle the guilt early on, I’d say it’s a greasy BBQ burrito from Alfi’s Food & Deli in Denny Triangle. It’s my favorite brand of comfort food.

Tell us a bit about your work in REALITY BEACH.

“Rain by Ryuichi Sakamoto” speaks on what I feel as an inability to form solid and consistent bonds with people. Looking back at old toxic friendships that have ended, but still occasionally missing them. Missing parts of myself even.

I see “Eureka! Synecdoche” as a conversation about privilege between two individuals. One who is too hedonistic and distracted by their own life to accept its existence, and the other being far too passive and unaffected to construct a viable response or argument. Like, this conversation should be going somewhere. There should be an “ah-ha!” moment, but it’s falling flat and is a total disservice.

What is your creative process?

First, I come up with a theme and sit on it for a week or so, maybe repeat a line or two in my head to attain the tone I want to go for. I may even find a song I like and listen to it a thousand times until I have the right “color palette” in mind. Then I read a couple of short story collections that have bits of magical realism or imaginative horror and more poetry, poetry, poetry. Eventually down the line I have a panic attack that busts open this dam and then all of a sudden I have a stack of poems I’m going to obsess over and scrap 75% of and edit and submit compulsively and sometimes I accidentally submit before the editing has happened and then more anxiety.

Where would you like to be at the end of the universe?

Not vaping.

What is your favorite part about being human?

I’m appreciative for my senses.

What do you rule over?

Philly Cheesesteaks.

How can we support you and buy more of your work?

Previous chapbooks are out of print but if you see something you like, feel free to share it with all the exclamation points your heart can muster.

What is your daily motivation?

Philly Cheesesteaks.

Anything coming up in the near future?

SEATTLE: I organize and co-host the variety lit. series Ogopogo with Bryan Edenfield (Babel/Salvage). We have a show at Vermillion on 11/16/16.

Who is your alter ego?

The frog that stays a frog even after you kiss it.

Be sure to check out Kris’s poems in Issue Three!

Kenta Maniwa Responds To The Questionnaire!

 

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What is your favorite breakfast food?
Grapefruit.

Tell us a bit about your work in REALITY BEACH.
It’s called BUR in honor of Gucci Mane.

What is your creative process?
Eat a big meal, take Adderall, sit in front of computer until I get tired.

Where would you like to be at the end of the universe?
Playing Deer Hunter in empty sports bar with Monday night football playing on a busted-ass TV in the background.

What is your favorite part about being human?
The list is so long I don’t know where to start.

What do you rule over?
Rulers.

How can we support you and buy more of your work?
Buy my book, Someone Else’s Toothbrush (Long Day Press).

What is your daily motivation?
Haters… Just kidding, I don’t know.

Anything coming up in the near future?
Currently working on a project called Japanese Tim Duncan.

Who is your alter ego?
Kingpin Skinny Pimp

Make sure to read Kenta’s work in Issue Three!

Scott Wordsman Answers Our Questionnaire!

 

 

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What is your favorite breakfast food?

Sadly my NJ roots preclude nearly anything healthful or “natural,” so I’ll have to say bacon, egg, and American cheese on toasted whole wheat bread.

Tell us a bit about your work in REALITY BEACH.

I had a pretty run-of-the-mill job in grad school, which is when I wrote these poems. I was an office assistant at the university at which I studied, so I’d spend my hours dreaming up these scat-humor scenarios––to sort of combat my deference. I also like to take digs at the more mindless aspects of hipster culture.

What is your creative process?

I scribble notes in my phone when I have a good idea, and then, when I find the time, I’ll return to the ideas and tinker with them. I tutor, teach, and work at a bar, so my schedule is all over the place. I’m not the type to luxuriate over a cup of coffee while writing for several hours in the morning. That’s too idyllic, and I think routines produce mechanical writing.

Where would you like to be at the end of the universe?

I think the end of the universe is coming very soon! Or at least, the universe as we know it: sane, fecund earth. So I’ll probably be in Jersey City, with the artist Josh Didriksen and others, eating wings or something.

What is your favorite part about being human?

The ability to think about thinking. Which is also my least favorite part of being human.

What do you rule over?

Definitely not my self-control.

How can we support you and buy more of your work?

I have a book in the works but nothing for sale! Following my Twitter is a good start!

What is your daily motivation?

Being a more accomplished writer than my contemporaries who went to private schools.

Anything coming up in the near future?

I’m teaching a poetry workshop and an essay writing workshop this fall! Also a couple weddings, but I am not looking forward to those lol.

Who is your alter ego?

Smeagol.

Be sure to read Scott’s work in Issue Three!

Glen Armstrong Gives Us Answers!

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What is your favorite breakfast food?

Lately, Steel-cut oatmeal.

Tell us a bit about your work in REALITY BEACH.

“Golden Age 6” is one of seven meditations on how people walk around with strong feelings for a past that never existed.

What is your creative process?

Up before the sun. Write all sorts of unchecked nonsense before the day’s first appointment and before some more rational, less dreamy state of mind intervenes.

Where would you like to be at the end of the universe?

What is your favorite part about being human?

It’s a tie between morality and opposable thumbs.

What do you rule over?

Insects. Snowflakes. Dusty Knickknacks.

How can we support you and buy more of your work?

Google Cruel Garters, and then send me your most unusual poems to consider for publication.

What is your daily motivation?

To get to the other side. (Same as a chicken or Jim Morrison.)

Anything coming up in the near future?

I’m working on a small press fair to take place in Southeast Michigan in the spring. Get in touch if you’d like to participate.

Who is your alter ego?

I sometimes get confused for this lunatic musician who sang Christmas songs about the Manson family back in the ‘80’s. Does that count?

Be sure to read Glen’s work in Issue Three!

August Smith Responds To The Questionnaire!

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What is your favorite breakfast food?

Normally I’d say some type of breakfast sandwich. Bagel, fried egg, cheese, sausage. That kind of situation. But lately—and out of necessity—I’ve been on this prolonged health food kick. Thus, I’ve deeply fallen in love with oatmeal. I sometimes make it with coconut milk and add a bit of honey and some strawberries and walnuts. Unbelievable.

Tell us a bit about your work in REALITY BEACH.

“A Winner is You” is an English sonnet about Japanese-to-English video game mistranslations from the 1980s. The inspiration for it came from a list I found of the “best” video game mistranslations. They really stunned me with their poetic potency. Some of them were beautiful, some hilarious, and some were just plain strange and intriguing.

I knew I wanted to write a poem that was like a tapestry of all these little mistranslations. By loosely basing it on sonnet structure, I afforded it enough scaffolding to keep it from devolving into a mess of found-text and commentary. Plus, I was able to work in that rhetorical twist in the final couplet which I always find satisfying on the reader end. Plus I was able to rhyme “yen” with “ocean” which is cool.

What is your creative process?

In the year 1919, a molasses storage tank at a Boston-based molasses factory exploded, causing a flood of molasses to surge through the streets, coating everything in sticky delicious brown muck. I think of my creative process as that wave of molasses.

Where would you like to be at the end of the universe?

Hanging out with my family in Michigan.

What is your favorite part about being human?

I love those really good days where you get a lot done, interact with amicable strangers, see a friend you haven’t seen for a long time, win a game of Overwatch with your online buddies, drink a couple of delicious beers, read an essay or two, and get down a terrible little poem in your notebook.

What do you rule over?

There’s this sliver of space—a small glen—somewhere between comedians, game designers, pop culture writers, and poets. It’s shaped like a trapazoid. I’ve built a tiny hovel there, where I live like Yoda, serving hearty stews to those who visit. I then regale them with a ribald tale composed in a traditional, rhyming metre.

How can we support you and buy more of your work?

You can go to my website and read my chapbooks, which are all mostly available: http://august.mostlymidwest.com/. You can email me and tell me you like my stuff. You can check out Cool Skull Press and buy one of our books: http://coolskullpress.com.

What is your daily motivation?

When I’m not doing things, I’m listless and angry and depressed and foul. When I’m busy doing things, I’m happy and creative and smart and friendly. I prefer being the latter.

Anything coming up in the near future?

I’m hosting a poetry reading in Boston on Sept. 29th with Metatron. I’m also working on my debut full-length book. Look for that in the post-apocalypse.

Who is your alter ego?

Dean Venture.

Make sure to check out August’s poem in Issue Three!

iDrew Answers Our Questions!

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What is your favorite breakfast food?

Cup of tea, slice of toast with marmalade, another, cup of tea, and a spliff.

Tell us a bit about your work in REALITY BEACH.

Written in my normal style. basically life as I live it and see it. Hopefully there’s a touch of humour in there. I try and keep it relevant but away from the hip hop/spoken word treatment.

What is your creative process?

I don’t really have a process as such. Something will come into my head; maybe just a word or phrase or maybe even something close to the finished piece and over days, weeks, months it will grow.

Where would you like to be at the end of the universe?

At an end of the universe party.

What is your favorite part about being human?

Highs and lows of love.

What do you rule over?

Boyfriends.

How can we support you and buy more of your work?

I suppose the best way to support my work is to get to know the Clueless Collective which we’ve just changed recently to mainly feature myself and Paul with an occasional input from Charlotte who is basically busy with her kids and can’t contribute liked as she once did.

What is your daily motivation?

To write – I’m not sure I have any. If it happens it happens but I don’t force it.
To live – To love and be loved.

Anything coming up in the near future?

Nothing planned as such, so it’s carry on doing me. I would like to explore the idea of recording. I felt a bit sad that I never got it together for Reality Beach, but summer happened in England and when we get summer we have to go for it.

Who is your alter ego?

A tree.

Be sure to check out iDrew’s work in Issue Three!

Chris Campanioni Responds To Our Questions!

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What is your favorite breakfast food?

Apple Jacks—if I was still nine. Now I really enjoy oatmeal with a lot of things thrown in the mix: peanut butter, cottage cheese (yes, I said that), a banana, honey, shredded coconut, a whole lot of cinnamon. Adulthood means never having enough.

Tell us a bit about your work in REALITY BEACH.

(I think the Easter Egg Reality Beach provided—which I just now noticed!—speaks really well to the piece’s context, and the process and the inspiration, which included my students at Pace and a homework prompt I’d assigned to them.)

What is your creative process?

I write while listening to music. I’m very conscious of this; I often create playlists just for writing or for writing specific moments, actual scenes or more tonal emotions. And then of course, the music and the flow of the mix will actually dictate what I write and it will very often overtake what it is I am writing, and I often even try to show that interruption in the text itself. Like song lyrics that puncture the narrative but also create something new.

Where would you like to be at the end of the universe?

Reading The Wild Boys, by William S. Burroughs. While I listen to “The Wild Boys” by Duran Duran … and maybe with my free index finger, slowly write the sequel on my iPhone, which is where almost all of my writing begins, in my Notes section.

What is your favorite part about being human?

Our vulnerability.

What do you rule over?

I bow down to a lot of things: my appetite, my favorite writers and their words, my significant other, the care and guidance of my family and friends. I really can’t think of a single scenario in which I play ruler. I’m not much given to ruling; I’d much rather strive and the view is better looking up.

How can we support you and buy more of your work?

My new book, Death of Art, is available now from C&R Press, and although you can find it in bookstores and on Amazon, I always recommend going straight to the independent source and the publisher itself. I also try to update the Words In Space section of my website as often as I can, and that’s where you can find several poems, short stories, essays, and novel excerpts that have previously been published online, for free. People like free things and I’ve even heard that free food has no calories.

What is your daily motivation?

Writing myself out of death, as WSB would say and what I think he truly wanted. But realistically: just striving to be a better person, and a better writer, each day. And sometimes the two aren’t always mutual, so you have to work at both, especially among the NYC art school literati and so much of the parasitic-sycophantic publishing industry at large.

Anything coming up in the near future?

I have a lot of work appearing in some cool places, from really cool and amazing editors; some of these will be published in the next few weeks, including Yemassee, DIAGRAM (its October erasure issue, in which I erase my favorite Erasure songs), RHINO, and The Brooklyn Rail. One of my favorite hybrid longform pieces—Hot Tips For Healthy Living—was just published by Entropy and it begins with the line: “Never work.” I think it kind of got lost in the montage of recent publications in August when it hit the net, but in a way, it encompasses all of my questions and concerns about postinternet culture, some of which is provoked and intimated in “I arrive as I always do.”

Who is your alter ego?

My parents’ eight-year- old Doberman, named “Lexie.” She can be a troublemaker, but she’s got verve. She’s very playful. I guess she’s my evil twin.

Make sure to read Chris’s poem in Issue Three!

Eliza Ryan Gives Us Answers!

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What is your favorite breakfast food?

Breakfast burrito-if I am in any restaurant and they have a breakfast burrito on the menu, I am ordering it.

Tell us a bit about your work in REALITY BEACH.

I am really proud of the piece, because I started writing it about someone I cared very much for at the time, and by the time I finished editing it and was ready to perform it, I had let go of that part of all of that care and could just appreciate that I wrote a decent poem. And I also like that I stuck with the image of a clown at CVS even though a writer friend of mine suggested I pick something more universal.

What is your creative process?

I usually look at what is bothering me as the problem and think of writing as the solution. Each one of my pieces is coming from a personal place, so I look at whatever that “ problem” is and think, how do I show how this feels, rather than say how it feels? After I zero in on the metaphor I’m trying to build, I research. Doing research is sometimes my favorite part of writing because I get to learn new things. Occasionally, the metaphor falls apart at this stage, because I learn something that, essentially, debunks something I heard and thought was true. If that happens, I start over, or try to find a better way to articulate my feelings without using false information.

Where would you like to be at the end of the universe?

I am pretty boring-at the end of the universe I would like to be with the people I love, probably drinking a decent bourbon, holding at least one cat.

What is your favorite part about being human?

That I have these messy, complex emotions and get to use convoluted metaphors to explain them.

What do you rule over?

I figured out a while ago that I don’t rule over anything. I used to need to control a lot more in my life, but I think I gave that up after I turned 30.

How can we support you and buy more of your work?

I have a Patreon page for myself as well as the podcast I just started with my boyfriend and I am hoping to get enough support from that to self-publish my first collection: https://www.patreon.com/elizahryan.

What is your daily motivation?

I hate how frivolous this sounds, but my daily motivation is to delight people. There is a tremendous amount of negativity in the world, and for good reason, but I can’t fix that problem. My only solution is to try and make at least one person laugh every day, even if I look foolish. Actually, especially if I look foolish.

Anything coming up in the near future?

As far as performing is concerned, I am still trying to find outlets for that, As far as my other creative outlets, I will be selling weird knitted animals at various spots around the Hudson Valley and Berkshire County region in the upcoming months, leading up to Christmas.

Who is your alter ego?

My alter ego would be a vapid, materialistic, nightmare of a person whose greatest ambition in life is to create a brand of flavored vodka or a line of handbags or something. Basically, my alter ego would be one of the Real Housewives.

Be sure to check out Eliza’s poem in Issue Three!